Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Recently Watched : Return To Sleepaway Camp & Deadgirl



While i've never been the hugest Sleepaway Camp fan, I do get a kick out of the movies - how can you not love the little girl with the dick and the wildly inventive kill scenes? I'm actually quite surprised that it took me this long to check out the big return of the franchise, but I think that'd have something to do with the outpouring of negativity from my fellow horror bloggers. I decided on a whim to finally pop it in this past weekend and quite frankly, it's a piece of garbage. That being established, when I look back, I can't deny that I kinda had a teeny tiny bit of fun while watching it. Granted I usually have fun with slasher flicks, no matter how bad they are, but I can't rag on Return To Sleepaway Camp all that much given that it really doesn't take itself too seriously and i'm fairly certain the filmmakers sole intention was to make a highly campy and very cheesy slasher flick that would fit right in with the earlier installments in the franchise - mission accomplished. So while Return To Sleepaway Camp is not what I would call a good horror movie, and does kinda lack in creative and gory kill scenes, it's pretty much perfect fodder for a drunken movie night with friends and ya know what? That's good enough for me. Oh, and I can't lie, I marked out for the ending, even if it was predictable.



Now this is what I call a GREAT fucking horror movie, and a completely original horror movie to boot. Two friends head out to the local abandoned insane asylum for a day of drinking and debauchery and they stumble upon a chained up girl in the basement - what ensues is perhaps the most twisted love story of all time and one of the best horror movies of the last several years. This is some seriously dark and disturbing shit that is only for the open minded and for those who can handle some seriously dark and disturbing shit - like dudes fucking dead chicks. What's so incredible about this movie is that behind all the necrophilia and dark subject matter, it truly is a love story at heart - the most perfect combination of love and horror since Let The Right One In. It's movies like Deadgirl that show that there are still people out there with boldy original takes on the genre, and that's something to take comfort in. Don't look it up on IMDb or Wikipedia and spoil anything for yourself, just go rent it and experience the movie for yourself. I can almost guarantee you'll be talking and thinking about it for days afterward.

21 comments:

Emily said...

I HATED Return to Sleepaway Camp not because it was bad--Parts 1-3 are pretty awful--but because 1) the main character was just annoying to watch and 2) it was nearly 1 hour before we even got to any good killings, and that was the longest hour I've ever experienced.

On the other hand, I couldn't agree more with you on Deadgirl. It could have gone to wrong, but the subject matter was handled so perfectly well in tone and performance. A really sensitive, yet disturbing film.

Planet of Terror said...

I was super torn by Deadgirl. On the one hand, it had a lot of thematics going on regarding growing up and how fucked up it can be sometimes. On the other, a commentary on today's youth (in my opinion) and how kids have a lack of respect for life and themselves. Overall, the lack of a coherent focus is ultimately what turned me off. Can't really say I hate it and can't really say I liked it either.

Brian Churilla said...

Deadgirl was a great horror movie? Are you serious? It was a misogynistic rape fantasy. In this world, women are constantly being brutalized and raped, and that movie totally trivialized it. Yeah, she was undead, so what? This movie amounted to softcore rape porn, man, plain and simple, no matter what the director's "intentions" might have been, and you've lost some serious credibility with me by digging it, going so far as to say it's one of the best horror films in years. Love story? Really? The chick he's been fawning over becomes undead, then it's finally okay for him to commit rape. Awesome. Cool. Rape is totally awesome. "She's undead, it's cool man, she's not a real person." There are a lot of people in this world who think women are subhuman too - and that's a big contributor to the pandemic abuse of them. Sorry man, I dig your blog and all, but I think I might be checking out because of this.

Zacery Nova said...

I really enjoyed the first Sleepaway Camp (I bought it this weekend, it is AMAZING) and this sequel was super-enjoyable too.

Haven't seen Deadgirl yet, I don't think it's really my thing though.

Carl (ILHM) said...

RETURN was one of the all time greatest letdowns for me, I thought it was a joke on itself at first until the hour mark when I realized the film wasnt going to get any better. Terrible.

Still need to pick up DEAD GIRL, been hearing things, deadly things..

shu said...

