Monday, August 24, 2015

Made In Manhattan: The Curious Case of Sleepaway Camp

This piece didn't exactly start out as a summer camp themed post. I caught the 1986 John Lithgow film The Manhattan Project a few weeks ago on the movie channel and took notice of adorable actor Christopher Collet. Collet and Cynthia Nixon play the high school kids who get caught up with scientist Lithgow after Collet's character Paul steals plutonium to make an Adam Bomb for a national science fair.

Collet's career spanned most of the 80's and 90's on both film and television. Collet has the distinction of romancing 2 of the 4 Sex And The City ladies, Nixon in MP and Sarah Jessica Parker in 1994's First Born. In checking out Collet's resume, one of the movies that grabbed me was actually his first film, 1983's Sleepaway Camp. I had no idea what I was getting into...

Collet with Sarah Jessica Parker in First Born (1984)

Writer and director Robert Hiltzik's film is crazy. On one hand it is a bit Friday The 13th, but it is so campy, it is almost more a comedy than a horror flick, not that it isn't frightening... The ending has to be one of the creepiest, and by today's standards, offensive reveals of a killer I have seen on film. I won't spoil it for you, but if you really want to know, just image search Sleepaway Camp 1983, and you will see what I mean.

Sleepaway Camp (1983)

I can't say the film wasn't original. The ending was wild and most of the campers and counsellors wore their 80's short shorts. It was also fun hearing the voice of James Earl Jones, but then realizing that voice was actually coming from his father, actor Robert Earl Jones who has a small part in the flick.

I didn't include any caps of Collet from the film in this piece. Although Sleepaway Camp marks the actors only nude scene, and although it was just a rear shot in a prank scene with some of the campers, Collet was only 15 at the time of filming. Oh the 80's! There was however, an older set of campers, who had a late night skinny dipping scene worthy of a few caps. I uploaded the scene on my YouTube page HERE:

I really enjoyed this film, crazy ending and all. It was a twisted fun ride, that although offensive in many ways, can be excused given it was the early 80's. I had no idea what was coming, so was really surprised (and a wee bit revolted) by the twist ending. I guess that is really the point of a good summer camper horror flick.

Late Night Dip

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