The WTF? Worst Films Extravaganza Presents: Return To Sleepaway Camp (2008)

Robert Hiltzik

Vincent Pastore - Frank
Michael Gibney - Alan
Paul DeAngelo - Ronnie
Jonathan Tiersten - Ricky Baker
Issac Hayes - Charlie the Chef
Lenny Vento - Mickey
Erin Broderick - Karen
Adam Wylie - Weed
Christopher Shand - T.C.
Michael Werner - Michael
Shahidah McIntosh - Bella

Genre - Horror/Slasher

Running Time - 98 Minutes

Score - 1 Howl Outta 4

In 1983, a cult slasher film was released called SLEEPAWAY CAMP. Next to other slashers like HALLOWEEN, FRIDAY THE 13TH, and THE BURNING, SLEEPAWAY CAMP was pretty standard and not as great as those flicks. As a matter of fact, SLEEPAWAY CAMP probably would have been long forgotten if not for that shocking ending where our protagonist and killer, Angela Baker, was revealed not to be a female at all...but a dude forced to act like a girl! Because of the conclusion alone, SLEEPAWAY CAMP became a slasher staple for bringing something new to the table. Of course, two sequels followed that were pretty fun [especially SLEEPAWAY CAMP II: UNHAPPY CAMPERS] but they didn't compare to the effectiveness of the original.

Now 25 years later, RETURN TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP ignores the two sequels and uses the original actors from the original to continue the story of Camp Arawak. This movie was in production hell for years, supposedly due to the CGI gore effects not looking great and a need for reshoots and more edits. But I think I have a better idea why it was delayed:


Sorry, but the fourth [or fifth, depending if anyone counts that unmade SLEEPAWAY CAMP IV film as an actual sequel] installment of this franchise is an embarrassment to the original. Sure it's great to see Felissa Rose, Jonathan Tiersen, and Paul DeAngelo back. Sure the death scenes are cool. But other than that, this camp doesn't deserve a return visit. No roasted marshmallows is gonna take away my disappointment over this one.

Former steroid-freak and balls-hugging-shorts-wearing Ronnie (Paul DeAngelo) is still a camp counselor after all these years at Camp Arawak, now called Camp Manabe [ha ha...how fuckin' clever...oh...]. Anyway, everything's normal at the campsite until some commotion occurs. You see, the kids are picking on some really annoying fat dumbass named Alan (Michael Gibney) for being obese, unhygenic [I don't even think he showers], and an asshole to the other campers. Yet he's the protagonist. Whatever. Anyway, making fun of Alan is just one of the camp's favorite pastimes, other than sports, swimming, doing drugs, and murdering other campers. Oh wait, that last one is not a pastime. But there is someone killing the kids, which really upsets Ronnie. Ronnie, still traumatized by Angela Baker's (Felissa Rose) rampage and seeing her man parts all those years ago, is convinced that Angela has escaped from her stay at a mental institution for an encore. But is it really Angela? Or could it be Alan, getting back at those making fun of his fat ugly ass? Or could it be Angela? Or could it be Ronnie, who's so nuts and has his nuts so tightly squeezed that all he sees is red? Or could it be Angela? Like I'd tell you [believe me, you wouldn't care].

I have three words for RETURN TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP:


You have no idea how long I have waited for this film. I was so excited when I heard the original director and cast were coming back. Hell, this was gonna be a true sequel to the original, and I love SLEEPAWAY CAMP. But after watching 98 minutes of this, I wish I had never heard of this fuckin' movie. I'm severely disappointed and I feel like a fool to think that this would be any good. This is not the review I wanted to write for RETURN TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP. But I have no choice but to tear this piece of shit a new one. Where do I start?

Let me get the easy stuff out of the way and tell you guys what I actually liked. I thought the gore FX wasn't half-bad. As a matter of fact, there were certain death scenes that were actually clever. My favorites were the bunk bed scene, where some annoying bitch got impaled by metal nails or something from the bunk bed above her when the killer jumped on the top bunk so hard, that it crushed her. That was pretty neat. The other one happens to be where Weed is forced to drink gasoline and his insides are lit for some internal burning that doesn't happen to be an STD. And that penis pull - oh my God - I felt so bad for that annoying bastard! My friend shriveled up watching that. I could have used more of the red stuff though but the corpses looked pretty sweet. The death scenes were probably the highlight of the film, stopping it from becoming a total BOMB.

