Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers
When you go camping just take the essentials.
Year of Release: 1988
Running Time: 80 minutes (1:20)
Director: Michael A. Simpson
Pamela Springsteen ... Angela
Renee Estevez ... Molly
Tony Higgins ... Sean
Valerie Hartman ... Ally
Brian Patrick Clarke ... T.C.
Walter Gotell ... Uncle John
Susan Marie Snyder ... Mare
Terry Hobbs ... Rob
Kendall Bean ... Demi
Julie Murphy ... Lea
Welcome to Camp Rolling Hills. Meet your camp counselor, Angela. She's the kind of counselor who enjoys camp songs, nature walks, board games and murder. In fact, she does wonders with a chain saw and drill press.
It all started six years ago at a nearby camp. Apparently, a shy 14-year-old boy went berserk and committed several grisly murders. Could it be that the unhappy camper has returned as counselor Angela?
The boys and girls at Camp Rolling Hills are about to find out. But, as each rowdy camper discovers Angela's secret, they're immediately sent home, in a bag. Until only one camper is left. It's the classic battle between camper and counselor.
Sleepaway Camp 2. Sign up and become a dismember.
Sleepaway Camp II, remindin' us that there's no such thing as a singing talent gene.
And speakin' of cruel quirks of nature, I think I finally figured out what's been preventin' me from reachin' my maximum potential as a human bein' - I'm just too dang nice. That, and havin' been born with the work ethic of a two-toed sloth with chronic depression, but mostly the niceness thing.
I got to thinkin' about this after Billy Hilliard and I went lure scroungin' out at Lake Gunkamucka on account of the water bein' low enough to crappie fish with a BBQ fork. Not only is it an effective way to beat the heat, but a guy can collect $80 - $90 wortha Rooster Tails and Panther Martins just goin' from stump to stump detachin' the snags of yesteryear, and if you're lucky you might even be able to scalp somethin' of sentimental value back to its original owner at a yard sale.
Anyway, things really got interestin' when we came across the remnants of Cleave Furguson's Glastron that was lost and presumed icky after our final run-in with ole Crudfin, and decided to winch it outta there and return it even though the rear end got blown off with a stick of dynamite in the scuffle. Cleave's been in a lousy mood ever since that whole porcupine/air mattress incident a coupla weeks ago, but for all the folks who've been askin' about 'im - his condition has improved greatly over the last few days; apparently he's only sobbin' like a little girl when he sits down now. But I'm gettin' off track.
So like I was sayin', we winched the boat up outta there and onto the bank with Billy's truck, only before we started headin' for town I'm lookin' down into the crater and notice what looks like an old sun-bleached fishin' rod. Lost lures're one thing, but a guy can bilk a small fortune out of a lonely retiree with a fishin' pole they lost as a kid, so I dive down there after it, riskin' permanent hypohemia from all the leeches that'd been livin' under the boat, and the moment I saw what was *actually* down there I purt'near swiveled my neck around backwards like Linda Blair to avoid the sight.
"Whavuh mahvuh wih you?" Billy asked, presumably noticing my baseline whiteness having paled several additional shades.
"It's the Ghost of Fishmas Past!" I sputtered, pointin' into the water and shakin' like an off-balance washin' machine.
It's times like these when you realize who your true friends are, 'cause Billy didn't hafta spend the next ten minutes stuffin' my face into a filthy muskrat den to get my head screwed back on straight. He coulda just left me there jibberin' like a constipated rhesus monkey till some meth addict found me and took me home to live in a trailer house with 18 of 'er closest friends where the rent's subsidized by a Youtube influencer from Reno in exchange for the streamin' rights to whatever he captures on various strategically placed closed-circuit TV cameras. But he didn't.
"Crudfin! His skeleton's still down there! I guess the boat musta crushed 'im when it sank... we gotta get outta here, man. If his spirit recognizes us he's gonna haunt our bathtubs until we go apeshit like Jack Torrance, don't you get it?! We're talkin' Piscesgeist!" I explained calmly and rationally until it became necessary for Billy to hold my head underwater directly over Crudfin's corpse for a coupla minutes to prove his ghost'd gone to the big Cabela's shop in the sky. I can't remember half of the multiplication tables anymore but I was able to get a grip afterwards, and once I did, I realized what a gold mine we were sittin' on.
"Ya know, Crudfin was the closest thing this town had to a by-God tourist attraction," I mused. "If we were to haul his entire skeleton outta there we could score a serious payday."
