Sleepaway Camp (1983)

Executive Produced, Written & Directed by: Robert Hiltzik


Jonathan Tiersten .... Ricky Thomas
Felissa Rose .... Angela Baker
Christopher Collet .... Paul
Karen Fields .... Judy
Mike Kellin .... Mel
Katherine Kamhi .... Meg
Paul DeAngelo .... Ronnie
Tom Van Dell .... Mike
Susan Glaze .... Susie
Frank Trent Salladino .... Gene
Loris Sallahian .... Billy
John E. Dunn .... Kenny

Release Date:
Theatrical: November 18, 1983




After a boating accident tragedy that caused the deaths of a father and a child one of the survivors whom is a twin sibling stays at her Aunt Martha's house who becomes her guardian and eight years later Aunt Martha's son Ricky (Jonathan Tiersten) and the surviving child Angela (Felissa Rose) as the two of them are almost teenagers head off to camp for the summer at a location named Camp Arawak.
Ricky reunites with his friends at camp like he did a year before enjoying the activities there like playing softball or tennis but this is Angela's first time away from home and doesn't say a word to anyone, refuses to do any activities, or showers with the rest of the girls nor goes swimming with the rest of the group which makes her extremely mysterious and the odd one of the pack so she is the target for the kids at camp to pick on including Angela's camp counsellor Meg (Katherine Kamhi) as she makes her stay very unwelcoming. But one of Ricky's friends Paul (Christopher Collet) tries to share a romance with this shy girl but somehow she seems uncomfortable with the certain things he does.
Also whever Angela is tormented by the bullies at the camp, this enrages Ricky and suddenly they end up being mysteriously murdered one by one.
The camp owner Mel (Mike Kellin) tries to cover up the murders to the police saying they were horrible accidents in order to keep the camp open and prevent the kids from leaving and making him go out of business. He thinks that Ricky could be behind this mess encountering his rage whenever his cousin is being picked on by these nasty kids


