One of the most charm­ing things about Scream Factory is their gen­uine fond­ness towards the red-head­ed stepchild of the hor­ror gen­re, the slash­er film.  They always find room in their release slate to do high-def workups of titles like The Burning or Slumber Party Massacre.  They recent­ly turned their atten­tion to one of this subgenre’s biggest cult favorites with a blu-ray/DVD com­bo release of Sleepaway Camp — and the results are as lov­ing­ly real­ized as a slash­er addict could hope for.

SleepCamp-bluThings start nice­ly with an excel­lent new 2K trans­fer of the film that is includ­ed on both discs in the set.  The blu-ray was viewed for this review and the results are impres­sive, offer­ing a nice­ly-detailed and col­or­ful image that blows away past DVD ver­sions of the film.  Fans will be hap­py to note that this is the uncut ver­sion of the film and thus includes the sce­nes that were snipped on the old Anchor Bay DVD.  The audio por­tion of the trans­fer uti­lizes the film’s orig­i­nal mono mix, pre­sent­ed in a loss­less for­mat on the blu-ray, and it offers a crisp sound­track with no dis­tor­tion or mix issues.

Scream Factory has also packed this release to the rafters with spe­cial fea­tures.  The first pairs stars Felissa Rose and Jonathan Tiersten, along with mod­er­a­tor Justin Beahm.  It’s an easy lis­ten as Rose and Tiersten have a fun­ny, teas­ing inter­play.  Beahm pipes in with the occa­sion­al ques­tion but it’s bare­ly need­ed as the two main par­tic­i­pants have plen­ty to say.  Rose has vivid mem­o­ries of most of her cast­mates and both she and Tiersten have inter­est­ing the­o­ries about the mys­ter­ies inher­ent to the plot.  The track is also laced with funs bits of triv­ia, like how the film’s cam­era crew had just worked on Creepshow.

SleepCamp-05The sec­ond track pairs writer/director Robert Hiltzik with moderator/Sleepaway Camp super­fan Jeff Hayes.  Hiltzik enjoys act­ing cryp­tic when asked about effects or the mys­ter­ies of the film’s sto­ry, a schtick that gets a lit­tle tire­some as the track pro­gress­es, but Hayes is able to fill the gap with plen­ty of triv­ia about the film.  Here and there, Hiltzik opens up and offers a few inter­est­ing thoughts about moti­vat­ing the killings in the plot and the social dar­win­ism inher­ent to sum­mer camps.  The third track orig­i­nat­ed with the old Anchor Bay release and fea­tures Rose, Hiltzik and Hayes.  Rose is the star here, fuel­ing the track with enthu­si­asm and nos­tal­gic mem­o­ries.

SleepCamp-vhs-aThe cen­ter­piece of the extras is a 45-min­ute ret­ro­spec­tive piece on the film’s lega­cy, helmed by Beahm.  It’s an expan­sive yet tight­ly-paced fea­turet­te that cov­ers the film from pre­pro­duc­tion through release and all the way up to its cult rep­u­ta­tion today.  Rose, Tiersten and Hiltzik all appears as well as a vari­ety of oth­er cast mem­bers and even FX man Ed French.

This piece is a fast-mov­ing delight for ‘80s hor­ror buffs because all the par­tic­i­pants seems grate­ful for the film’s cult fame and tell their tales in a wit­ty, fun-lov­ing style.  Highlights include get­ting to meet Desiree Gould (the actress behind Aunt Martha), hear­ing French explain how effects like the amaz­ing “Angela mask” were achieved and Rose and Tiersten’s wry account of the ups and downs of their on-set romance.  Rose is the unde­ni­able star of the show, light­ing up the pro­ceed­ings with her enthu­si­asm and even hav­ing some unex­pect­ed­ly touch­ing final words.  This seg­ment is a win­ner for fans of the film and any­onSleepCamp-06e into ‘80s hor­ror in gen­er­al.

Also includ­ed is Judy, a 16 min­ute video short made by Hayes.  It revives the tit­u­lar char­ac­ter from Sleepaway Camp, turn­ing her into a curling iron-wield­ing seri­al killer with a social con­science.  It’s pret­ty rough in terms of tech­nique and act­ing but fans of ‘80s hor­ror will appre­ci­ate its Troma-style exces­sive gore and the return of Karen Fields as this fan-favorite char­ac­ter.   Another sur­prise video inclu­sion is a music video for a song by Tiersten.  Entitled “Princess,” it’s a moody slab of alt-rock bal­ladry that illus­trates the ex-actor’s present day pas­sion.

SleepCamp-vhs-bNext up is a pair of image gal­leries.  The Camp Arawak Scrapbook is drawn from Rose’s col­lec­tion, offer­ing around sev­en­ty pho­tos’ worth of on-the-set snaps that show Rose hav­ing the time of her ear­ly-teen life palling around with the cast and crew.  Shorter but still fair­ly impres­sive is a brief gallery of dia­grams and pho­tos from French’s col­lec­tion that show how the film’s make­up effects high­lights were designed and enact­ed.

Elsewhere, there is a reel of trail­ers that offer one the­atri­cal spot and two t.v. spots.  All three are effec­tive yet gener­ic ads that sell the film’s slash­er ele­ment with­out giv­ing any indi­ca­tion of how off­beat the film actu­al­ly is.  The most unusu­al inclu­sion amongst the extras is a 9-min­ute piece on the scan­ning process used to cre­ate the trans­fer for this set.  It fea­tures a tech­ni­cian from Technicolor run­ning the view­er through the all the specifics of how a trans­fer is done, demon­strat­ing as he actu­al­ly trans­fers the first reel from the film’s cut neg­a­tive.  It’s a nice inclu­sion for fans who are curi­ous about how trans­fers are done.

All in all, Scream Factory has done very well by Sleepaway Camp.  Fans will enjoy the trans­fer and the wealth of infor­ma­tion while new view­ers will find this an ide­al way to get acquaint­ed with this off­beat gem.

To read Schlockmania’s film review of Sleepaway Camp, click here.