I also liked seeing the old cast back years later. Ricky still looks like Ricky, but with short blonde hair now. Ronnie is off the roids, but still looks good for his age. And Angela, who does make an appearance in the film, still looks pretty hot. So yeah, the nostalgia factor played well here.

And then the atmosphere was dead-on. It felt like the original SLEEPAWAY CAMP. It kind of looked like the original SLEEPAWAY CAMP. The mood and atmosphere was definitely present. I think that was the only good thing Hiltzik added to this long-awaited installment.

And then there is everything else. God, everything else was horrible. Let me start with the story. It's pretty much a retelling of SLEEPAWAY CAMP. Someone gets picked on for being different. People end up dying. The bullied party is believed to be the prime suspect. And then there's a twist at the end. However, it's not as good as the original in its effectiveness. The dialogue is awful and not in a good way either. The characters are extremely unlikeable and all deserve to die horrible deaths, especially the main character. And the twist can be seen from a mile away. If people who saw this did NOT get the real deal about this one and have been fans of the SLEEPAWAY CAMP series, they must either be blind or just really retarded. It was so obvious once I saw the "hint" to solving the film's "mystery". Nice try. Didn't work. So lame. And there was another twist too, but the extras is the only place to find it. It would have been cool if the script had actually implied it somehow.

I gotta express my utter distain for the character of Alan. I dunno if it was just the written character itself or the actor playing him, but I've never hated a horror character this much since Tina from HALLOWEEN 5. Hell, I'd take 10 Tinas over 1 Alan any day of the week. He's that bad. And we're supposed to sympathize with this guy. Why on Earth would I want to feel bad and root for a fat, dumbass, annoying son of a bitch like Alan? He gets picked on for his weight and lack of hygiene. Yeah, that's horrible. But the thing is that Alan is probably a bigger bully than the ones bullying him. Alan constantly makes fun of girls. He pushes and beats up people smaller than him. Plus he treats his counselors with disrespect and enjoys it. And last but not least, his comeback line is always "Your ass stinks!" Really? Is that the best Hiltzik can come up for this fuckin' asshole? I swear...the moment this dude appeared on my television screen, I had to turn off the movie. I really wanted to stop watching because I knew he was gonna be in the film alot. But I soldiered on and watched the entire thing, getting more pissed off because Alan got worse and worse. Why, God, why??

There was a reason why Angela/Peter worked so well in the original SLEEPAWAY CAMP. She was never a bitch. She was never stuck up. She never whined, or cried, or talked to frogs [which reminded me of that horrible FROGS movie, asshole!]. She was quiet. She kept to herself. And the things that happened to her were beyond her control. Her buttons were constantly pushed until she exploded and killed all those people. That's why we like Angela. She was actually a VICTIM of society. That's why we root for her, even though what she does is horrible.

Alan is the total opposite of this. He's not a victim. He's a bully who is called on his faults: he's fat, he's disgusting, he whines, he cries like Nancy Kerrigan, and he stalks girls that are WAY out of his league while not taking "no" for an answer. Yeah, we want this guy to live until the end. Yeah, we should care for his fuckin' fat ass. Alan is supposed to be the GOOD GUY of the film. But he's just as bad as everyone else, maybe worse. I really don't know what Hiltzik was thinking here. I really don't.

And the other characters are no better. Besides Ricky, Angela, and that new girl Karen, everyone else were either annoying, unlikeable, or just major dumbasses. Even Ronnie was pissing me off here with his constant whining and horrible attempt at lunacy and paranoia. The biggest dumbass in the film has to be T.C., who deserved to die more than I realized once I saw the final seconds of his reel life. You want to know how big of a genius this T.C. guy was?

He looked down a hole on the floor with a sharp broomstick poked out from that almost killed him. Not once. Not twice. Not even three times.


Yep, all he did was constantly look in the hole to show his friend the evidence that he was almost killed from below. "Sure, let my dumb ass look inside a hole where there's a weapon that almost impaled me. Nothing is gonna happen to me if I keep looking. Hyuk hyuk!"


And you know what? It put a fuckin' shit grin smile on my annoyed face. Serves that motherfucker right for being an idiot. I know horror characters aren't supposed to be all that smart in order for them to get killed, but that was just too much to take. No one is that stupid. No one. Ugh.