"Noboly wanth yeow rah'en fith carcath," Billy replied dismissively.
"You're prolly right. I mean, who could we even sell it to? Schwartzbergs, maybe? They might wanna tack it onto the wall at the Rural Mural," I suggested.
"Pfff. Prowy geh more from Wade thah thoth guys," Billy chuckled.
"Good point. Walleye's Topless Dancin' & Bait Shop could use a non-nippled draw," I agreed. "Aesop Marlin'd prolly put in a bid and claim the whole boat sinkin' story was just a false flag and that he actually caught the 'real' Crudfin with a hook and line," I added.
By then he'd realized what I was doin' and shot me that side-eyed "I'm gonna help you do this, but only 'cause there's nothin' good on TV tonight" look he gets when his morbid curiosity inevitably gets the best of 'im, and a mere two hours later we were on our way to Furry Mountain Stuffing with Crudfin's tomb-raided remains. Cleave was so happy to get the husk of his Glastron back that he helped us reconstruct the skeleton and even milled us a real nice lookin' plaque to secure it to, and from there all we hadda do was let word of our discovery slip to a few notorious local bullshitters.
Turns out Billy was wrong about the Schwartzbergs. They offered twice what Wade Sawyer was willin' to pay, but the most intriguing offer actually came from Skunky Hernandez. Skunky ain't got Schwartzberg money, or Sawyer money, or for that matter money in paper form, but what he does have is the Grime Time, and he offered to amend his will to give Billy and I full ownership of the drive-in and the land it occupies at the time of his death.
"See Crudfin and reel in hees kin!" was the angle Skunky had in mind, intending to increase attendance at the drive-in by bolstering interest in catfishin' at the flicks.
I wanted the deed to the Grime Time more'n Charlie Brown wants to kick that football but Billy wasn't goin' for it, so we decided to hit the Gutter Bowl and work things out over a game of air hockey like civilized people.
"Wha'f he ow' live uth?!" Billy growled, sendin' in the puck off flyin' off the table and rollin' across the floor into the Asteroids cabinet.
"Oh get real, Billy. No healthy man could possibly produce a smell like that!" I persisted.
I'm not proud to admit this, but by that point things were startin' to get heated between us, and pretty quick we were goin' nose to navel and cussin' so loud that the entire alley'd stopped bowlin' to see what was goin' on. Well, nearly the entire alley. And thankfully that happened to be the moment I noticed the one guy who *wasn't* starin' at us 'cause he was too preoccupied with tryna drown his beard fleas in a mug of Pole Cat - Duke Tankersley.
That bottom feedin' menace just about broke Duke's cogitator permanently after he hooked 'im back in the summer of '17 and came close to bein' gummed to death durin' his escape. Poor guy wasn't the same until the followin' year when he finally snapped out of his funk and saved our bacon as Crudfin was about to slurp Billy and me down like jello shots at a Girls Gone Wild tapin', and at that moment I came to an important decision.
"For cripes sake would ya look at us?! Anna Nicole Smith conducted 'erself with more dignity in this situation, and we didn't even hafta boff an octogenarian oil tycoon to get here!" I hollered as much at myself as at Billy before directin' his attention over to where Duke was pitchin' pennies into Buzz McCullough's unattended beer mug.
"You remember 'im sittin' on that same stool? Didn't talk. Didn't move. Eyes like that scary blonde broad who hocks class action lawsuits on Comet," I muttered in my recently rediscovered indoor voice.
"Yeah. Ih wath rough on 'um," Billy agreed.
"Fish belongs to him, really. He's the one that pulled our butts outta the fire and slew the slimy shitter," I conceded.
Billy grudgingly agreed, and so we headed down to the end of the bar where Duke was in the midst of a laughin' fit after bettin' Buzz a buck that Buzz couldn't down his entire beer in one gulp and nearly chokin' the guy to death on a half dozen pennies.
"Duke, we want ya to have Crudfin's corpse," I says.
"Zat so?" Duke gasped, wipin' the tears of hysterical laughter out of his eyes.
"I mean, you're the one that went all on Roy Scheider on 'im. Seems like you might wanna get 'im mounted or somethin'," I suggested.
"Well, I's workin' on gettin' Shirley Gimlin mounted, but somethin' I said musta upset 'er," Duke moped.
"Yeah, I think it was when you asked if she wanted to meet Wolfman Sac," I posited.
"Must be gettin' old. That line never failed in high school. All the same, thanks for the memento fellas. You're alright, even if you do make the entire alley uncomfortable with your fightin' like an old homosexual couple," Duke said as he hoisted his glass to us.
