Franchise Review: Sleepaway Camp III – Teenage Wasteland

After murdering a young girl, Angela Baker assumes her identity and travels to Camp New Horizons, built on the grounds of the camp she terrorized the year before, and starts killing again.

The story of Angela’s rampage continues in this next entry of the series.

This film was actually shot back to back with “Sleepaway Camp II”. Producer Jerry Silva was so pleased with the way the sequel was turning out that he announced during filming that this film would be made once they wrapped. The script for this film was actually written during the filming of the previous one and they only had one weekend for pre-production.

Unfortunately I think the rush to get this third entry made and released so quickly is visible to the audience as this time the story is so thin and what was a highly entertaining sequel with part two now becomes tiresome. The script is really poor and whilst I think the plot outline isn’t exactly a bad one, it’s just executed very poorly.

Don’t get me wrong though, there are still a few entertaining scenes, especially the death scenes, my favourite being the lawnmower scene. Sadly, as often happens, there were more elaborate plans but due to budget restrictions and cuts we never saw them but I do hear there were some re-added to the new region 1 release, even an alternate ending.

You can see that the potential was there and if it wasn’t rushed out I feel it could’ve been much more, unfortunately it seems that film makers never do learn. I mean if you’re after gore, T&A, some cheesy humour and more gore then you won’t be disappointed, it is still a fun film, it just could’ve been much more.

“Sleepaway Camp III – Teenage Wasteland” falls into the slasher sequel trap of mediocrity, fortunately it’s got just enough to it to be entertaining to fans.

Miscellaneous facts about the film:

Because it was filmed back-to-back with Nightmare Vacation 2 (1988) over a six week period, the same set was used for both films: a YMCA youth camp in Georgia.

Most of the characters in the film are named after characters from West Side Story (1961), The Brady Bunch (1969) and The Munsters (1964).

The hockey mask used in Nightmare Vacation 2 (1988) is seen in the fishing scene. As it is pulled out of the water, another camper remarks that the date is “Saturday the 14th.”

The license numbers on the truck correspond with the house numbers in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).

The girls’ cabin is the same one used in the previous film, simply redressed.

When Angela imagines a speech made to the campers from the previous year, she misquotes Sally Field’s second Oscar speech in which she actually said: “I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!” Field herself was making a humorous reference to dialogue from her role in the film she won her first Oscar for, Norma Rae (1979), but many people missed the connection. She later even parodied herself when she delivered the line in a Charles Schwab commercial.

Angela wears the belt from her Camp Rolling Hills counselor uniform from Sleepaway Camp II in this film. She also wears a wig in this film.

The character of Arab was originally called “Action”.

Tracy Griffith originally auditioned for the role of Angela before being cast as Marcia.

The film’s subtitle, “Teenage Wasteland”, comes from one of the director’s favorite songs, The Who’s “Baba O’Reilly”.

Similar to the relationship of their characters, Tracy Griffith and Mark Oliver had a brief romance during filming. It only lasted a few weeks.

Screenwriting credit is given to Fritz Gordon, which is actually a pseudonym for producer Michael Hitchcock, who later went on to star in several films by Christopher Guest. Hitchcock was born in Defiance, Ohio, which is also where the character of Marsha is from.

Jill Terashita (Arab) and Stacie Lambert (Jan) met on set and remained friends long after filming.

The script originally contained more elaborate deaths for the characters, which had to be changed for budget reasons. Herman was to have a flaming poker shoved into his crotch, with Angela proclaiming it “A wienie roast!” Also, Tawny and her entire news team were supposed to die in a fiery explosion after Angela cut the brake lines to their van.

When film was initially given an X-rating by the MPAA due to the gore and violence, a representative called director Michael A. Simpson to tell him that the woman who screened the film became physically ill after she watched the flagpole death scene.

Body count: 16.

One of the many elements cut due budget restrictions was Marcia’s dog. Initially, Marcia brought her pet dog with her to camp. It was the dog that escapes the cabin at the end, not Marcia, and mauls Angela. Later while in the police car, when Marcia admits to Tony she has a boyfriend back home, but he “can come and visit.” Originally his conciliation was that he could “keep the dog.”

The reporter says there were 19 deaths from the last movie. There were 18 without Molly, which means Molly did die at the end

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