Welcome to Camp New Horizons, where an autumn retreat brings together a group of obnoxious rich kids and surly city thugs for an "experiment in sharing." Under new inept management, this is the ideal setting for notorious psychopath Angela Baker (Pamela Springsteen, Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers) to join the camp and do what she does best eliminating "immoral" teenagers with everything from a knife to a lawnmower.
SLEEPAWAY CAMP III : TEENAGE WASTELAND picks up exactly one year after the events of the last film, when a kooky husband and wife team takes over ownership of the now abandoned Camp Rolling Hills. Renaming the camp, "Camp New Horizons", Herman and Lily Miranda, look to conduct what they call an "experiment in sharing", when they bring together two groups of very diverse teens. On one hand, there's the rich and privileged, and on the other, tough inner-city youths. The two sides couldn't be more different. As they struggle to coexist, everyone is too busy to realize that among them, is killer Angela Baker. Returning to the camp grounds, where, one year prior, she viciously slaughtered both campers and Counselors alike, Angela has assumed another identity. Posing as would-be camper Maria Nacastro, Angela is able to successfully integrate herself into the camp without being noticed. After the group retreats to the woods for a camping experience, which the Mirandas hope will bring the very different teens closer together, Angela wastes no time, doing what she does best - punish those who do wrong.
Having the option to shoot at least two sequels, Producer Jerry Silva did the logical thing when it came to making part two. With the crew from UNHAPPY CAMPERS already in place, he brought them all back for the follow up. With shooting beginning just six weeks after SLEEPAWAY CAMP II, SLEEPAWAY III picks up the story where it left off via a script that was once again written by Fritz Gordon.
As I noted in my previous review for SLEEPAWAY CAMP II : UNHAPPY CAMPERS, I really enjoy it. It was very different when compared to the original, as it brought both comedy and Horror in equal amounts. I felt that the idea worked well. SLEEPAWAY CAMP III : TEENAGE WASTELAND continued that brand of Horror, however this time around it failed to be as effective as the film that it followed. But there is a valid reason for that. Since the two sequels were being shot back-to-back, scheduling was a little cramped, especially when it came to SLEEPAWAY CAMP III. Just coming off of SLEEPAWAY CAMP II, the crew was tired, and they just didn't have as much time to prepare for the third film, as they did for the second. Not to mention that they were working from a script that Fritz Gordon had began writing before shooting on UNHAPPY CAMPERS had even wrapped. Also limited were resources and budget. Because of this, the end result is an uneven effort. As a film, it is still somewhat enjoyable, but very lacking, both in story, and in execution. Because of the budget, things needed to be changed. Such as most of the film being shot during the day, or the recycling of some of the props that were used in SLEEPAWAY CAMP II. The overall structure of the film just comes across as being a little lazy. Aside from the great setup(with Angela running down a teen girl with a garbage truck to begin the film), and the film's conclusion, the rest of the story is pretty dry with little more than just various setups for gore gags. The kills seemingly out number those seen in the previous film. This alone could have possibly won over many fans, However the film was hindered even further when the Motion Picture Association demanded the film be cut in order to save the film's "R" rating.
When compared to SLEEPAWAY CAMP II : UNHAPPY CAMPERS, SLEEPAWAY CAMP III : TEENAGE WASTELAND is just not as good a film, but it it is still one that is to be enjoyed for a few reasons. While the overall story doesn't have that same depth, it still has some of the witty comedy that made UNHAPPY CAMPERS so great. There's the character names which reference poplar culture(last time it was members of the "Brat Pack" group of 1980s teen actors, this time, most of the characters had names of members of "The Brady Bunch"), not to mention that a few of the characters, such as Daryl Wilcher's "Riff" stand out. And as a guy, I just love seeing Tracy Griffin as the film's "Final Girl". But aside from Griffith, the thing that I always remember most about SLEEPAWAY CAMP III, is indeed the film's introduction. Seemingly inspired by the later A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET sequels, the film opens in a big way. We watch as Maria, gets up, gets dressed, and then peacefully heads to her destination, where she is to wait for her ride to camp, only to have Angela's maliciously take her out with the garbage truck. There could not have been a better intro to the film, than this. It was the perfect way to introduce the third film's more gritty style, and it still ranks as one of the best film introductions that i've seen.