When I first rented this flick I hated it as I wanted a Friday the 13th type film and just graduated from highschool as I was tormented by students for 13 years so it was too disturbing for me. Somehow, I grew attached to this film and rented it a few times. I was liking it more and more. Yes, this is considered to be a bad film as it had many leaky holes in it but yet the story was well done.
There's an impressive beginning of the film with a deserted campground as you can tell that it was late fall almost early winter which is a perfect touch to a beginning of a story on a camp closed down due to all the murders that have happened there especially when we spot a camp arawak sign saying for sale.
Then it starts off with a beginning with two little kids and a father on a sailboat and the weather looks gorgeous and the campsite across from it looking like a peaceful summer for everyone around there but then the tragedy happens with a boat accidentally running over some of these people which looks disturbing and then 8 years pass by in which you think to yourself what gives with what we saw in which we then go to a house with a whacked out mother sending her kids named Ricky and her niece/goddaughter Angela to camp in which I thought looked too corny for the story and not suiting it at all but yet while watching it all the way through this seems to be a drawing card to the flick. There's cheesy writing in this one for sure though as some of it can make you chuckle at times.
Then you want to hop in on the fun with school buses parking at the camp site with kids running all over the field acting crazy and one of the camp's cooks staring at them in which this moment looks dysfunctional and unsafe for the little girls to be around him of what he has in mind for them if he catches them alone.
Then some good moments with Ricky reuniting with his camp friend Paul and introducing him to Angela who says nothing which makes this character jysterious as to why she won't talk at all. Then Ricky meets up with his old girlfriend Judy who has changed and not for the good which definetely reminds you as one of those kids who were nice and then over the year changed their ways big time
Yet Angela still says nothing and the main camp counsellor Meg doesn't take a liking to this strange girl and encourages Judy to torment her which you think to yourself this is dead wrong as a camp is a place for understanding and caring for one another which makes the moment even more dysfunctional than ever. All in all this was a realistic look at mean kids doing terrible deeds to an misfit.
It gets even better as Angela doesn't eat anything and this cook tries to molest her but Ricky catches him before he does anything but you think to yourself when does the terror start to happen with everything that's happening and it does as this cook is bring a big pot to a boil and almost burns his hand while lifting the lid and with anyone around something like that you'd hate to have it dumped on you and this is just what happens as a mysterious killer does this to the cook which shows on how deadly karma and revenge can really be making it difficult to watch for anyone who is just trying to get used to slasher films or horror films at all due to Hiltzik's brilliant work on this. What's more terrifying is the cook is still alive and in agony which will make you cringe for sure.
Hiltzik shows some great moments on younger boys playing softball against the older boys whom most are bullies and you think to yourself with all the nasty comments that's happening you hope the good guys will win the game to humiliate the other team too for anyone who hates bullying this is fun to watch.
There's more fun at the pier with two kids smoking dope and one the rest go skinny dipping and trying to woo the girls to come with them which looks like descent teenage type of behavior skipping their curfew without the counsellors knowing about this as well as one of the dope smokers tricking one of the girls to go on a canoe ride scaring her with stories on water snakes and flipping over the canoe on her which you hope that he's the next one to die and is while hiding underneath the flipped canoe by this killer and when his corse is revealed a water snake comes slithering out of his mouth which is a perfect touch to the film since he was joking about these kinds of reptiles and no other camp horror film have I seen something like that happen which makes this look original by finding a critter crawling out of a corpse.
There more stuff surrounding Angela like refusing the swim in the water or taking showers when the other girls are in which you wonder what's up with this kid as well as Paul trying to have a romance with her which looked nice and touching but yet she is way too scared and insecure when he tries to make out with her which is an upsetting moment when he tries to understand her and make her more sociable that she backs out on certain moments. There's even falshback moments of homosexuality with two little kids watching and giggling which seems very confusing to the plot but at the end it adds up to what that moment was all about too.
I enjoyed alot of scenes with Ricky protecting his cousing Angela for being picked on by the bullies with him nearly getting into a brawl with them and cussing them out which is a nice touch on someone protecting a family member. PLus it's great watching these bullies being killed off in different ways by this mysterious killer whenever poor Angela is tormented in which gives anoyone who felt this way a happy feeling too wishing that they were dead.
There are disturbing moments like Meg picking up Angela along with Judy taunting her and being forced to go into the lake in which you think to yourself that you don't want Angela to snap with all this nastiness towards her and to leave her the hell alone.
There's also the head camp owner Mel almost doing nothing about these kids being mean to this shy girl or trying to cover up the murders saying that they were accidents. You just shake your head thinking to yourself apart from the pedophile and a camp consellor bullying their campers as to who would want to run a summer camp for kids with all of this happening. But again that's what makes the story very interesting is that all of this is incredibly twisted and dysfunctional. It's different than anything else that you see in a film. To top it all off Meg who is a beautiful teenage girl allows Mel who is so homely and old looking to hit on her and allow to have a dinner date with him. Again another twisted moment which makes you really wonder as to why she would fall for him.
There's some great moments like the killer entering a doorway in a dark room with a light shining behind this person in which you try to look closely wondering if you can reveal this killer but yet you don't know who it is or there's the cheesy shower murder scene in which seems to almost pay a tribute to Hitchcock's classic Psycho.
Close to the ending there's another flashback memory with the crazed Mom who sent the kids to camp talking to a child which brings the real terror to the story after that because you at first think to yourself "What the hell is she talking about??" It adds up though. It took me a few tries watching this movie to understand everything but it came together for me. We all figure out who the killer is in the end but there's a different twist to it all which I won't give away but it's the best which made this film incredibly effective and over the years became a cult classic. I got nightmares while watching the ending it was that creepy.
Bottom line is the film is like a cheesy cross between Meatballs, Friday the 13th with a touch of Carrie with all that's happening. I enjoyed all of those films too that was mentioned. It's a film so bad that it's good. You could love it or hate it. Alltogether watching it the first time it would stick into your mind for a while with all that was happening in it. It's a must for anyone who enjoys bizarre and twisted horror films with unsolved mysteries till the end.