I totally agree with you on DEADGIRL! It was a love story and a tale of moral quandaries. So many did not really get it or see it that way. Their loss. Glad you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Chris Hallock said...

Deadgirl has been an extremely polarizing horror film even among my more open-minded friends. I agree that the intense subject matter was handled very well and with care.

Chris Hallock said...

I think my last post didn't make it:

Deadgirl has been an extremely polarizing film, even among my open-minded friends. I agree that the intense subject matter was handled well and with care. Great film and one of my favorites of the last few years.

Johnny said...

Brian - So you might stop reading my blog due to a differing of opinions on a single movie? That's a little extreme, but so be it. I'm not changing my tone and by the way, I never said it was 'ok' for anyone to rape a dead chick, nor did I ever say rape of any kind was 'ok'. Believe me, I respect women to the utmost degree and find it hard to even stomach rape scenes on film, but Deadgirl is a horror movie and is a horror movie not supposed to disturb you? As an INCREDIBLY fucked up love story of a horror film, I loved it. Sue me.

Oh by the way, my girlfriend, who is by nature a female, loved Deadgirl perhaps even more than I. Go figure...

Brian Churilla said...

Rape isn't cool, nor is condoning it (and having you hero-protagonist committing it in the final act pretty much condones it). As far as reading the blog, if I had a friend who said he loved a movie where a woman is raped throughout that movie's duration, I might reconsider that friendship. I'm astounded how many people are giving this movie a pass. It's a sad comment on how apathetic our society is. Just because something is meant to disturb, doesn't make it good. And all of that aside, this was a bad movie. There were some creepy moments, sure, but the lead was a horribly annoying idiot who whined through the whole movie. Maybe the Deadgirl in the sequel will be an infant that they could abuse and rape, I'm sure some folks would love that too.

Johnny said...

Well i'm a fan of Last House on the Left, I Spit on Your Grave, and Irreversible too - so you probably shouldn't be reading my blog in the first place. That being said, none of those movies, including Deadgirl, condone rape in any way and if you can't see that then maybe you just shouldn't be watching horror movies. You're clearly a horror fan, if you read this blog with any frequency, so let me ask you - does watching violent horror movies condone murder? Does Blue Velvet, as seen in your avatar, condone murder? Oh and by the way, that image of Dennis Hopper in your avatar is from a particulary sadomasochistic rape scene in Blue Velvet - a movie that as a whole has rape as one of its key elements. Just sayin.

"and having you hero-protagonist committing it in the final act pretty much condones it."

Let's see. At the end of Friday the 13th, as just one of many possible examples, the hero protagonist commits murder in the final act. So that movie is condoning murder? That sounds a bit silly doesn't it?

You didn't like the movie and you're disturbed by rape. Fair enough and totally understandable. But don't make me out to be some sick psychopath because I liked the movie and because ya, I kinda like to be disturbed when I watch a horror movie. A horror fan like yourself should know better than anyone that watching sick and violent shit on film does not make one a sick and violent person. At the end of the day, it's only a movie....

Jennie Boots said...

**SPOILERS AHEAD** I am, by nature, a female as my sick psychopath boyfriend mentioned earler. Deadgirl is one of my favorite movies that I've seen this year. At no point during the movie or at the end did I feel that rape even had anything to do with the movie. For me, yes it was completely disturbing to watch the boys even touch her body through the plastic. Seeing how they tormented, used, abused and exploited the deadgirl disturbed me to the point I had to look away during some parts. The movie was more about a fucked up situation and the decisions that are made by different people caught up in the situation. I agree with Planet of Terror's opinion on it being a commentary on todays youth, but I believe it is a commentary on people in general, the decisions we make and why we make them. Brian, don't see why you're getting so hung up on the rape topic but while we're on it, are you saying there shouldn't be movies about rape? or child molestation? These are things that happen everyday in the fucked up society that we live in. Its important that these things are made common knowledge and that people's opnions, ideas and views are articulated and discussed. If you think there shouldn't be movies about rape (again not that I think Deadgirl is a movie that is about or condones rape) then maybe you should stick to disney movies that dont deal with real life situations.

