Wicked Wednesday

Wicked Wednesday: XX (2017)

I’ve been wanting to watch XX since I first read the festival hype around it last year. But I was a good blogger and persevered and saved this baby for Women in Horror Month. Needless to say, there was a lot of anticipation here.

Unfortunately, I have to say that this wasn’t worth waiting for.

XX is an anthology film directed by Roxanne Benjamin, Annie Clarke, Jovanka Vuckovic, and Karyn Kusama with Sofia Carrillo directing the framing story.

The Box

The first segment was directed by Vuckovic, whose short film The Captured Bird I watched for last year’s Women in Horror Month. And really, she’s made great strides. Her shots were great and the cast was charming. Unlike The Captured Bird, though, this short was based off a short story by the late horror writer Jack Ketchum.

“The Box” begins when a woman’s son takes a peek at the inside of a stranger’s Christmas present. After seeing what was inside, the boy stops eating. His sister follows suit within the week. And when his concerned father asks him what’s wrong, the father also begins to starve himself. One by one, the woman’s family starve to death, leaving her alone to endless search for the man and his box.

It’s a haunting story, but ultimately, it’s a little too open-ended to feel satisfying. It’s a pretty tricky thing to get right with a short film. Sometimes there is such a thing as too much mystery. Perhaps it works for the more philosophical of us, but I personally felt that it didn’t dig enough.

The Birthday Party

This quirky short was filled with plenty of kitsch charm. Directed by Clark, and co-written with Benjamin, “The Birthday Party” begins with a mother getting ready for her daughter’s birthday party. She’s determined to make perfect, but her plans are derailed when she finds her husband dead in his study.

Not wanting to spoil the party, the mother hides her husband’s corpse in a panda bear suit bought off a party performer. And while the guests look on, the dead body is accidentally knocked into the cake. And when the panda head is removed, the guests (including the children) all see the corpse beneath.

It’s a cute piece, but again doesn’t explain enough of its imagery. Shelia Vand (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night) plays the nosy nanny dressed in stark black. It certainly looks good, but there isn’t enough of her character to make sense of it.

The performances from Vand and Melanie Lynskey are great, but I don’t think enough development was really given to either. If this short meant to make a statement, it missed it. If it was trying to be cartoonish, it didn’t go far enough. But Clark’s style was certainly cute enough to make me want to watch more of her future work (even if short went weirdly music video-like half-way through).

Don’t Fall

“Don’t Fall” is easily the weakest of the four shorts. It’s unimaginative and sloppy. Four kids go out into the desert and camp in a protected land. An ancient evil awakes and possesses one of the girls. She kills the friends off one by one. With really basic creature design.

I’m not sure Benjamin was trying to do with this. Unless I missed something subtle, I didn’t understand why she made something so cliche. The girl who becomes possessed is made fun of by her friends. So I don’t know? Push a bitch too far and she’ll get possessed?

Bonus points for Angela Trimbur. She’s hilarious in The Good Place.

Her Only Living Son

The final short was from Karyn Kusama, who showed off here as the writer and director with the most experience. Single mom Cora lives with her son Andy. As his 18th birthday approached, Andy becomes more violent and evil. But most people around them seem to be very forgiving. Many people even tell Cora that they’ll do anything to protect him.

On the night of his 18th, it’s revealed that he is the spawn of Satan. But unwilling to give up her son to the Devil, Cora asks Andy to choose staying with her instead of taking his place with the Devil. When he chooses her, they embrace, and they are crushed to death by an evil force.

Kusama’s story is ultimately about a mother’s determination to keep her children safe and loved. Throughout the short, Cora gets it both right and wrong. She tries to be supportive, but at times becomes invasive. While the story is extreme, in many ways the relationship between mother and son makes it feel very real.

Some of the effects seemed cheap, but it can be easily overlooked as this is by far the strongest story.

With a title like XX, I was expecting some female-driven stories. While women actors feature as mains in every short, the film never seemed too interested in exploring more complex female experiences. Half of the shorts didn’t seem interested in saying anything at all.

Horror is a fantastic genre to use when trying to tell stories from a female perspective. It can be gross and insightful. It’s possible to do it, as seen in work like Anna Biller’s shorts and Jill Gevargizian’s The Stylist. 

That’s not to say that female directors always need to tell a female story, but I do feel slightly misled. When you have the platform and make such a big deal about being all-female, then maybe someone should have had the nerve to try something more gutsy.

I did, though, love the theme of family that ran most of these films. It’s an underrated asset in horror. But none of these films tackled sisterhood or even female friendship to any sort of degree. There’s plenty to explore without doing the same basic tropes (or maybe that was the point?).

This anthology felt like four short films that were made separately. Then someone decided they should throw them all in together as an after thought. As stand-alone films, I think they would almost fare better. But I guess this does defeat the notion that women are stronger together.

I do recommend watching XX. I was more let down by my own unnecessary anticipation and expectations than anything. It’s a good, solid anthology. If only a bit frustrating.


Wicked Wednesday: Slumber Party Massacre II (1987)

For last year’s Women in Horror Month, I watched Slumber Party Massacre, the first in a series of films that were directed exclusively by female directors.

I watch a lot of 80’s slashers, so I found it slightly difficult to recall the first movie without having to look up the synopsis online. But never fear, Slumber Party Massacre II is a film that will never leave my memory.

Written and directed by Deborah Brock, this sequel is more ridiculous and zany than it’s predecessor. It’s also quite a bit more fun. And why? Well, it still has a driller killer as with the first one. But this drill? This drill is on the end of a guitar! A GUITAR! No explanation needed!

