After a horrible boating accident kills her family, Angela Baker (Felissa Rose), a shy and traumatised young girl, moves in with her eccentric Aunt Martha (Desiree Gould), alongside her protective cousin Ricky (Jonathan Tiersten).
One summer, Martha sends the kids to Camp Arawak where Angela is subject to multiple accounts of bullying and trauma from counsellors, other campers and even a pedophiliac chef.
Soon, everyone who torments Angela begins to die . . .
A lot of the acting is forced or just bad, some scenes are bizarre, and some dialogue is questionable, but the incredible twist ending gave it gravitas that more generic slashers didn’t have.
A flashback shows Aunt Martha welcoming the survivor of the boat accident into her home. It is revealed that Angela died in the accident, Aunt Martha took custody of Peter, and she raised him as a girl.
The film received positive reviews upon its original release and was even the top-grossing film in New York on its opening weekend. A 1988 sequel, Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers saw Bruce Springsteen‘s sister Pamela replace Felissa Rose as Angela.
This was the final film role of Mike Kellin (Mel). He died from lung cancer three months before the film’s release.
Tom Van Dell
Aunt Martha Thomas
Robert Earl Jones
Colette Lee Corcoran