Is The New SLEEPAWAY CAMP Sequel Still Happening?

While visiting THE LAST DRIVE-IN this weekend, Angela herself might have let something slip.

"OK Felissa, I have several questions. One: what exactly did you do with the hot curling iron?"

"I put it up Judy's vagina." 

This weekend, Shudder hosted Joe Bob Briggs' The Last Drive-In: a 26 (give or take) hour horror movie marathon that saw the former MonsterVision host throwing a sort of "last hurrah" for himself (read our lengthy interview with Briggs here), offering up his unique, educational insights on some of the most bizarrely entertaining motion pictures movies ever made (Tourist TrapBlood FeastPieces). It was arguably the movie-watching event of 2018, as so many horror fans gathered 'round to listen to the old time exploitation movie critic wax philosophical about everything from trash cinema to transgender bathroom rights that they actually crashed Shudder's servers during the first two films (though for this viewer, the other 11 were consumed without a hitch or glitch). We love you Joe Bob! Please don't retire!

During the night's second movie - Robert Hiltzik's utterly unhinged '83 summer vacation slasher classic, Sleepaway Camp - Joe Bob had Angela herself (Felissa Rose) on as a special guest!

During one of the "commercial breaks" (which were reserved so Joe Bob could spit his trademark hilarious, rapid-fire commentary about the pictures playing), Joe Bob asked Rose about the rumored Sleepaway Camp sequel that's been banging around at New Line Cinema for about half a decade, to which Felissa "shushed" him and all but confirmed something is happening, but that they're not allowed to talk about it yet. 

For those who may not remember, there's been a Sleepaway Camp installment toiling away in development hell at New Line, that former exec Jeff Katz has been trying to get made since about 2013. The last we heard about the project came from Katz himself in '16, when he appeared on Adam Green and Joe Lynch's Movie Crypt Podcast and laid out the basic premise for the picture (which he penned the script for). In it, we pick up in the present day and find Angela locked away in Smith’s Grove Sanitarium (continuing the winky in-joke nature that the series took on with Unhappy Campers and Teenage Wasteland). Of course, Angela - who'd be played by a returning Rose - escapes, and hides out at the doomed Camp Arawak. At the time, Katz said:

“You resolve her character while setting up the events of the new movie, which are tied directly to her and in a way which allows you to honor the original but spin off in an entirely new direction."

So, it sounds pretty close to what Danny McBride and David Gordon Green have cooked up for their impending Halloween installment, only Camp will probably include the sequels' events. A rebootquel, then? I'll let the extremely pedantic in the comments correct me for my word usage. 

Katz has since had the movie set up at Ted Field's Radar Pictures - which had a hand in both theTexas Chain Saw and Amityville Horror remakes - who are riding high on their tentpole deal with Fox in the wake of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle's massive worldwide success (so there might be money to spare on this smaller project, should it still exist at the company). Katz also mentioned on The Movie Crypt that his take gets "the penis thing out of the way immediately" - more on this in a second - and features a "badass gay black man" as the hero.

Ah, "the penis thing". This would obviously be the biggest hurdle when approaching a new installment of Sleepaway Camp in '18, as the complicated politics regarding Angela's gender/sexual identity will have less adventurous movie-goers (you know, the ones who damn films before seeing a frame, because they might not line up exactly with their worldview) collecting rocks to toss at the latest body count sequel. In fairness, Sleepaway Camp is undoubtedly a product of its times, and packages a metric fuckton of problematic miasma in its final shocking frames (not to mention homoeroticism in Hiltzik's obvious adoration of the numerous buff, short-shorted men). The whole thing is a hazy, mean-spirited puzzle horror scholars have been picking apart for thirty-five years, to no real avail (or insight from its reclusive creator). 

In short: could you make a sequel to Sleepaway Camp in 2018? Sure. Should you? Honestly, the second question is one that can only be answered if and when the movie comes out. Many will scream to the high heavens that the notorious exploitation movie should remain in the era in which it was made. However, it'd be interesting to see what Katz and his collaborators come up with, trying to shift the franchise's existence into our far more progressive times. 

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