“Sleepaway Camp IV: The Survivor” was the dreamchild of 1992 that sadly never came true. The film was originally intended to be the fourth installment in the infamous “Sleepaway Camp” series. It was partially filmed in October 1992 but was never completed due to lack of funding. In 2002 the unfinished footage from the first day of shooting was released and made available as an exclusive fourth disc with the Best Buy edition of the Region 1 “Sleepaway Camp” box set.
But…all was not lost! John Klyza, webmaster of SleepawayCampFilms, helped put together an official final cut of the film which they said would bring closure to the Survivor’s legacy. The final film would be 70% material from the first three films and 30% new Survivor material. Is the final film one to be cherished into the hearts of Sleepaway Camp fans everywhere or does it deserve to stay as archived material?
Well, the answer my fellow slasher fans is one that you do not want to hear. “Sleepaway Camp IV: The Survivor” is pretty bad. Everything about it is bad in every way that you could imagine and in several ways that you would have thought they wouldn’t have been able to screw up. What’s wrong with it? Here we go!
* The flashback clips are the worst quality clips they could find. I’m talking VHS copy of a copy bad. It is grainy, distorted, and hard to make out.
* The sound quality is pretty bad. The “new” footage is far too loud and you can’t even hear the old footage. Prepare to have the remote handy for adjusting the volume…every few seconds!
* The new material doesn’t make any sense whatsoever and doesn’t flow with the editing of the first three films. A random “added” line of dialogue here and there doesn’t help matters at all. If anything it just becomes more distracting.
* The old footage (especially from the original film) is so grainy it’s hard to know what’s going on. I know I already commented on this but after a good Anchor Bay release of the original series, this is inexcusable.
* The tacked on ending is not only super cheesy but it’s hard to tell what is even supposed to be happening. All of a sudden our “main girl” is with some burned guy. I don’t know what the hell happened.
* The editing of the old clips either start too late or end too early cutting off gags that make the scene work. The pacing is key in order to make a good death and they couldn’t even edit them from the first one in a consistent way.
* The deaths are cut in a way that we never actually see what is supposed to be the gruesome aftermath. Once again, bad editing and there is no excuse for this when the material has already been used.
* The voiceover is so bad in the new footage that it doesn’t even match what is happening on screen. This only gets worse as the movie progresses. It can’t even manage to get Allison, our “main girl” of Survivor, to say the word bitch in time to match up to a picture of Ally from 2.
In short, this movie is only worth owning if you can find it super cheap (hopefully free). Anything over $5 is too much. I really do appreciate the effort but I will never watch this again. If you own the bonus disc, you own ALL of the new material. 30% new material? There is barely 10 minutes worth of material here that wasn’t originally shown in the first three films. Is it unfair for me to judge this as a final film when it clearly isn’t one? Of course not. Nonetheless, is it fair to charge $15 to horror fans for material they already own? Absolutely not.
***I want to update my review a bit. Last week on Slasher Studios Webcast, we spoke with editor Dustin Ferguson in which he talked about his experiences with this film and the troubles he faced bringing it to life. He came across as a really nice guy with a genuine love for the series and making his cut the best it could have been. I still don’t particularly like it but it gives me a better appreciation for what he at least tried to do.***
Make sure to listen to the webcast here in which we talk to Ferguson to get his take on the film: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/slasherstudios/2012/04/02/slasher-studios-visits-sleepaway-camp
Want to buy the film? Here’s you go: Sleepaway Camp IV: The Survivor (2012)