director Michael A. Simpson
Shot on the heels of Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (1988), Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland does what none of the other films in this series did, bring back star of the previous film in a recurring role. Not only does Pamela Springsteen return as Angela Baker, serial killer of the series, but the film was also shot at the same location as Sleepaway Camp II.
Continuity is a thing for some film series. For others, it doesn’t mean squat. And for the Sleepaway Camp series, even here with the same star, writer and director, it’s given relatively short shrift.
Because by Teenage Wasteland, Angela has shed any aspect of her transgendered self. Virtually (maybe even explicitly) nothing is said about the most notable and radical thing about the original Sleepaway Camp (1983), leaving us with crazy, cheerful Angela creatively offing all of the folks at the camp.
Even so, the film is quite a bit of an improvement on Sleepaway Camp II. It’s silly to the nearly intentionally comedic level, but smilingly so, and it moves along at a good clip.
The opening sequence, in which Angela tracks down a camper, runs her over with a truck and then composts her body, all to take her identity, is bizarre and ridiculous. That she’s able to pull all this off after the prior killings at the same camp only months before with no one recognizing her is about all you need to know about the film’s logic or commitment to reality.
And that’s pretty well fine.