Some time ago, I’m not sure how long ago but it was quite a while – when Scotland Yard was stretched to the limit tracking down famous serial killers like Jason Voorhees and Cropsy – a fourteen year old trannie slaughtered everyone at summer camp. Now he is a she – and she’s gonna do it all over again!
Whilst nearly all late-eighties stalk-’n’-slash movies had bowed to the pressures of censorship and morality, if they ever stood up to it at all, Sleepaway Camp 2 just pissed in its face. For example; Friday 13th used to have an average bodycount of around seven or eight, tops, all relatively mild killings. Well, Sleepaway Camp 2 has a bodycount of seventeen – that’s seven-fuckin’-TEEN! – and where you don’t get to see the actual murders (very rare), you get at damn good look at the results instead. Pretty sadistic killings too. Two stoned and drunk girls are covered in petrol and roasted on a barbecue, a guy has battery acid (from his own car!) thrown in his face and best of all, the camp slut is stabbed and then drowned in an outdoor toilet (are they leeches on her face, or are they…?). And whereas most psycho-killers have to get snuffed before coming back to life to continue with their endless hate-campaign, round-the-twist transsexual Angela (don’t the filmmakers see the irony in her singing “I’m A Happy Camper”?) doesn’t even have an attempt made on her life. Man, what a woman! Or, should that be the other way round…
I almost wept when I saw this movie, not just with tears of mirth as I saw the section of society I hate most – teenagers – wiped out one by one, but tears of genuine joy, of happiness when I saw that slasher movies didn’t end with The Burning. All the proper slasher elements are here: oversexed teenage boys with mullets, oversexed teenage girls with wet T-shirts and bouffant hairdos, heavy metal (in Angela’s shrine there’s a copy of a Flotsam And Jetsam LP just lying around), and more sex, not to mention a wide range of cruel and unusual murders. And none of this is accompanied by even the slightest hint of irony, of self-parody. Despite being just a catalogue of stalk–‘n’-slash stereotypes and clichés, Sleepaway Camp 2 is not some bullshit comedy lampooning horror movies, nor does it pretentiously try to inject a bit of new life into the genre by taking Manhattan on a spaceship before going to hell for a fight with a deep-fried nonce (the Jason/Freddy team-up implied on some of the advertising does not happen here, I’m glad to say). In true penny dreadful style, it’s just giving us what we want. And because it doesn’t hold back, it works.
If you want deep, meaningful sociological comment, then Angela (Pamela Springsteen) herself makes a pretty good metaphor for the puritan mentalists who’d like to see these films gone for good. “Have sex and die” is a common factor in all generic slasher flicks, but it is usually an unconscious element arising from the director’s desire to produce a good mix of sex and violence, whereas here Angela is perfectly aware of her motives, purposely bumping off anyone who strays from the path of righteousness. You know what I reckon? I reckon Angela, despite her buggy-out eyes and thin, spindly legs is kinda fit. I reckon that if I was going to get shafted by a lady-boy, it would have to be Angela.