26 October 2010

October 26th

Return to Sleepaway Camp (2008) directed by Robert Hiltzik
The original director and some of the original cast come back 25 years later to do it over again.  I dig that.  Most of the movie is spent observing the campers torturing the overweight Alan.  I thought this part was fairly realistic.  Alan is that typical kid who's eager to belong to the group but just doesn't have the social awareness to manage it.  He seems oblivious to the fact that, for example, wearing the same, smelly shirt everyday just makes the other kids want to pick on him even more.  I remember kids like that in school.  It seems like they don't have a chance, but it's hard to be completely sympathetic to their plight when they act like little a-holes (as Alan often does here).

It must have been hard, in the shadow of the ending of the first film, to figure out what to do with this one.  They probably went the only way they could, given that Angela had to return in some fashion.  I can't say I was shocked when she/he was revealed to be the suspiciously petite, badly-bearded Sheriff, though.  Given this reveal was no surprise, the ending is pretty unsatisfying.  Angela kills a bunch of people, she takes her disguise off, Ricky screams like a girl and Angela cackles.  No one really stopped her... she just sort of quit killing.  That's not really in keeping with slasher traditions. (6/10)

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) directed by Samuel Bayer
Not quite as horrible as I was expecting. I think the only reason I say that is because I liked Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy.  He's meaner and move perverted than than Englund's Freddy ever was; you wouldn't see this new Freddy made into a talking doll or a squirt ball, I don't think.  I'm fine with the make-up.  Freddy's face has always changed for each movie.  I think the visible tendons in his cheek make it much grosser when he gets his face near another character's. I think "Why are you screaming? I haven't even cut ya yet." is one of the best Freddy lines of all time.

Everything surrounding Freddy, I didn't care for as much.  I think the film's largest issue is its near-complete lack of character development.  Who are these teens we're watching?  I kinda get that Nancy's a bit of a loner-geek, but why and what do the other kids think of that?  Why does Rod -- er -- Jesse run to Nancy's house after seeing Tina -- sorry-- Kris die?  Were they sort of friends?  I have no idea.  In the original, we had the four main teens gather at Tina's house.  We got to see them interact and watch them happy before anyone died.  That was important and is completely absent here.

I also think all of the scenes that were present in the original were done worse.  The CGI Freddy stretching through Nancy's wall looks ridiculous compared to the realistic-looking rubber wall of the original.  Tina's death was actually much more brutal, I thought, in the original than Kris's.  I think the shot in the original of Freddy on top of Tina under the covers makes it so.  The bathtub scene lacked the cool part where Freddy pulls Nancy deep down into the water.

One exception to this was the death of Nancy's mother at the end, which I liked in this one better than the rubber doll in the original.  And, I liked the Freddy backstory in this film as well.  Seeing the flashbacks of him interacting with the characters when they were children really drove home how evil the guy is.

They kind of shot their wad in this film as far as sequels go.  Nancy and Quentin were the only two kids from the preschool left alive by the end of the movie.  In the original series, Freddy had a seemingly unending supply of Elm street kids to pick off.  He didn't have to move on to every child in town until part 6. Speaking of, where was Elm street?  Was it the street Nancy lived on?  Did all four of the main teens live on that street?  I have no idea.  Maybe the preschool was on Elm street? How about a shot of a street sign, guys?  Remember the title of the film? (6/10)

Due to WB delaying their releases on Netflix for 4 weeks now and my desire to watch this during the Six Weeks, I rented this movie from the PlayStation Network.  That's the first and last time I'll ever do that.  I paid $6 for the HD version, which I got to keep for 14 days (but only 24 hours after playing it once).  It's a complete rip-off.  The movie was a paltry 720p with stereo sound.  The bitrate looked to average 6 or 7 mbps for an AVC encode, which translates to visible compression artifacts all over the place.  This is in no way a replacement for watching a movie on blu-ray, for sure.  I'm sure it's fine on a small screen, but blown up by a projector, it's unacceptable.  Long live physical media.


  1. Oh God I hated "Return to Sleepaway Camp" so friggin' much. All of the characters weren't only unlikable or unsympathetic, but blatantly irritating. Even the original "Sleepaway Camp" had at least two or three genuinely sympathetic kids. I also hated the tone of the movie. It was so obvious that Hiltzik was trying to recapture the camp of the first film. But the first time it was obviously an accident and now it just came off like the biggest nerd at the party trying to be relevant and hip. It was embarrassing. And the twist ending doesn't even count as a fucking twist, since it was so completely projected. And it doesn't help that in every interview I've read, Hiltzik comes off like a total prick, extremely self-satisfied. Basically, screw the Hiltzik films. All I need are the Michael Simpson/Pamela Springsteen sequels. The first film is only important in that it led to those films. Blah.

    Sorry, I kind of went on a rant there.

  2. Fair enough, but you have to at least admit the original movie is semi-classic in the slash genre...

  3. First off, holy crap, I let loose up there. I don't know what got in to me. Feel free to delete that rant there. Whoo, that was unnecessary.

    Secondly, I do enjoy the first "Sleepaway Camps" for totally different reasons then the two sequels. I consider the first more of a camp experience while the two and three are really clever, subversive horror-comedies.