SLASHER MONTH: Camp Fear (1991)

Man, there are movies where I feel like I have reached the absolute Mariana Trench of bad films and this would be one of those times. What would make me watch a film like this?

Well, the cast. There are some stories here.

One of the “dorm girls” is Shannon Michelle Wilsey, who was only on our planet for 23 years and for two years or so of that time, she was known as Savannah, one of the Vivid girls of the early 90s that took women once thought of as too beautiful for adult films and transformed them into gigantic stars. For a variety of reasons, Wilsey didn’t last — drugs, attitude, depression, bad financial choices, dating Gregg Allman before she was old enough to drive — in adult films. And before she had a chance to even learn who she was in life, a car accident and face injury sent her into such a depression that she killed herself. The band Okkervil River recorded two songs about her, but the lyrics to “(Shannon Wilsey on the) Starry Stairs” are the saddest:

“So here’s goodbye
From the part that stays behind
To the part that has to leave
To the sublime lips that were never spoiled
By lying to the face inside the being
Who wasn’t me
Who wasn’t me
She’s not me”

The other “dorm girl” is Michelle Bauer, whose career took her from adult (where she used the name Pia Snow, appearing in one of the last mainstream crossover films, Cafe Flesh) to a long career as a scream queen in movies like Reform School GirlsHollywood Chainsaw Hookers, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama and many, many more.

And hey! That’s George “Buck” Flower as the wino character!

Finally, Betsy Russell is absolutely wasted in this film. I’ve often wondered why she didn’t go further after Avenging Angel and Tomboy, but I guess being in multiple Saw girls and remaining a working actress is doing well enough.

This film is actually Cheerleader Camp 2, but for some reason it ended up being about a biker gang and some druids and sat on the shelf until 2000 when it was released as Millenium Countdown. There’s also a Loch Ness Monster, laser beams and a poster that completely rips off Ruggero Deodato’s Body Count, which may be one of the only times that an Italian filmmaker is the one getting things stolen from them.

This was directed and written by Thom Edward Keith — one and done — with the opening being lensed by Fred Olen Ray. And man, I nearly forgot to mention that Vincent Van Patten is on hand. I wonder if he looked back with fondness on better times, back when he was in Hell Night, a night and day better slasher?

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