Two days later that crafty skunk sold the damn thing to The Travel Channel and bought the property on Coon Canyon next to his dad's place to consolidate their holdins in case the government ever tries to eminent domain 'em for... whatever it is they think they've got out there that's worth a damn. Duke came strollin' into Mack's Stacks of Manly Snacks last night to show Billy and me these plans he's drawn up for a "cabin" that a normal person'd call a compound, but he's promised to christen two of his new deer blinds with our namesakes in appreciation for his new-found financial situation, so I guess there's no reason to be bitter.
I'da punched that guy right in the nose if the hypertrichosis didn't make it impossible to locate it and he hadn't been carryin' an 8" skinnin' knife on his belt at the time. But what's done is done, and whinin' about it ain't gonna change anything so I'm not gonna bother goin' into the details. 'Sides, you'd be amazed what you can forget when you've got an armload of drive-in corn dogs and a double-digit breast count at your disposal. You've really gotta give the castin' director credit on this one, 'cause they managed to locate what mighta been the only college co-eds in the country who'd rather go to summer camp than get black-out drunk at a frat house and wake up next to some future captain of industry who passed out with his jockey shorts on his head. Consequently, I prolly don't hafta tell you that we're dealin' with a rare opportunity to learn about the summer camp experience as demonstrated by a pack of oversexed, arrested adolescent chunkheads, so I'm gonna make the most of it and tell ya all about what I learned on my summer vacation. First, nothin' gets a woman hot like a candle-lit romp in a public john. Second, once you understand that a single joint is capable of puttin' you down so hard you can't even hear your sister bein' barbecued alive, the D.A.R.E. program finally begins to make sense. And third, "sorry, I'm late" is the last thing you wanna hear from the camp skank.
The movie begins around a campfire where the events of the first film are recapped via the time-tested scary story format, until the Midlife Crisis Society of teenagers with upside-down mortgages segues into a right-wing radio rant decrying the use of taxpayer dollars for gender reassignment surgery for psychiatrically disturbed pubescent serial killers from Brooklyn. Eventually we learn that Angela was released from the Alex Jones Center for Gender Identity Crisis Actors on good behavior with 'er equipment screwed back on in a configuration that more closely approximates 'er thought patterns, at which point Angela emerges from the woods to collect the AWOL counselor (Phoebe) who's abandoned 'er post at the first aid station at the critical midnight hour when kids're most likely to be bitten on the hinder by the fabled outhouse rat due to grogginess. Angela is P.O.'d, and once the chick announces that no job is worth havin' to wear a bonnet over 'er bush to live up to the camp's puritanical expectations Angela has no choice but to bash 'er skull in with a tree branch and cut 'er tongue out for gettin' halfway through George Carlin's list of words you can't say on TV. The next mornin', Commandant Angela awakens the college sophomore campers in her charge at Hell 'o clock in the mornin' and explains that she hadda send Phoebe home for unzippin' 'er tent flaps for half the camp, and that she'd appreciate it if Ally didn't sleep nekkid anymore 'cause the slappin' noise 'er jugs make when she rolls over in the mornin' is disturbin' the sleep habits of the spotted owl.
Then General Gogal from the James Bond movies crowns Angela counselor of the week and she performs the camper's national anthem while everyone sings along with all the poise and dignity you'd expect from the smoking section of a karaoke bar in an Alabama bowling alley. Once that's finished, Renee "Dad said you guys had to let me act, too!" Estevez (Molly) and this chunkhead with a face like a cinderblock (Sean) head down to the pool where Ally tricks some wimp who looks like Rusty Griswold (Rob) into tossin' 'er in the pool so 'er buoys'll cling to 'er shirt. This's supposed to make Sean's eyeballs pop out like he's in a Ren & Stimpy cartoon and convince 'im to stop by 'er bunk after lights out to tap the Rockies, but he's already got a lotta time invested in gettin' Molly to flog 'im, and so Ally gets left holdin' the funbag. The next day Angela catches these two party girls off in the woods gettin' loaded on Maui Wowie and makin' the sign of the bionic pouch porpoise with some Chad in a belly shirt. She then recalls the words of a wise and learned PSA mascot, and upon accepting that only she can prevent whorist fires, Angela dowses the baked bimbi with Mad Dog 20/20 and gives 'em the toasting of a lifetime while observing proper barbecue safety protocols. Later that evenin' the guys launch an undergarment heist on the girls' cabin only to find themselves on the receivin' end of a retaliatory jock robbery hours later, resultin' in half the camp goin' the next week with dangler discomfort due to ill-fitting junk drawers. Mare is then given an ultimatum after whippin' out 'er chest bursters at the exact moment Angela showed up and discovered the underpants shenanigans, and when she refuses to apologize Angela pulls out a Craftsman power drill and tries releasin' all the evil Mardi Gras spirits livin' inside 'er torso.
