Taglines: …You won’t be coming home!
After a horrible boating accident kills her family, Angela, a shy and sullen young girl, moves in with her eccentric aunt Martha, alongside her protective cousin Ricky. One summer, Martha sends the kids to Camp Arawak. Soon after their arrival, a series of bizarre and increasingly violent accidents begins to claim the lives of various campers. Who is the twisted individual behind these murders? The disclosure of the murderer’s identity is one of the most shocking climaxes in the history of American cinema.
Sleepaway Camp (also marketed on VHS as Nightmare Vacation) is a 1983 American slasher film written and directed by Robert Hiltzik, who also served as executive producer. The film tells about a young girl and her cousin sent to a summer camp, where a group of killings begins shortly after their arrival.
Released at a time when slasher films were in their heyday, the film is infamously known for its twist ending, which is considered by some to be one of the most shocking endings among horror films. Sleepaway Camp is also notable as the last film of Tony-nominee Mike Kellin.
About the Story
In 1975, John Baker and his boyfriend, Lenny, take John’s children Angela and Peter on a boating trip. After the boat capsizes, John and the children attempt to swim ashore. However they swim into the path of a reckless motorboat and are struck. John and Peter are killed.
8 years later in 1983, Angela is now traumatized. She has been living with her eccentric aunt, Dr. Martha Thomas, and her cousin Ricky Thomas. Angela and Ricky are sent to Camp Arawak. Due to her introverted nature, Angela is bullied, her main tormentors being fellow camper Judy and camp counselor Meg. The head cook, Artie, attempts to molest Angela as well. Later, an unseen figure causes Artie to get severely scalded by the water he is boiling. Artie’s incident is deemed accidental by camp owner Mel Costic.
Campers Kenny and Mike also mock Angela, prompting Ricky and his friend Paul to get into a fight with them. Paul befriends Angela. Kenny is later drowned, his death also ruled accidental by Mel. Paul asks Angela to attend a movie with him and kisses her. Campers Billy and Jimmy pick on Angela, and Billy is killed next, stung to death when someone traps him with a beehive. Mel starts thinking there is a killer in the camp.
The relationship between Angela and Paul grows strained when Paul kisses her again, causing Angela to have a flashback to her youth when she and her brother witnessed their father in bed with Lenny. Paul is seduced by Judy, and the two are found kissing by Angela. Guilty, Paul attempts to explain himself but is shooed away by Judy and Meg, who throw Angela into the water. Angela then has sand flung at her by small children. She is comforted by Ricky, who swears revenge on her aggressors. Meg is killed next in the shower.
A camp social is held. At the event, Paul apologizes to Angela again and she tells him to meet her at the water. Mel finds Meg’s body. Four of the six children who threw sand at Angela are found hacked to bits. Soon after, Judy is killed by being raped with a lit curling iron. The camp is thrown into a panic with all the deaths. Thinking Ricky is the killer, Mel beats him mercilessly, only to be shot in the throat and killed with an arrow by the real killer.
Sleepaway Camp (1983)
Directed by: Robert Hiltzik
Starring: Felissa Rose, Jonathan Tiersten, Karen Fields, Mike Kellin, Christopher Collet, Katherine Kamhi, Paul DeAngelo
Screenplay by: Robert Hiltzik
Production Design by: William Bilowit
Cinematography by; Benjamin Davis
Film Editing by: Ron Kalish, Sharyn L. Ross
Costume Design by: Eileen Sieff Stroup
Art Direction by: Joan Brockschmidt, Ellen Hopkins, Jorge Luis Toro
Music by: Edward Bilous
Distributed by: United Film Distribution Company
Release Date: November 18, 1983