Matchup of the Day: Sleepaway Camp vs. April Fool’s Day
For April Fool’s Day, we have a couple horror films where things aren’t quite as they seem… Sleepaway Camp vs. April Fool’s Day.
Both of these are well-known, at least in horror movie circles, for their twist endings. If you really want to mess with someone, it would be best to show them as a double feature with April Fool’s Day as the opener. By comparison, Sleepaway Camp a far greater WTF?! experience. April Fool’s Day is just a warm up. In the film, group of privileged college students go to stay at their friend Muffy’s mansion. Muffy has each of their rooms rigged with various pranks in celebration for the holiday of the title. They goof around and hook up for a while, until one of them turns up dead. Before long the bodies start to pile up and Muffy’s behavior takes a turn toward the weird side. Day has the appearance of a slasher flick, but it’s more like a “whodunit”. I saw it on cable as a kid a bunch of times. After rewatching it, I was surprised at the lack of gore and actual slashing. Still, it has a cult following, and is fondly remembered thirty years after its release.
In a Dissolve article, Scott Tobias writes of Sleepaway Camp
“There are great films and then there are magical films, glorious oddities that pop up sui generis out of nowhere. Sleepaway Camp falls squarely into the latter category.
I had to look up sui generis, which is Latin for “in a class of it’s own”. Camp comes across as a slightly off-kilter slasher initially. There are some gruesome deaths, though nothing particularly noteworthy. What makes Camp legendary is the Angela character. The majority of the time she just sits off in the corner and creepily stares at anyone who tries to talk to her, until one of the nicer boys at the camp gets her to open up. She seems normal for a few precious scenes. Then the sh*t hits the fan. Horror Movie Reviews describes the ending as
“a devastating assault on the nerves, believability, and good taste. Even if you figure out how the movie’s going to end, you won’t be prepared… The gross-out has never been done better.”
It’s a great April Fool’s trick to play on an unsuspecting movie watcher. Particularly after the inoffensive twist in April Fool’s Day.