Sleepaway Camp IV, The Survivor
Dir: Jim Markovic
Cert:18 • USA: 70 min • Retro Slashers • March 23, 2012
Filming began for Sleepaway Camp IV in 1992 but the production was scrapped after only 30 minutes of useable footage was shot. This is sort of like Chinese Democracy for serious splatter buffs, some of the raw production footage was released as a limited bonus DVD with the Sleepaway Camp box set. The internet has overflowed with rumours for a decade and a half as to whether a completed film would ever see the light of day or if this would just be a remnant, a half-rotting corpse left to linger in the dark like one of the many victims of the camp killer, Angela Baker?
After years of rumours and half-truths, the completed film has indeed been released on DVD through Retro Slashers, constructed from archived footage from previous Sleepaway Camp films and raw production footage from the original shoot of Sleepaway Camp IV: The Survivor. This project was headed by Jim Markovic (the original director) and John Klyza (webmaster of Sleepaway Camp Films) as they tried to put together a film as close to Markovic’s vision as possible.
So how does it come off? Well that’s a matter of how you look at it, of course this version isn’t what was originally intended since filming of the film shut down in 1992 when the production company went bust. So as far as new footage, there’s only about fifteen to twenty minutes of good footage to work with.
They fill in the gaps by presenting this as a “flashback” film. Allison (Carrie Chambers) is the lone survivor of Angela’s rampages and she takes us through the gruesome carnage from the previous films as campers are hacked, sliced, beheaded and massacred in many bizarre ways. She narrates over much of the archive footage, putting it into the context of this film.
The film’s highlight comes towards the end where we are treated to new complete footage; Allison confronts a park ranger who tries to rape her and is saved by a kind hunter in the woods. It doesn’t sound like much, but constructed the way it is, it’s definitely a treat to watch.
The archived footage used in the film seems to come from the original prints as opposed to the restored footage on the Anchor Bay DVD releases of the first three films. This may irritate some people since the footage is a lot grainier, but I think it adds a great effect to this movie, a certain grindhouse grittiness to it.
This isn’t a film for casual horror fans; this is directed towards slasher devotees. If you’re amongst them, you will enjoy this chance to see the completed version of Sleepaway Camp IV: The Survivor. If you’re a casual horror fan, just go rent the last Saw movie.