By the late 80's, the slasher sub genre had pretty much all but dried up, but then again, you probably didn't need me to tell you this. The fields were so much in need of water, somehow, Cheerleader Camp AKA Bloody Pom Poms (a far superior title in my opinion) even managed to slip by me. I remember the cover art, and seeing the title in video stores, but for some reason, I never rented it (or I rented it and blocked it out of my memory some how). Now I come to find that Cheerleader Camp has a fairly large cult following (or so I am led to believe), therefore I'd imagine that this new DVD courtesy of Anchor Bay is just flying off of store shelves, right? Well, anyway, if I learned one thing and one thing only from watching Cheerleader Camp, it's that beer and cheese curls do not make for a winning combination. I'm still paying for that mistake this morning.
Ragging on a mediocre slasher flick is like shooting fish in a barrel; what the hell's the point? I have a soft spot in my heart for some of the most worthless, time wasting slasher flicks ever committed to film (as do many others). With the exception of a few, most are of piss poor quality...so why the hell do we watch them? For tits and gore my friends, for tits and gore. Maybe hey're so bad they're good that we can laugh at them, we love creative gory onscreen murders and buckets of blood, and we love tits in between (or during) each creative murder set piece - plain and simple. We watch these films when we're with our friends getting drunk or high, they go well with pizza and beer (NOT cheese curls), and they promote in depth discussion afterwards (well, two out of three ain't bad). So, if you despise this type of disposable entertainment from the get go, or have no interest in a gore/tits, pizza/beer type extravaganza, then I'd say that you've about read enough for one day, so go take a nap. Otherwise, read on, and see where this humble reviewer feels that Cheerleader Camp stands amongst other films of the ilk.
This is gonna be the most care free plot synopsis I've ever written. So anyway, there's this group of cheerleaders, mostly female and two males. They hop in a car and head to some sort of 'cheerleader competition' at Camp Hurrah (ya, you can't make this shit up). So anyways, one of the guys is played by 70's teen idol Leif Garrett and the other guy is 'the fat one.' Moving along, one of the girl's is sorta established as the focus, name's aren't really important here, so we'll just call her 'that girl.' So...that girl has some of the most disturbing, inappropriate nightmares I've seen in any film. If I didn't know any better (which I don't) I'd think they were just included to pad out the films' run time. One day, that girl finds one of the other cheerleader's dead, an apparent suicide. No big deal, so they all go sunbathing and swimming. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing mind you, but this certainly is. So anyways, there's a lot of cheerleading practice (they need all the practice they can get), a really bad onscreen rap (that even rivals the classic bad rap "Top That" of Teen Witch), some sort of a dance, and eventually a cheerleading competition. All the while a couple of cheerleaders are knocked off in gruesome fashion, while that girl does what she does best...wanders around looking shocked and frightened.
That's pretty much it, and I sure as hell am not knocking the flick because of it's wafer thin story, bad acting, or horrible white boy rap...that would be just plain cruel. We're judging this flick solely on a scale of tits and gore remember? This is where my primary problem lies with the film, there aren't enough tits OR gore! BUT, to be fair (and if there's one thing we are around here, it's fair), what we ARE given, is actually pretty impressive. Two young ladies momentarily take their bathing suit tops off, and they are looking mighty swelled, errrr, I mean swell. Then there are the kills - there's a great garden shear through the head bit, a pretty nifty after the fact disembowelment and a razor sharp pom pom attack, unfortunately, that's about it. There are a few other murders/deaths, but nothing else really worth mentioning here. So I guess it's a case of quality over quantity then, right? Well, almost. There's still not nearly enough here to fill up a films' 90 minute running time, so things do tend to get a bit tedious. That being said, there's something to be gained from the bad cheers, white boy rap, mascot competition, and countless scenes of Leif Garrett running around in a male cheerleader outfit, good times(?) take it for what it's worth.
Video quality is pretty damn impressive, with an overall sharp and colorful anamorphic image and really no evidence of print damage. The mono audio sounds fine, if not a bit flat and slightly muffled in spots. Extras include a few trailers, alternate title sequence (just swap out the Cheerleader Camp title card for Bloody Pom Poms), two brief still galleries, and an audio commentary with Producer/Director John Quinn and Producer Jeff Prettyman. In the end, what we're left with is what we began with. A mediocre slasher flick that relies heavily on self parody, cause that's all it's got. You get a few doses of exploitation, and lots of laughable cinematic happenings in between. You really can do better for a pizza and beer movie, but you could also do a hell of a lot worse (especially when you consider the discs low MSRP). So take it with a grain of salt and make your purchase decision wisely.