With that said SLEEPAWAY CAMP III : TEENAGE WASTELAND is a pretty good film, however it isn't great. Unlike SLEEPAWAY CAMP II, it just isn't as well put together, and feels, because it was, a bit rushed.
As with SLEEPAWAY CAMP II : UNHAPPY CAMPERS, SCREAM! FACTORY presents the film as a "Collector's Edition" Blu-Ray with a few choice special features, including part two of the documentary, "A Tale of Two Sequels", and a workprint of the incomplete longer cut of the film. In addition, there is more behind the scenes footage with Director Michael A. Simpson, deleted scenes, a trailer, and another fun short film.(Please note that my rating is in regards to the film, and not the release. The release itself is fantastic.)
Here are a few details :
"A Tale of Two Sequels : Part Two - New Victims & New Horizons (26m 12s) : Countinuing the fantastic documentary from the SLEEPAWAY CAMP II disc, part two continues with a round of interviews with Director Michael A. Simpson, Director of Photography Bill Mills, Actor Mark Oliver(), Actress Sandra Dorsey("Lily Miranda"), Actress Kim Wall("Cindy"), Actor Daryl Wilcher("Riff"), Effects Artist Bill "Splat" Johnson, Art Director Frank Galline, and Sleepway Camp Movies.com Webmaster Jeff Hayes,
Behind the Scenes footage narrated by Director Michael A. Simpson (8m 28s)
Workprint of the longer cut(1hr 24m 48s) : A longer rough cut of the film. Sourced from an old VHS tape, this longer version of the film is missing a lot of the film's sound, dialogue, and special effects, yet does contain a few scenes that didn't make it into the final film.
Short film : "Tony Lives" (1m 10s) : This "TMZ style" short film catches Tony(Actor Mark Oliver, who reprises his role) as he leaves his hotel room, while a cameraman tails him, asking him the tough questions regarding his survival of "Camp New Horizions"
4/10 Unfortunately, the gore isn't as good here as it was in UNHAPPY CAMPERS, mostly due to the fact that a lot of the truly gory stuff had to be cut out. However, there are several instances of blood splatter, including a few heads being seen crushed and a face being blown off - by firecracker, and a couple of axe impalements. Other instances are only implied(due to the cuts). Scene's such as Bobby's tree, arm ripping death, and Lily's infamous "lawnmower" death.
8/10 Like SLEEPAWAY CAMP II, SLEEPAWAY CAMP III offers another awesome soundtrack. Once again with songs from Anvil, Obsession, and John Altyn. It is Altyn's song "Sleepaway" that is used as the film's main track.
IMPRESSION OF THE FILM
Having been shot back-to-back with the second film, SLEEPAWAY CAMP III : TEENAGE WASTELAND was a film, in which the crew had rushed to finish, and unfortunately, a good part of the final product feels that way. Being limited, the story just gives us the indication that it may not have been developed to its full potential. A lot of the film feels to me, as if a lot of compromises were made due to time and budget. However, remarkably, the filmmakers were still able to put together a film that, while not as good, is fairly entertaining.
Special Features include :
- Audio Commentary With Director Michael A. Simpson And Writer Fritz Gordon
- A Tale Of Two Sequels - Part Two Featuring New Interviews With Director Michael A. Simpson, Cinematographer Bill Mills, Actors Mark Oliver And Kim Wall And Morebr>
- Behind-The-Scenes Footage With Commentary By Michael A. Simpson
- Workprint Of The Longer Cut (From VHS)
- Deleted Scenes Featuring Additional Gore Footage (Taken From The Workprint)
- Home Video Promotional Trailer
- Still Gallery
This film will be released on Blu-Ray Combo Pack Collector's Edition on June 9, 2015