The next mornin' Angela busts two grade school Gucciones with a collection of jugshots they've accumulated for trips down mammary lane, while two of the guys (Jud and Anthony) plot to avenge themselves against Angela and the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. by scarin' the tar out of 'er with homemade Freddy and Jason costumes. Unfortunately, Angela gets tipped off by T.C. (the head counselor who may or may not be the brother of T.P. from Madman), and she displays her superior genre taste and cosplay skills by sneakin' up on 'em in the woods dressed as Leatherface and givin' away free Poulonoscopy screenins. Meanwhile, Ally and Rob're pokin' in the boys room in accordance with her standard commodus operandi, until Angela finds out and commits aardvarkus interruptus before they can complete the Ally goop. As you can imagine, by the time mornin' rolls around Ally could sell 'er bedsheets at a Japanese auction and use the revenue to retire in Tahiti, and she immediately heads into the woods with Rob to scare the indigenous Morlock population half to death by drivin' permanent buttcheek divots into the topsoil. Only while that's goin' on, Angela sneaks into Ally's room and plants a fake note from Sean offerin' to beat the bush with 'er, and when she shows up at the abandoned shack detailed in the note Angela buries 'er Buck knife in Ally's back and shoves 'er face into the outhouse shitter and goes on an allegorical rant usin' the crapper's contents as a metaphor for her life choices up to this point, before stuffin' 'er down into the bowels of bowel movements past till she drowns like an overweight squirrel in a whiskey still.
Then Angela goes to 'er cabin to play acoustic guitar and practice 'er Cabela meditation until Demi comes in and tells 'er she called Mare's house to see how she was doin' only she never made it home, and that she did the same thing with everybody else who got "sent home" until she ran outta quarters at the payphone. Unfortunately, Demi's so occupied with tryna straighten 'er hair so's to be accepted into polite white society that she don't notice Angela movin' around the room goin' from one impractical murder weapon to the next before finally settlin' on the High E string of 'er guitar and pretty quick Demi chokes under the pressure. By this point Angela's bumped off a little more than she can hide, 'cause while she's tryna stuff Demi out the window Leah comes in and sees what's happenin', forcin' Angela to stab 'er a half dozen times and ditch the bitch before she can snitch. Needless to say, General Gogal is just a little bit P.O.'d about Angela forcin' 'im to issue so many pro-rated refunds to alcoholic suburban housewives strugglin' to hide their affairs with contracted landscapers, and Gogal fires Angela even though all the girls she murdered were collectively buildin' a pretty solid case against the effectiveness of the abstinence only sex education curriculum.
Molly's bummed out, and when she convinces Sean to help 'er try liftin' Angela's spirits they end up goin' inside the shed of the dead where Angela learns the hard way that four scented candles aren't really up to the task of maskin' the odors generated by a dozen dead teenagers. Now Angela hasta beat Sean senseless with a stick while he's tossin' up the bologna burrito he had at breakfast and tie 'em both up next to the bodies of evidence occupyin' all the good seats in the livin' room until T.C. comes along lookin' for his missin' campers and gets a cup fulla car battery acid splashed in his face, ruining his otherwise clear complexion and splitting countless ends of what had previously been an immaculately groomed mullet. Sean finally solves the puzzle and realizes that Angela is the SAME Angela who bushwhacked Camp Arawak a few years back, but even after she insists that the medical experts at the asylum who'd just had their budgets dissolved by the Reagan Administration would never have let 'er out if she wasn't completely cured, Sean smirks the smirk of the vindicated and she hasta chop his head off with a machete for bein' a smart-alecky, know-it-all product of middle-class entitlement. Not that that's gonna solve the unresolved issues of 'er confused upbringing with Aunt Martha, but it does bring momentary satisfaction. There aren't enough shrinks in Beverly Hills to fix Molly at this point, but the next mornin' she's able to get loose while Angela's out pickin' up another party guest, and when Angela comes back inside Molly clobbers 'er with a foreign object and starts runnin' like she was just offered a position on Rudy Giuliani's legal defense team. I realize there're still a few people in this movie that could use killin' that ain't been yet, but that's all you're gonna get outta me. So if you wanna find out if Renee lives to produce still more little Estevi you're just gonna hafta go find the flick on that pitiful Roku thing that takes up space next to your flatscreen TV and doesn't even have the courtesy to display the time. Technological marvels, indeed.