It's a realistic look at mean kids so the acting is not bad. However, some of it looked phony. Let's look at the cast as the kids in the film:
Jonathan Tiersten
(Ricky Thomas) was the best out of the cast I found since he was a born natural by who he portrayed as someone hot headed, foulmouthed and temperamental kid. He really studied this part inside out and full of spunk, charm and energy putting everything he got into this role. He also had the right boy next door looks too which was a perfect plus to his character along with his intensity. There's a moment in a ball field with him getting sarcastic against the other team which all of this seemed natural on kids being mean towards others. A nice approach by him getting into a brawl
along with him screaming and cussing which also looked highly energised. His best performance was in a scene cussing some other teens out and challenging them to a brawl after a waterballoon throwing incident against his onscreen cousin as well as showing some nice stern expressions too. I could see him getting work in other shows but dropped off the acting field after some roles in daytime TV shows and commercials to perform in independent progressive rock bands.
Felissa Rose
(Angela Baker) fit the part nicely as a shy and disturbed child in the flick and had the nice wide eyed looks too for what she had to do and really stood out in the film making herself mysterious as to why she shows no emotions and not saying a word to anyone. During a certain scene when she's eating a chocolate bar and glaring at nothing looked impressive and spooky like. Offers good timing being shocked after she gets kissed. Shows a nice wide eyed shocked reaction after being hit by a water balloon.
A good shocking reaction after someone places a hand on her shoulder spinning around to see who it is. Acted natural by being too bummed out after her onscreen cousin asks her to do something during a catch the flag game. Does greatly staring lifelessly against her onscreen bullies. She looked very lacking when she tries to struggle away from someone carrying her about to throw her off a pier by pounding and kicking. A nice spooky presence by her near a lake at night when she tells someone to go swimming with her. Perfect wide eyed jaw dropping expression on her face during the end of her performance. All in all with her performance you can tell that she has limitations to doing other kinds of stuff. Still she became a cult item due to her role in this one.
Christopher Collet
(Paul) really knew how to portray a good kid type of role and also was great with his passiveness along with acting very naive too. Just your typical young teenage type of behavior. Does well trying to talk to someone shy and then acting full of life when this person answers which was done in good style and high spirited. A good moment trying to talk to his fellow actress whom is upset near the beach area which looked very convincing. Also does very well outside of the canteen pleading towards his onscreen actress to give him a second chance which looked incredibly convincing. He came across very nicely in his role of the film and it wasn't surprising that he carried on with his acting career even if he was more remembered in the other projects than this one since he moved onto mainstream shows.
Karen Fields
(Judy) really came across powerfully as a mega bitch in her role of the film with her sleazy type of arrogant behavior. She certainly reminds you of any school bully who tormented you in the days and you feel like hitting her that she's incredibly nasty. Was impressive during the beginning of her performance acting stand offish which looked natural. A nice approach with her walking towards her bunk acting stuck up and then getting snappy at someone staring at her which also looked well done.
A nice moment with her mocking attitude during a certain moment and then a strike on her cussing someone out as this looked hyped. Impressive scene with her coming up to someone and spilling the beans on what was said behind someone's back which looked natural with a bully trying to make things worst. A nice taunting moment with her towards her fellow actress on getting her to go in the water. Knew on how to act real bitchy when someone kisses her and she complains he kisses so wet. She was definetely another one I found could go far in the acting industry making herself a worthy character actress and coming across as very realistic. She had the perfect looks for this type of role too.
Katherine Kamhi
(Meg) was the best actress in this film as the older teenage camp counsellor for the girls and a mean one too. She was great acting like a bully type of lieutenant with her cold and stern speaking towards others and acting incredibly bossy too. Does quite well in the girls cabin with her acting like a bossy type introducing herself. There's many good nasty sarcastic moments in a cafeteria about someone else which looked impressive on a nasty kid camp counsellor. Also does well speaking coldly in many spots of the film. Shows great energy by shaking someone and losing her temper showing off believeable frusterations. There's a moment with her humming to herself while taking a shower which looked very unnatural along with her reaction to getting stabbed which sounded like she was having an orgy and not in pain. She was a one tough nut in the flick indeed and makes you want to kill her too for being so wicked. I've seen her in other acting gigs but I'd say that this one was her best performance.
