Anchor Bay // 1988 // 80 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // September 4th, 2002
She's back to slash last year's record!
Shot back to back with Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers, Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland is the continuing saga of demented sex-confused maniac Angela Baker (played coolly by Pamela "You May Know My Brother Bruce" Springsteen) and her killing spree at New Horizons summer camp. When last we saw Angela, she was continuing her rampage by slaughtering young, nubile coeds in log cabins and tents. This time Angela has taken on the identity of a young camper at an autumn retreat where underprivileged inner city delinquents and snotty rich kids have come together for an "experiment in sharing." The camp, led by its new owners (Oscar nominee Michael J. Pollard and non-Oscar nominee Sandra Dorsey), was the original site of Angela's sinister murders...and Angela has returned home to punish naughty teens with bad attitudes, raging libidos, and filthy mouths. Get ready for more carnage, decapitations, and bloodletting in Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland!
What is there to say about a movie featuring an old woman buried up to her neck in garbage while being run over with a lawnmower? Plenty! Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland is yet another slice-'n'-dice comedy horror installment featuring Pamela Springsteen doing her best Sister Abby impersonation without the habit. Angela descends upon the guilty like a lightning bolt from the blue as heads, eyes, fingers, and limbs roll across the screen with all the fury of a NASCAR super race. Is the movie any good? Well, it depends on your definition of "good" -- if you consider teenage slayings punctuated by a killer's snide remarks, then yes, Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland is a fantastically thought provoking movie. Otherwise, this is typical run-of-the-mill horror stuff that never tries to deviate from the norm. This time around, Springsteen actually seems a bit haggard and bored with the role of Angela. Could it be deceptively good character acting, or the sheer fact that in 1988 Springsteen's brother Bruce was fronting a successful global tour for his album "Tunnel of Love" while she was making schlocky B-movies? Either way, Sleepaway Camp III isn't as enjoyable (and I use that term loosely) as the previous two films. It's always a pleasure to see the elfish Michael J. Pollard on screen, though even his presence seems to be hovering only for a weekly paycheck. In both Sleepaway Camp movies Hollywood nepotism seems to run rampant -- in Sleepaway Camp II there was Emilio Estevez's sister Renee, while Sleepaway Camp III features star Melanie Griffith's younger sister Tracy. Tracy Griffith's portrayal of a scared teenager was so good that years later she would be seen in the critically acclaimed mega hit Fast Food (also starring the ever versatile Jim "Earnest P. Worrell" Varney). Director Michael A. Simpson uses all the subtly of Meir Zarchi's I Spit On Your Grave, except with only slightly more tactfulness. Blood and gore abound, though the effects are sub-par when compared to other '80s slasher counterparts. I'm sad to report that while Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland isn't a horrible movie, it's strictly for die hard fans only.
Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Like the previous sequel's transfer, this picture looks better than expected for such a low-budget flick (thanks to the wonderful folks at Anchor Bay). While dirt and softness abound, the bulk of this image appears to be in decent shape. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono and is exactly what you'd expect from a 1.0 track -- flat and lifeless. But hey, at least the mix is clear of any excessive hiss or distortion. Once again, Anchor Bay has dipped into the vaults and pulled out more extra features than a film of this caliber deserves. Included on this disc is an amusing commentary track by director Michael A. Simpson, writer Fritz Gordon, and moderator John Klyza; eight minutes of behind-the-scenes footage featuring commentary by the director; deleted scenes featuring additional "gore" footage (these are really just extended scenes that don't add much to the final film); a theatrical trailer for the film; and a few still galleries of production photos and conceptual artwork.
May Angela's reign of terror finally come to an end.
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Scales of Justice
* Golden Gavel 2002 Nominee
Studio: Anchor Bay
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 80 Minutes
Release Year: 1988
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Commentary by Director Michael A. Simpson, Writer Fritz Gordon, and Moderator John Klyza
* Behind-the-Scenes Footage and Outtakes
* Deleted Scenes Featuring Additional "Gore" Footage
* Theatrical Trailer
* Still Galleries