Alrighty, so, I understand that I'm probably not the first guy to ever ask this question, but why is it that when the film market became oversaturated with horror flicks in the late '80s, the general consensus was to keep makin' 'em, but to make 'em campy? I'm not really complainin', but if the box office receipts were down and the tape rentals weren't bringin' in the kinda cash they used to, wouldn't it make more sense to just move away from the genre entirely for a while instead of just continuin' to make the same movies, but with self-deprecating humor? Did the studio executives think people who were tired of horror flicks in general and slashers in specific would come rushing back if the movies didn't take themselves seriously? I mean, ain't that kinda like failin' to make the cheerleading squad and then tryin' out again the following year after you've gained 40lbs and stopped showering? Sleepaway Camp II narrowly avoids becomin' an outright spoof of the genre like many other titles of the late '80s, but it's still far removed from the original in terms of both tone and originality. I suppose you could argue that once the cat was out of the bag (where it concerns the twist ending of the original) it would have been difficult to duplicate its uniqueness, but the franchise really deserved better than devolving into a series of Friday the 13th clones that poke fun at themselves. This silliness is also present with regard to the naming of the film's characters (each was named after a Brat Packer, including Renee Estevez' brothers, Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez), and is also evident in the deeply satisfying death of Ally, whom we've come to loathe by that point for bein' real mean to Renee Estevez.
Somethin' else I don't get is why they didn't just cast all these 20 somethings as counselors instead of campers. It was as if the producers were fine with *everything else* about the movie copying the Friday the 13th formula, but refused to compromise the integrity of their art by acknowledging that their campers were well beyond the age where they could reasonably be expected to attend summer camp. Maybe they were tryin' to tap into that forgotten pedophile demographic, I dunno, but considering that they're all clearly old enough to be counselors to the point that you initially assume they are, it probably woulda been smarter to cast them as such. It's interesting to note that, as a trilogy, Sleepaway Camp mirrors the Evil Dead series in that the first entry is serious in tone, while the second moves sharply into horror/comedy territory. Admittedly, Sleepaway Camp III was released a few years before Army of Darkness, but they both moved their respective series even farther into the comedic zone to the point that they're almost straight comedies, and given the closeness of release dates for each trilogy entry ('81 and '83, '87 and '88, and '89 and '92), it shows a clear trend for the genre as a whole, so much so that you can often guess a movie's release date to within a few years based upon the amount of comedy it has. Maybe that's why Sleepaway Camp II gets as much slack as it does, because if we're being honest with ourselves, we really can't hate it without also hating most of what was being produced at that time, and at the end of the day it's still fun - just disappointing when compared to the cult classic that sired it.
In any event, we've got a textbook battle of technical deficiency versus high entertainment value on this one, so let's dredge this thing up outta the outhouse and see if the garden hose is up to the task of gettin' it presentable. The plot is serviceable and fills in the gaps of Angela's missing years well enough, but much like the Friday the 13th films it semi-spoofs, it's a case of the term "plot" being a bit of a misnomer, as there really isn't one. Angela whacks the immoral brats one-by-one until she's eventually canned and loses what remains of her marbles. It specifically brings Friday the 13th Part V to mind, as both movies have such a high body count that there literally isn't any time for plot. If it's possible for a body count to be too high then Sleepaway Camp II is a perfect example, as there's very little time to process anything before the next murder.
The acting is by far the film's greatest weakness, as this was the first (and often last) flick for much of the cast. Unfortunately, Pamela Springsteen just wasn't up to this role, and her inadequacies as an actress are magnified by the fact that, as the star, it's up to her to carry the mediocre script. She failed, but there's plenty of blame to spread around, as Heather Binion (Phoebe), Walter Franks III (Jud), Benji Wilhoite (Anthony), Kendall Bean (Demi), and Terry Hobbs (Rob) all deliver uneven, awkward performances. Renee Estevez is passable as the nice/final girl, Molly, and Brian Patrick Clarke (T.C.) and Tony Higgins (Sean) help elevate the production value a little as well, but the MVP of this flick is Valerie Hartman, who shows off the goods on numerous occasions and gives an excellent performance as the mega-bitch camp tramp, Ally. Walter Gotell also co-stars in a throwaway role as the camp administrator, but regardless, it's all for naught, as a movie lives and dies by the performance of its star, and this flick unquestionably dies by it. This's in spite of Pamela gettin' all the best lines, like: "I'm sorry you feel that way, because even though you did a cheap, disgusting act by exposing your breasts, I really think that you didn't know any better," and "Get in the toilet!" I'll give credit where credit's due - she seems to loosen up and give a much better performance in Sleepaway Camp III. She couldn't save that one either, but she can hardly be blamed for that. Felissa Rose was offered an audition to return to the role, but was about to start college at the time and decided to pursue her scholastic career before realizing the folly of that decision returning to genre acting in the early 2000s.