Also here is a little interview with Deadgirl directors:
http://threeimaginarygirls.com/features/2009may/imaginaryinterview2directors1deadgirl

quote "Right, you didn’t make the movie thinking that you’re going to intentionally cause harm to women that are feeling upset about it.

Marcel: I would say, actually – and this is just a generalization: Generally, women don’t have any problem with our movie. The people that have a problem with it are generally young guys. It’s very interesting, because everything that’s being spewed back at us about how women are going to hate us, and what’s wrong with us? It says a lot more about them and their inner reactions about women and sexuality".

Sauceman said...

With a name like Brian Chinchilla...does that mean he condones killing poor little mammals for their pelts?

Brian Churilla said...

I'm not at all saying rape shouldn't be in movies, or that there isn't a place for it. What I had a problem with was that rape was used as a motif (which was not the case in "House" or "Spit" or "Blue Velvet" which conveyed the real motivation/reason behind rape: power), it wasn't a centerpiece that an entire movie seemed built upon. As far as the decisions of the characters are concerned, or the sentiment that it was a statement about youth, I found it hard to suspend disbelief that even with a such a broad cross section demographics presented in the characters, none of them had a real problem with what was happening, as they all eventually participated. Deadgirl seemed to glorify rape, especially in the final scene. There y'be, that's enough out of me.

Johnny said...

Well i'm glad you voiced your opinion because i'm always up for a good discussion. Hope ya keep reading and commenting on the blog.

Emily said...

Note how unerotic the "rape" scenes are. They're shot from behind in a very matter-of-fact style with no swelling musical cues or camera edits over the Deadgirl's body. In no way was this film meant to make rape look sexy.

Also, "rape is about power." Is that the universal motivation? Do you believe date rape is 100% of the time about a man wanting to assert himself over a woman, and never about his own sexual impulse?

And anyway, a good deal of what and why JT commits those actions is because it's his only place to wield power. Think of his conversation with Rickie about how he's going to end up in jail for a few years then working some deadend job and divorced. In that asylum, he's a king, and it's a feeling he's never had--and probably never will again. In many ways, it reminds me of the "lead rapist" in I Spit On Your Grave during his bathtub conversation with Jennifer. These are 17 year old outcasts who are too old to enjoy the little pleasures of childhood but don't have any of the ability to grow up. (think of Rickie's conversation with his mom's boyfriend: "I wish I was 15 again./I'm 17./Yeah, I wish I was 15." Rickie lusts after his childhood crush, not really understanding what 'love' means.

SPOILER:

Getting her in the end isn't supposed to make the audience feel good. If you were cheering at her tied arms, then that's kind of your own problem. Not every main character is a hero. Rickie was previously disgusted by his friends' behavior, but he was also too weak to actually do anything about it. He makes a choice, albeit a wrong one in the end.

Chris Hallock said...

Some great discourse here! It's astounding the number of female friends I have who love Deadgirl, and male friends who just couldn't stomach it.

I'm always in internal conflict about depictions of rape in films. I, like Johnny, am a big fan of Irreversible, Last House on the Left, etc. I guess what it boils down to is that when I feel some sort of enjoyment (instead or repulsion and anger) out of a rape scene, I'll start to wonder about myself.

Johnny said...

Amen, Emily. Totally agree with just about everything you just said.

Chris - Let's hope you never get any sort of enjoyment out of a rape scene, lol. But ya it is funny how men seem to be more bothered by this stuff than women.

By the way, I love when a horror movie divides people and gets serious discussion going like this. Doesn't happen often!

EyeloveMetal said...

Oh shit! A movie about a dead-girl being raped! I condone that! Will you get me a copy, Pronto?!

;)

Just wanted to throw some fuel on the fire that is the discussion that has really made me curious to see this movie, that and the reference to Let the Right One In!

B-Movie Becky said...

Deadgirl made me feel dead inside. :(

GabbyLowe said...

My little cousin Andrew DiPalma plays Johnny in this film. I've been waiting for two years for it to come out on DVD and still haven't gotten my hands on a copy. But I'm so happy its gotten so many great reviews. I know my cousin had a great time shooting it.