The direction by Robert Hiltzik was pretty bad. The film looked nice. The atmosphere was there. But that was it really. The editing, I felt, was really bad. The film felt disjointed in lots of places. Something would happen and it would like quickly jump cut to another scene. It almost gave me shell-shock. The pacing was severely off. I mean, people didn't really start to die until the last half-hour because the focus was on Alan's story. There was barely any tension or suspense in this film other that that penis pull scene that still makes my bits numb. I dunno, it visually did nothing for me. Hiltzik did awesome for the original SLEEPAWAY CAMP. It sucks he couldn't repeat it here.

The acting was just off-the-wall horrible. I won't lie - some of it did make me laugh. But most of the time, it just made me wish I was watching something else. Michael Gibney as Alan should never act in a film, on television, on stage, on radio, on anything ever again! He was over-the-top whiny and annoying. Maybe that's what Hiltzik wanted to him to do, but it just annoyed the hell out of me. The character was badly written, but the protrayal didn't do it any favors. I seriously wasn't sure if this guy was mentally challenged or not. I'm still wondering. God, even the frogs working with him wanted to drown themselves in the lake backdrop. Vincent Pastore, from The Sopranos, must have really needed a paycheck. He's way better than Gibney, but he looked embarrassed to be in this film. I seriously don't blame him. And how did I know a "Big Pussy" reference would pop up? So witty. Paul DeAngelo is still a horrible actor like he was 25 years ago. But he annoyed me this time instead of making me laugh the last time. Bad to the bone.

The other actors didn't really do a whole lot to make an impression. Felissa Rose and Jonathan Tiersen weren't in it long enough for anything to really register although they were two of the actors that didn't annoy me at all. So that's a plus, I guess. And Issac Hayes, in his final released movie role, pretty much plays himself for like 10 minutes and then disappears without any mention of where he went. I guess he followed those Salty Chocolate Balls or something...


- Camp Manabe promises the following: "Canoeing, Archery, Volleyball, Swimming Lessons, Arts and Crafts, Nature Hiking, Bonding Games, and more!" I'm glad I read that correctly. If I had read "Bonding Games" for "Bondage Games", I would have been greatly disappointed over bringing my gimp outfit for nothing. No Nipple Twisting? Boo!

- Alan called someone a "Big Penis". I doubt Alan would even know what a penis looks like, since he probably can't find his on his fat ass body.

- Camp Manabe is run by Vincent Pastore. "Big Pussy" and "Big Penis" - sounds like a match made in premature ejaculation.

- Alan considers frogs his only friends. Well every Kermit does need his Miss Piggy.

- Mickey got burnt in a deep frier filled with oil.

Oh Mickey
You're so fried
You're so fried
That you're gonna die
Hey Mickey
*clap clap clap clap*
Hey Mickey
*clap clap clap clap*

- Blow Job, I mean Alan, smoked a fatty full of cow manure. I've watched this guy for 20 minutes and I already knew he was full of shit.

- Weed got his mouth filled with gasoline and then was forced to smoke to the point where he burnt from the inside. Too bad. He seemed so fired up to clean himself when he returned home!

- Randy got his pecker squeezed and pulled from his body by a wire that was connected to a jeep his girlfriend used to get away from the killer. Take about a horrible circumcision...I mean circumstance!

- T.C. got stabbed in the eye by a sharp broomstick from a hole below after, like an idiot, constantly looked in the hole. You gotta be careful with these glory holes. Mouth? Yes. Eye? No. Did no one learn from George Michael?

- Don't ever fix an evil cheerleader's ride. The consequences will be very crushing to your ego. Or your head. Whichever comes first.

If you're curious about RETURN TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP, stop. Unless you want to see a really bad installment of a cult franchise that left me really disappointed and aggravated, skip this return visit and forget this film even exists. Other than the death scenes, RETURN TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP is a waste of time, money, and energy. One of the worst horror films of 2008 and it hurts me to even write that.


  1. Harsh Review Bro!
    While not really a fan of the series (I only saw this one and the 1st one, and I enjoyed both for what they were - mindless entertainment) Perhaps you were over-analytical?

    Still, I enjoyed the review!
    I was laughing out loud, especially at the whole T.C. part - not once, not twice - very funny! :-)

  2. I didn't like this either but I'm partial too the Sleepaway Camp series. I agre, the Alan victim was sooo annoying.

    But the death scenes are fun in that 80s slasher knockoff sorta way.

    Does the killer make up the kill scenes before hand? It's like Wile E Coyote.


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