by • October 24, 2011 • Editorial, NewsComments (0)138

Halloween Horror Week: SLEEPAWAY CAMP

We love horror movies. So do you, that’s why you’re reading this. Seeing as how Halloween is quickly approaching, we figured we’d give you examples of truly great horror. Here are scary movies that shook us to the core, that we keep coming back to, that we bust out on a dark, stormy night. Warning, there may be spoilers below…



Robert Hiltzik

Felissa Rose, Jonathan Tierston


“…you won’t be coming home!”

This week on VeryAware, some of the writers are writing about a horror movie that helped shape them into the movie fans they are today. While I’ve got a few of those in mind, I decided to write about an event at the Alamo Drafthouse where they screened a film I hadn’t yet seen. I was even told it was almost criminal that I hadn’t seen it yet.

SLEEPAWAY CAMP is a legendary film amongst horror movie fans. It’s a re-hash of a similar type of slasher film that most are familiar with thanks to the Friday the 13th franchise. While I’ve always wanted to see it, it’s not the easiest film to get a hold of today. It was released on DVD a few years ago before being pulled because The Red Cross folks didn’t care too much for the box. Despite all the other resources I have available to me, I never got around to seeing it but I’m glad I saw it this way. At a theater I love, in 35mm, amongst a few good friends, this is how I would have enjoyed SLEEPAWAY CAMP in theaters had I gotten the chance to see it when I was a kid.

Being a frequent attendee of Alamo Drafthouse events and almost every Terror Tuesday I can’t count how many times I’ve seen the SLEEPAWAY CAMP trailer. I never got tired of it and it never stopped being really creepy. The little girl’s voice in the trailer as she writes her parents about how scared she is always pierces my ears in a way that is both terrifying and sort of mesmerizing. I always asked myself why I haven’t seen this movie with such an awesome trailer. I can tell you now after having seen it, that it still remains one of my favorite trailers and it sets the tone for the film perfectly. It doesn’t reveal too much, it manages to hide how very much ‘80s the film really is (there are guys wearing those weird half-shirts and short shorts in it) so that it stays relevant like it knew it was destined to be a classic. *Seriously though, what were dudes in the ‘80s thinking with those shirts?*

The film opens up innocently enough, overlooking a lake where dozens of rambunctious  kids are playing at a summer camp. Some kids are even water skiing. Who knew water skiing could be so dangerous? (Well I guess a lot of people know that, but these kids didn’t) 8 years after a horrific accident killing her father and brother, the lone survivor, Angela now lives with her cousin Ricky. Obviously affected by what happened when she was younger, Angela is a very quiet and shy person. To liven her up, her and her cousin are sent off to Camp Arawak. But her quiet and shy demeanor don’t work so well with the other campers and she quickly becomes the talk of the camp. While all of this is going on, people around the camp are getting killed by someone when no one is around, making them all appear as accidents while the camp director and the other counselors search for the killer. With so many potential suspects, the killer could be anyone.

This truly is a legendary film amongst horror fans, if you google anything about this film, the ending will definitely be spoiled for you. I can’t discourage you enough from doing this. See this film if you can, in it’s entirety. Sadly, not everyone can experience it for the firs time the same way I did anymore, but the famous twist ending will make everything ok. Or it might not, depending on how you feel about the ending. I couldn’t be happier to have finally seen this film as it was meant to be seen. The only thing that would have made it more perfect was if it had been seen at the originally planned Camp Alamo event.

As a bonus, the Alamo Drafthouse and their in-house poster shop worked with Phantom City Creative to create this awesome 24”x36” print.


Well it’s the ending, and pretty much only if it hasn’t been spoiled for you. Even it has been spoiled for you, the haunting last image will no doubt never leave your mind. If you’re spoiled on the ending, it still needs to be seen to be believed.

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