CHEERLEADER CAMP (1988)
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The only reason to really check out this 1988 slasher flick is…aside from abundant cheerleader action…a slew of familiar 80s faces such as Betsy Russell (Avenging Angel), Lucinda Dickey (Breakin’ 1 & 2), Playboy model Rebecca Ferratti, porn star-to-be Teri Weigel, George “Buck” Flower and 70s teen heartthrob Leif Garrett. The film is also a good example of how late 80s horrors were filmed with a more colorful look and far more humor than their early 80s counterparts. (read more about this here)
Simple story has emotionally fragile Alison (Russell) going to Camp Hurrah cheerleading camp for the summer. Soon after her arrival, there is an apparent suicide and people start disappearing. It finally becomes evident that someone is targeting cheerleader and counselors alike and there may be no escape for Alison and her friends…unless there is some truth to her vivid dreams and Alison is the one her friends need to fear!
The only thing creepy about this slasher is that Leif Garrett is pushing 30 and his receding hairline makes him look far too old to pass himself off as a teenager. As directed by John Quinn, from a script by David Lee Fein and R.L. O’Keefe, this is a slow moving and very routine slasher. There is a long time between killings and despite a fair amount of suspects, very little tension or suspense. The film only really gets going in the last 10 minutes or so, and by then we’ve figured out who the killer is long before the last scene reveal. Sure there is a very attractive cast of cheerleaders, but the acting is pretty wooden all across the board and eye candy is more the purpose of the predominately female roster. The males are mostly there to be suspects or horn-dogs and the suspects are a little too obvious to actually be the real killer. There is some nice 80s nostalgia, too, but as a slasher, the body count is low and the gore moderate and only moderately effective. There is humor sprinkled throughout, but it doesn’t blend well as the rest of the film seems to be taking itself very seriously. The film is, for the most part, fairly forgettable if not for the nostalgia factor.
Overall, there isn’t too much to say about this flick. As a slasher it is very routine and generates little tension or suspense. As an 80s movie there is plentiful nostalgia, especially due to a plethora of 80s B-Movie regulars. There is certainly a lot of eye candy from the nubile cast of models and B level starlets, but as a movie, it’s not bad enough to be enjoyed on that level and definitely not very good as a legitimate slasher. If you are an 80s completest, like me, it’s worth a look, but don’t expect much.
Rated 2 (out of 4) pom poms.