Camp Fear (1992) Review

Despite being warned about the devils and demons lurking in the hills, a young professor (Vincent Van Patten) leads a group of sorority sisters to Mystic Mountain in search of fossils and artifacts. The nature studies turn deadly when a horny biker gang invades the camp. Things get much worse for the bikers and college kids when a lake monster and giant druid searching for sacrifices crash the party.

Camp Fear (aka Millennium Countdown, aka Cheerleader Camp 2 thanks to slasherfilm urban legend and unscrupulous bootleggers) is a strange little film hurt by its own legend. While it does star Betsy Russell, Buck Flower, and some sexy models/porn stars, Camp Fear is nothing like Cheerleader Camp. Anyone picking up a copy expecting a sequel to that slasher will be very disappointed. Actually, Camp Fear feels more like a neutered version of Scalps with bits of The Prey thrown in for seasoning.

The acting in Camp Fear is pretty abysmal, but the presence of Buck Flower and Michelle Bauer gives the film a weird charm. Sure, Flower is playing a crazy old drunk for the 100th time, but he has several laugh-out-loud one liners every time he’s on screen. Bauer’s role is little more than a cameo, but she’s the only sorority girl with any sort of acting ability. Poor Betsy Russell has little to do in the first half other than smiling and staring at Van Patten. She spends the second half of the film running and screaming through the woods.

Director and screenwriter Thom Keith gives the viewer a few odd twists during the course of the film. The biker gang, loathsome at first, becomes heroes when trying to save the girls from the giant druid. This also happens with the druid trying to sacrifice four souls to his water god so humanity can survive another thousand years. Luckily for the druid and mankind those sacrifices don’t have to be virgins since the “offerings” have seen more traffic than a metropolitan freeway. As for Keith’s time behind the camera, one suspects the film was never really finished due to very choppy direction and characters referencing events the viewer never sees.

Fans searching for a fabled lost slasher will find Camp Fear a major disappointment since there is damn little stalking or slashing. Bad movie buffs, however, will love every mind boggling minute of this fractured curiosity. The first five minutes offer the viewer more breasts than a bucket of fried chicken. More no-budget than low-budget, Camp Fear may not have scares, suspense, or even a coherent story, but it still manages to entertain. Especially for the first five minutes.



Camp Fear (DVD)

Director: Thomas Edward Keith
Starring: Vincent Van Patten, Betsy Russell, Peggy McIntaggart, Mike Diamant, Jim Elk
Rating: R (Restricted)

List Price: $9.98 USD
New From: $43.33 In Stock
Used from: $15.99 In Stock
Release date April 5, 2005.
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