Tom Van Dell
(Mike) wasn't too bad in his role as one of the male older teenage bullies and had the actor type of look to him making him a familiar type of character too even if he remained a virtual unknown. He certainly drew off a stand offish type of role with having a nasty streak in him so he pulled off his part effectively.
A good moment with him on the pier telling his friend to go in which he does well thinking that something is wrong with his expressions.
Susan Glaze
(Susie) really pulled off her nice softspoken assistant camp counsellor in the film by having a mellow attitude making her role believeably likeable in the flick. Drew in well with a shocked reaction after slapping someone in the face.
oris Sallahian (Billy) showed a great aggressive behavior in his role as the head bad ass camper of all the bullies in the flick knowing how to act sarcastic and has a good rough voice to his speaking in the film too. He brought out some descent energy to his role in the film.
John E. Dunn
(Kenny) had the perfect teenage appeal to his part of the film as one of those troublemaking teens up to alot of tricks on others with his long haired looks. His looks were great for a teenage slasher film which is one credit. However when he gets into character is another story. He was phony reacting to being drowned during his last performance. Although I never saw him in All My Children he seems to act as wooden like most actors do in daytime soaps and this is almost like what he acts like on the film and tries his best to get into character but he doesn't succeed too well.
Now for the adult cast:
Mike Kellin
(Mel) really knew on how to act very obnoxious with his part as the camp owner as well as losing his sanity making him quite intimidating with what he does and has the creepy looks too. Of course he was a veteran actor in film, tv and stage as this marks to be his last acting gig before his death. He brings out some great energy with his aggressive and stern behavior towards others in which this really brings out his characteristics onto the set. Nice angered look towards someone wanting to have a word with him which looked impressive that he was going to do something terrible. A good upsetting expression on his face after finding an answer while looking for someone as he offers that upsetting type of feeling wondering if whom he was looking for got killed next. A great shocked reaction after he spots a corpse falling from a shower with him losing his mind which looked a bit cheesy but well done too. Good striking blows towards his fellow actor and then him pounding him which looked believeably brutal and highly energetic and disturbing too.
Paul DeAngelo
(Ronnie) had the nice bodybuilder looks as one of the camp owners in the film but he was a line reader and not getting into character too well. He was a bad actor in the film without a doubt which wasn't surprising that he never went far in the acting industry by only having a handful of other projects which were smaller roles. Yet shows off a good energetic moment scolding one of the onscreen camp counselors for what she did which also looked quite good. Also a good moment with him panicking and telling everyone to stick together telling others there's a killer at the camp.
Frank Trent Salladino
(Gene) portrays a nice outgoing attitude as a camp counsellor for the boys in which he certainly brings out alot of positive energy with what he does in the film and being very creative and energetic too. A shame he never carried on with acting as he had the right motives.
Robert Earl Jones
(Ben) was only in halfway through the film but certainly brings on a nice attitude in the film and performs almost exactly like his son in which you'd think it was him in the first place. Does well with his good hearted laughter during a certain scene.
Owen Hughes
(Artie) was a good actor as the camp's head cook and a pedophile in which he comes across perfectly this way in which he is untrustworthy and shows a perfect obnoxious attitude in the film with his aggressive energy at a real high pace. Does well slamming someone against a box and threatening him which looked quite intense with powerful blocking on all of this. He was natural by struggling and holding onto something when preventing to fall when someone pushes him near a pot of boiling water as well as screaming intensely which looked believeable and highly energised.
Desiree Gould
(Aunt Martha) was quite mellodramatic in her role as an eccentric one in the film but yet she knew on how to act comedic too but it doesn't seem to belnd in with the film but her appearance towards the end of the film was pretty creepylike in which she was a good key role to the story making the story effective so this personality became incredibly effective all in all.

