Friday, February 24, 2017

Felissa Rose Week: Camp Dread

Welcome back for Day 4 of the Week starring the lovely and talented Felissa Rose.  Now this time around it is going to sound like a complaint when in fact, it is merely an observation. We all know that the Hollywood remake, re-imagining and reboots are a happening and a lot of folks want you to notice it primarily around dramas, comedies and westerns. That being said, horror gets this so often that it is a bit exhausting. Today's film revolves around the reality show slasher event or "The Real Survivor" if you will. This time though, it's kind of clever. This is Camp Dread.

Sir, what does, "Lambs to the slaughter," mean?

Yeah I know the title just screams Friday the 13th or Sleepaway Camp but bear with me. Director/writer B. Harrison Smith (Camp Dread, ZK: Elephant's Graveyard, 360 Degrees of Hell, Garlic & Gunpowder and Death House) tells the sordid tale of down and out B-movie director/writer Julian Barrett (Eric Roberts of Star 80, The Pope of Greenwich Village, Best of the Best, The Specialist, The Immortals, Doctor Who, Justice League and Wolves of Wall Street) is clawing his way back to main stream after a stint in the 80s with his Summer Camp horror trilogy's money finally ran out. My guess cocaine, Ferrari and possible a couple of divorces but this is all theory.  To recapture that glory, Barrett plans to a reality TV show starring a bunch of misfits entitled rich kids that are in need of rehab or honestly some jail time.

From this day forth, refer to me as "The Master".

Local sheriff Donlyn (Danielle Harris of Halloween 4: Return of Michael Myers, Halloween 5: Revenge of Michael Myers, The Last Boy Scout, The Wild Thornberrys, Father of the Pride, Halloween, Halloween II, Fear Clinic, Hatchet II, Stake Land, Hallow's Eve and See No Evil 2) takes her late father's position as much as she can seeing the hell that man had dying of cancer. Keeping the peace but not ruffling feathers with Barrett, she just wants to be kept in the loop. To help wrangle the kids' shenanigans to minimum, Barrett suckers two former co-stars of Summer Camp, scream queen turned therapist Rachel (Felissa Rose of Sleepaway Camp, The Night We Never Met, Nikos the Impaler, Horror, Zombiegeddon, Dead Serious, Satan's Playground, Dead and Gone, Psycho Sleepover, Return to Sleepaway Camp and Dahmer vs. Gacy) and John Hill (Brian Gallagher of Who is Jose Luck?, Kodachrome, Close-Up, Time, Miss December, Carl, 6 Degrees of Hell, Nobody Gets Out Alive, Grand Theft Auto V and ZK: Elephant's Graveyard) to run these kids through a series of slasher attacks they have to avoid and the last one left standing gets a million greenbacks. Sweet deal, right?

Off camera, Eric Roberts is mooning her.

But what if even the reality TV show is a hoax as well and Barrett is using the footage to make another Summer Camp sequel without the kids' knowledge? To be honest, most of the characters should be bound to boards, give shallow cuts to bleed out and be dropped by a helicopter into shark infested waters but that is also the one-dimensional creation of them. In fact, the only one of them Novak (Joe Raffa of The Play-Station Killed the Puppet, Close-Up, 6 Degrees of Hell, Socia Media Misfits, Camp Dread, ZK: Elephant's Graveyard and Booted) has any real molding and Raffa runs with it.  Aside from Roberts, Harris and Rose I found the younger cast a little hard to take in.

Will the kids die out one by one? Will Felissa pick up an ax and deal with the killer? Will Danielle Harris give the killer the Hatchet treatment?

A lot of nods to at least 3 different slasher films that really brought the duplicates to light in the 1980s as we have Felissa Rose (Angela of Sleepaway Camp) in the Summer Camp series, Gallagher's character name is John Hill a hybrid of Halloween's writer/director/composurer John Carpenter and producer Debra Hill and the oh so subtle naming of Adrienne reference to Adrienne King who played Alice in Friday the 13th. Bottom line? Not a bad flick. Decent gore gags, the pacing is smooth and not rushed but with the current stream of horror you really don't feel bad for the characters getting gacked. Oh no, the horrid bitch of the group tragic. 

 Eric Roberts seems a bit detached from this role but still gives a good performance and I love how Felissa is perky and cheery. That cracked me up. A decent cast, a few twists and admittedly a few tropes of rattling doorknobs and snapping sticks out in the woods but those are camper slasher needs dammit. At the end of it, you have a good product using some 80s cliches trying to give that throwback feel but at the same time attempting to be its own.

Can' out!!!