Here's who matters and why: Pamela Springsteen (Sleepaway Camp III), Renee Estevez (Intruder, Moon 44), Brian Patrick Clarke (Exorcism), Walter Gotell (Puppet Master III, The Boys from Brazil, The Damned, The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll, Circus of Horrors, and the 1956 version of 1984), Benji Wilhoite (Children of the Mist), Justin Nowell (Friday the 13th VI, From a Whisper to a Scream), Jill Jane Clements (Rings, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire).
It is now my sad duty to point out all the defectors in the cast, some of which went on to ply their wares in that most pathetic of all entertainment mediums - the daytime soap opera. I will observe a moment of silence for their personal dignities before proceeding with their unfortunate rap sheets. Amen. Renee Estevez (Nancy on The West Wing), Brian Patrick Clarke (Storm Logan on The Bold and the Beautiful, Grant Putnam on General Hospital, Merle 'the Pearl' Stockwell on Eight is Enough), Walter Gotell (General Gogal in The Spy Who Loved Me, A View to Kill, Octopussy, Moonraker, The Living Daylights, and For Your Eyes Only; Morzeny in From Russia with Love; Chief Constable Cullen on Softly Softly: Task Force), Susan Marie Snyder (Julie Wendell on As the World Turns, Loken Lockridge on Santa Barbara).
The special effects, after observing the movie's acting, seem astoundingly impressive. It's absurd that a flick with acting this bad could turn around and deliver such excellent effects. We've got a superb severed tongue, a good lookin' slit throat, a char broiled skeleton (this one's just okay, and much too light weight in design), some gooey face-melting, a decent severed head and hand, cloudy dead eyeballs, and of course, the leech-covered face of Ally, post-porta-mortem. They do hafta cutaway pretty quickly at times due to the merciless MPAA of 1988, but Christina Cobb and Bill Johnson really save this movie from goin' off the deep end and becoming unwatchable with their masterful effects work.
The shooting locations aren't up to the standard of the original, but even though they look nothing at all alike due to being filmed 1100 miles apart, they're alright. The original Sleepaway Camp was shot in Glens Falls, New York, while the sequel was filmed at a YMCA camp in Waco, Georgia, so the idea that the two camps were just 60 miles apart as the movie suggests is a tough sell. That said, Angela's evidence locker up in the woods where she's stashed all the corpses looks great decked out with candles, hideous '70s furniture, and dilapidated appliances, and because it's where the movie's climax takes place it's likely to be the thing people remember most about the set design. The original camp was going to be tough to beat given that it was a real summer camp, but the location scout did alright here, and the production/prop masters did a nice job setting the stage for the events to come.
The soundtrack is remarkably minimalist in nature, both in terms of musical variety and the role it plays from scene to scene. There are only a couple different tracks - one that bears some resemblance to Friday the 13th Part VII, and another that's a slightly goofy take-off on the Jaws theme, and I'd estimate that the total running time of the movie that features instrumental scoring is only around 15 minutes in a flick that's 1:20 long. The lack of music doesn't really hurt it, as the sound editor makes good use of crickets and other typical sounds of nature, but it is a bit strange nonetheless. As for the more marketable soundtrack, it features two very catchy songs - Anvil's "Straight Between the Eyes," and Obsession's "Desperate to Survive," and I've ranked these two tracks at #76 and #35, respectively, on my list of the top 100 Greatest Horror Rock Songs of the '80s and '90s, so even though they don't really do much for the film's atmosphere, they're pretty good tunes. Overall, Sleepaway Camp II fails on a technical level despite its excellent effects and shooting locations, but is entertaining enough at its core to overcome that deficit and earn a passing grade. It's not especially well made, but it's filled to the gills with '80s cliches and returns us to the woods for one of the final forest slashers of the decade, and for that, it comes recommended.