Not much nudity except for a few guys running off the pier of the lake while going skinny dipping with their butts exposed
Then during the end of the film.... I don't want to give it away.
No women exposing their breasts or anything.

The gore however there's some scenes of gruesomeness.
A chef is scarred by boiling water.
A corpse is revealed in a canoe.
A mean girl counsellor's corpse is found in the shower room with a long cut open stabbing in the back.
Kids are slaughtered during an outside campout.
An arrow is shot through a camp owners throat.
A guy's head is cut off towards the end of the film.
The gore isn't the film's drawing card though.

Edward Bilous really composed some loud horn and violin playing especially during the very beginning of the film with the opening credits which sounded quite suspenseful. There's also some nice high flute peaceful music during the first day at camp with all the kids running around to get to their cabin. There's also the odd cheesy high piano tapping for when certain moments happen like the killer watching their victim. It wasn't too terrible but it could've sounded more convincing. At times the music is overly played though through the whole film.

There's a great songtrack composed by Frankie Vinci especially during the closing credits called "You're Just What I've Been Looking for (Angela's Theme)" in which theere's spooky high pitched keyboard playing along with the singing in which gives the film the perfect ending. This song kicks ass. It's cheesy but great for a low budgeter like this one as well as the terror in the ending which is a perfect match.

Artie: Look at all that fine chicken, where I come from we call 'em "baldies."
Ben: Artie, they're too young to know whats on your mind.
Artie: Ben my friend, there's no such thing as being too young. You're just too old.

Paul: Hey Rick! Wait till you get a load of Judy! (Describes her breasts) Man oh man!
Oh yeah??
You'll see!

Ricky: Who were those?
(Defensively) Just some boys that I met today.
Weren't they a little old???
Don't you know? Girls mature before boys?
That's bullshit and you know it!
Ricky I don't have time for your nonsense right now.
Well excuse me!.... Bitch.

Meg: In case you don't know the name is Meg. M-E-G!

Judy: What are you looking at??? (Angela stares at her at her bunk) What you taking pictures??? Quit it!
This must be ANgela. Remember? Ronnie told us about her.
Looks like we've got a real winner here.
You aint kidding!

Meg: What's with your cousin she don't eat, she don't talk, she don't do nothing!
Why don't you just leave her alone!?! She's just quiet (Walks away)
If she were any quieter she'd be dead!

Artie: You're a sweet looking cupcake Angela (Takes off his belt) I think you'll like something really good.

Artie: Keep your mouth shut you hear me??? You aint seen nothing!!!!

Artie: (Gets pushed while he's on a stool near a pot of boiling water) Hey you fucker you could've killed me!!! (Hanging onto a ledge) C'mon now kid if you let me down I'll make you an ice cream sundae ok??? (The stool below him is being pulled out of him) You little shit!!!! You let me down or I'll rip your fucking head off!!!! Ben!!! Help!!!! Ben!!!

Ricky: No sweat Geno this guy blows dead dogs just throw it in!
Eat shit and die Ricky!
Eat shit and live Bill.

Mike: The little shit will be lucky if he makes eye contact!
Paul: Should've brought my rabbits foot!

Kenny (Up for batting and doesn't swing with the ball thrown)
: C'mon take the bat off your shoulder!
Fuck You!

Kenny: Hey Angela, how come you're so fucked up? I mean what is your problem?
(Hits Kenny's shoulder) Hey dickface! Leave her alone!
Oh yeah??? What are you gonna do about it?? (Knocks off Ricky's cowboy hat) Asshole!!!

Ricky: Fucks!!! I'll beat your fucking asses in???
Oh yeah??? You and what army???
(Pulls Kenny away) C'mon let's go!
Watch your mouth, Mel's watching!
I don't give a shit!

Judy: She's a real carpenter's dream! Flat as a board and needs a screw!

Ricky: You fuck's will pay for this!!!! Cocksuckers!!! Pricks!!! Come down and fight you chicken shit!!! I'll kick your asses over this goddamned camp you fuck's!!!!

Ricky: You're a real scumbag Judy you know that?
Fuck you Ricky (Laughs) You're just jealous (Ricky flips her the bird) Yeah same to you!

Judy: Back again so soon??? My Angela, you sure are forgiving. Especially when Paul told me what a prude you are! That was the word you used wasn't it Paul???

Angela: Meet me at the waterfront after the social.

Mel: No it can't be you!!! It can't be!!!

Paul: Thought you weren't going to make it.
Let's go swimming.
Now??? What about our clothes?
Take them off!!