Everybody's favorite homicidal transsexual is back for yet another installment in the Sleepaway Camp saga. Technically the last in the series (for now) Teenage Wasteland runs a bit flat in comparison to its predecessors. This isn't to say that it's not without its charms as Teenage Wasteland can still make for an interesting evening of cinematic nonsense. Anchor Bay strikes again, and it goes without saying, I'm sure as hell glad that they did. OK campers, follow me.
The now defunct Camp Rolling Hills (remember all those murders?) has been renamed Camp New Horizons. A so-called "experiment" in caring and sharing Camp Rolling Hills provides the viewer with quite an eclectic bunch of stereotypes. A group of kids from the wrong side of the tracks meet up with a bunch of "richies" as they try to sort out their differences at summer camp. We've got your typical inner city gang member (he's the one with the bandanna around his neck), your classic southern belle (who happens to be a racist and looks damn fine in her bra and panties as well) and the misunderstood minority kid who falls in love with the "good girl" (played by Tracy Griffith, Melanie's sister). Angela Baker (Pam Springstein, once again Bruce's sister) slips in the mix as she masquerades as one of the teenager campers (yeah right, we know these people are in their twenties). Needless to say but Angela is up to her old tricks again and chances are that if you're bad, you'll wind up dead. This time around the onscreen carnage is not quite as intense, but most of the kills are still pretty damn creative (except for the multiple victims that just get whacked with a stick ::yawn::). This time around Angela crams firecrackers up noses, drops her victim from a flagpole and runs over a head with a lawnmower. I'll be dammned if there isn't a murder every 7 minutes, everyone must die!
Although Sleepaway Camp 3 appears to be the most polished of the series, it also happens to be my least favorite. Unfortunately, some of the humor carried over from the second film starts to wear thin after a while. Speaking of thin, these "characters" have even less substance than those from Part 2 (if you can believe that). Not that I was looking for character developent that could change the world, it's just that after a while it's a little bit of "been there done that". Don't get me wrong, Teenage Wasteland can still be a blast, however, for those less familiar with the series, Part 2 may actually be the end of the line. In the context of the boxset, all three films are essential viewing, but for one night of cinematic pleasure, Part 2 can be a much more satisfying experience for the casual viewer.
Now on to the good stuff. Yes indeed, Teenage Wasteland is chock full of gratuitous T&A and mindless (not to mention senseless) violence. Although a lot of the gore had at one time wound up on the cutting room floor (damn you MPAA!) it has been gloriously restored in the extras section of this fine DVD (more on this in a bit). Those looking for a good ole' fashioned 80's gore and breast fest have come to the right place, so dig in!
Shot back to back with Sleepaway Camp 2, it's a real wonder as to why this film actually looks better than the second one on DVD. Not that the second film looks bad mind you, but there is much less grain present here, and colors seem a bit richer. As with the second film in the series, there are minimal amounts of print damage, this is a really clean transfer. Framing looks comfortable, and colors are quite sharp and vibrant. This is a really pleasing transfer and another huge success for Anchor Bay. The respect they have shown these films is pretty phenominal and is a true testament to their dedication to the fans.
Audio is presented in a clear mono mix. Nothing outstanding here, but dialogue is clear and there is really no distortion to speak of.
Once again, Anchor Bay has not skimped on the extras. There's a brief behind the secenes segment narrarted by Director Michael Simpson that details the shooting of the opening scene. Next up is a 20 minute reel of extended gore scenes. This is basically an extended version of just about every major kill in the film. There is definitely "more gore" present here. It's amazing what was cut out presumably to achieve an "R" rating, so fans should be very pleased with this footage. Next up is a theatrical trailer (which is more like a promo for video stores) and 3 still galleries. Finally there's a feature length audio commentary with writer Fritz Gordon and Director Michael Simpson moderated by John Klyza (curator of a Sleepaway Camp fan site). The commentary is mildly entertaining as with the commentary from part 2. Nothing outstanding here folks, but definitely worth a listen for fans of the series.
I guess it goes without saying, fans of the Sleepaway Camp series will be ultimately pleased with the way Anchor Bay has handled the premier of the series on DVD. While part 3 lacks some of the charm and comedic wit of the second film, I'm sure fans will want to grab these quick. The Sleepaway Camp Survival Kit (all three films in the series) is a must have, Angela says so!