Oh sweet sweet nights of sitting down with dad in the living room watching stupid movies. Most importantly, in the crispness of fall on a rainy night, let’s cozy up with a blanket and some popcorn to watch the best but worst horror movies we can think of. I still long for these days. Now I mostly partake in this chaos on my own. Netflix and other streaming services have made it practically 2nd nature to stream the most redundant material known to man. I’m okay with that as long as we keep the scantily clad female villains gone super-psycho horror killers out of it. I mean, some of these movies are border line soft-porn.
My mother scorns my father for repeatedly watching these awful movies. I’ve bowed my head in shame afraid to admit this guilty pleasure out loud in her presence. But I love B-horror movies. I could watch them all day, everyday. Friends will say it has lowered my standards in movies. I get around to watching blockbusters every now and again. But nothing compares to the worst acting and horrifically funny deaths that these characters endure.
B-horror movies are screenwriting simplified to “What I learned in boating school is…” It is a very simple pattern to follow. That may seem dull, but what keeps it alive are the different scenarios and monsters that its backwards and twisted writers come out with. And to be perfectly honest, whether they are right to TV or a streaming service, they’re being produced in the masses and coming at you sooner than the next Hellraiser (please no more). There’s no doubt that these guys are making money here and there. It’s better than your side hustle.
I’ll defend my hidden passion until the day that I die. If anything, it’s the certain aspects of these movies that have made them more enjoyable to watch while throwing in the dice to see how it all plays out.
They’re quiet or just too smart for their own good. Usually, they’re also just lucky. But if it is anything that sets them apart the most, it’s that they have good morals compared to their peers. They may come across as prudent or homely looking compared to their fully, albeit, way sexually developed best friend. They’re sitting inside on a Friday night studying for a test instead of drinking on the beach and having lots of teenage premarital sex. It’s common for them to be strong until the end.
2. The couple that needs to get a room already
Speaking of premarital teenage sex, usually the kind that Jason Voorhees hates, there’s always that one couple that makes you gag. There’s not much to really criticize, but this is used most commonly as a way to indicate low-morals in a character. This was a particularly huge theme pre-2000’s horror movies . Often times, this works against them heavily.
3. The antagonist has been wronged somehow
Whether they were thrown in a lake or bullied in high school, something usually contributed to the antagonists downfall into…well… the antagonist. This isn’t true in every horror movie nowadays which actually makes them all the more interesting. If a B-horror film can work with the later, I’m usually pretty sucked in.
A movie that does that very well in my opinion? Sleepaway Camp. It’s by far the most ridiculous movie I have ever seen. Yet, the characters that come from it are just as iconic as the situation.
Sleepaway Camp is a film series that first debuted in 1983. It centered around a girl named Angela Baker who lost her father and twin in a boating accident. After that tragic ordeal, Angela was taken in by her aunt Martha, a doctor, and raised along side her cousin Ricky. Aunt Martha decides to send the kids away to Camp Arawak for the summer. Ricky adjusts quite well but Angela is relentlessly bullied by the other kids.
While away at camp, people begin to die in very gruesome fashions at the hands of an unknown killer. No one knows what’s going on until one day, Angela snaps and shows her true identity. It is revealed that Angela had been committing the murders. If that was too obvious, it turns out that Angela is actually a boy. In the boating accident, her (his…?) twin sister, Angela, was the one that died. So this “Angela” is actually Peter Baker, Angela’s brother. Are you confused yet? When Aunt Martha adopted Peter after the accident, she decided to raise Peter as his dead twin sister in order to fill her void of never having had a daughter of her own. This explains very much why she’s described as a “disturbed divorcee” on her Fandom page.
The movie ends with Angela…well Peter standing with a knife, naked as he looks around with his genitals showing. Mouth wide open might I add. And I for one will admit, I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or be shocked. For a B-horror film, this was a good twist that not even I saw coming. That image of Angela launched the film franchise into cult classic status.
Pamela Springsteen reprised the role of Angela in the 1988 sequel Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers. She came back as a secretly vengeful camp counselor that picked off the kiddies one by one. To her bosses dismay, she had just “sent them home”. But she actually gave them a Friday the 13th send off, which the movie alluded to frequently. The film ends with Angela running mowing down her last helpless victim on a dark country road.
In the third installment, Angela is back as a camper. The police are on to her after she had already killed the chief’s son in the previous film. With even more Friday the 13th tributes, this film felt more like a parody than anything else. However, this was also the last time we were to ever see Springsteen as Angela again.
She did a remarkable job, even for a B-movie. The movies that preceded afterwards didn’t have the same campy vibe. More sex, even more bad acting that didn’t even make the film entertaining. Instead it was a cheap soft-porno that kinda just makes you wanna flip off the TV and wonder why you even bothered flipping to whatever deep dark channel you landed on.
And whether it was an earlier form of a horror spoof much like Scary Movie, it doesn’t fail to appeal to the B-horror movie genre. It was gruesome, had a story line that was half way decent and it stuck to what it knew. And what it knew was Angela Baker and campers.