Pray You’re Not Invited: “Sleepaway Camp IV: The Survivor” (2012) Review

“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:

Want to buy the film? Here’s you go: Sleepaway Camp IV: The Survivor (2012)


5 thoughts on “Pray You’re Not Invited: “Sleepaway Camp IV: The Survivor” (2012) Review

  1. I’ve heard so much about this clip film in the making over the years. I expect less than average, as I happen to own the similar PUPPET MASTER: THE LEGACY. But I’ve always been a bigger fan of PUPPET MASTER than I have SLEEPAWAY CAMP, so maybe it is a hardcore fan kind of situation. I might check this out at least just once as the very idea of new footage spliced with old to make a brand new film for some reason catches my interest. I have a soft spot for SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT 2, and much to my surprise at the time TRIAL OF THE PINK PANTHER used deleted scenes of Peter Sellers. I’ll wait for the price to go down, though. Or at least until someone puts it on youtube with the other films.

  2. Believe me, I wanted to love this movie. I wouldn’t have spent $15 on it if I was going in expecting to hate it. Sleepaway Camp is one of my favorite horror series and I love each of the movies for various reasons. That being said, this was a weak attempt to make a few extra bucks off of hardcore fans. As a bonus disc, this would have been great but as it stands it is more of an insult to horror fans than anything else. I was really disappointed by this and I went in with low expectations realizing exactly what the movie was “supposed” to be. Nonetheless, it didn’t work. If you enjoyed it, more power to you. I’m glad that you had fun with it and wish I could have had the same reaction.

  3. You totally missed the point. Let me just go over what you said:

    *It’s grainy because you probably watched it on your HD tv. Because of rights issues, alternate prints (not Anchor Bay) had to be used, therefore the quality is that of a VHS. Which looks fine on standard TVS, the way it was meant to be seen back in 1992.

    *Nothing is wrong with the audio on my copy, must be your system.

    *The ending proves Allison is Angela. It’s very clear if you paid attention to the film.

    *The editing is cut the way it is for a reason. Not to miss any gags, but to better lead into the next clip.

    *The editing is not off, my copy is fine, I think you are bullshitting on this one. Everything flows and makes sense the way it is cut.

    *The voice-over matches everything the way it is supposed to. Not sure what you are talking about. She is always referring to what is one screen, I didn’t find any instance where it doesn’t.

    Sounds to me you WANTED to hate this movie so you went through and picked apart any possible negative aspect without even mentioning the positive ones.

    The people involved in the film have been saying since Day 1 that this is a “clips” movie. It was no secret. A “clips” sequel is better than no sequel at all. Even if you consider it the worst in the series, it still atleast continues the series into 2012, making it the last remaining original 80’s series that’s still going. This was obviously made for hardcore fans. It’s also more of a “party tape” due to the inclusion of all the death scenes. Watch it with a beer and don’t take things so serious. It’s a fun sequel, sure it could have been better but I am satisfied with it. I found your review a bit dishonest and probably biased.

  4. Edited that sentence. It was a bit confusing. Allison starts talking about a bitch from summer camp. They mean to show Ally but the editing is so off that they end up showing Molly when she says the word bitch. Hope that clarifies things a bit.

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