(I’m only saying that because we don’t get one anyway.)

Young Courtney is no longer young. Her older sister Valerie is now in a mental hospital after the horrors the two faced years ago at the first slumber party massacre. Courtney has nightmares about that night. Nightmares about scenes she wasn’t even in. Freaky.

But Courtney has developed a life away from that. She’s in a kickin’ band with her pals, and her crush, Matt, is interested in her. Under her friend Shelia’s insistence, Courtney invites Matt to Shelia’s dad’s new condo over the weekend. It is, after all, Shelia’s birthday.

A slumber party in an out-of-the-way condo? What could go wrong? Well, Courtney’s mom certainly doesn’t want her to go. But her daughter pulls the water works and cries that she doesn’t want to spend her birthday in a mental hospital. Fair enough. Her mother cracks and allows her daughter to do.

The band head off to the condo together, and all seems to be well. While at a stop, Courtney falls asleep where she dreams of a man warning her to not go “all the way”. In her dream he drills through Valerie, who’s on her bed in the mental hospital, with his guitar-drill thing. Courtney wakes up, and assumes that it was just that: a dream.

But the girls arrive at the condo, which means Courtney can’t be bothered to worry about her stupid sister’s fate. The girls get settled, have a pillow fight and strip off (as ladies do). Meanwhile, boys TJ and Jeff arrive to build the sexual tension.

That night while Shelia has sex with one of the boys (I think it’s TJ. Lord knows.), Courtney falls asleep to another nightmare of the Driller Killer. The nightmare tires her out, and in the morning, she’s barely registering anything. The day gets progressively gets worse for her as she begins to have more visions.

But the visions come to a head when Courtney has her own Nightmare on Elm Street bath filled with blood. She screams for help, and her friend Sally arrives in the bathroom, but sees nothing. When Sally tries speaking Courtney, Courtney sees the pimple on Sally’s face grow and eventually melt her entire face (or something).

Courtney runs out of the bathroom to get helps from the others, but they can’t find Sally anywhere. Hours later, they assume something has happened to her and they call the police. The police believe the kids are making things up (especially Courtney, who does herself no favours be describing what happened literally instead of making up stuff that sounds real).

But Sally waltzes back into the house like nothing happened, saying that she went to the shop. The police are then pretty convinced that they never need to believe these kids again…despite the fact that Sally had been missing for hours. But whatever.

Since Matt arrived at the condo earlier that day, he and Courtney now have their time alone. And in what has to be one of the more incredible scenes of the film, the couple have their own Sixteen Candles moment and it is fucking hilarious. Matt brings her a cake that looks like it has been set on fire, and they make out over it.

As the two get busy, Courtney starts to think about the Driller Killer again. And just when things get intimate, Matt gets drilled through the back. The Driller Killer, now out of Courtney’s dreams and into her car, is officially there to terrorise the kids.

As Courtney rushes downstairs, her tries to tell her friends what happened. They all try to split, but no one goes in the same direction. Shelia and TJ go off alone while Courtney, Jeff and Amy head in the opposite direction.

Sally gets killed off first, but she deserved it for being an asshole earlier.

But it hardly matters anyway, as the guitar/drill-wielding dancing killer gets them all in very quick succession. It takes no time at all, and it’s down to Amy and Courtney.

The two girls try to escape the killer through building sites, but Amy eventually falls to her death. When Courtney is finally cornered by the Driller Killer, she’s able to escape him by setting him on fire. This seemingly ends things, but in yet another Nightmare on Elm Street moment, Courtney wakes up from a dream and finds herself in a room in a mental hospital.

It’s great. It’s really great.

The scenes where the Driller Killer peruses the kids are fucking great. While many slashers really tend to drag in the final chase, Slumber Party Massacre II really keeps things (hilariously) interesting.  I like the scenes that are send ups of John Hughes films and the little nods to other horror films.

Do I get what any of this means? Hell no! But it’s certainly something that’s bonkers enough that you need to make all your friends watch it just so you can talk about it.

One of the biggest mistakes the movie made was making these girls likable. Sure, they’re a bit much. But they all feel real and fleshed out. Plus they love Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, and they’re all super terrible dancers!

There’s actually a lot of familiar faces in this one. Heidi Kozak from Society and Friday the 13th pt VII and Juliet Cummins from Friday the 13th: A New Beginning. 

The music is pretty great, too. The band Wednesday Week provided the music for the girls’ band. They were a part of the Paisley Underground scene, which explains why the songs are so Bangles-esque. But the highlight has to be “Tokyo Convertible” by First Born.

I loved Slumber Party Massacre II for all of its insanity. It probably won’t work for everyone, but it certainly made itself memorable. Props to writer and director Deborah Brock. You owned it, lady. Whatever it was that you were trying to do.

I just want to add that Women in Horror Month has been fantastic these first two weeks. The most fun I’ve had watching films in a long time.

Wicked Wednesday: A Visit From the Incubus (2001)

Happy Women in Horror Month! Where our realities are terrifying, and the movies just reflect that!

And what better way to start the celebration than with a short film that was written, produced, directed, edited by the woman who also starred in the film as well did the costumes, sets and score. (And I’m pretty certain she sang her parts in the musical as well. Who says a woman can’t have it all?)

Anna Biller’s A Visit from the Incubus is a western horror musical that is as good as it sounds. Biller’s style has to be one of the most visually recognizable contemporary filmmakers. It’s in full effect here.

Young Lucy (Biller) is a woman in the wild west. Each night she is haunted by an incubus, who torments her by raping in her sleep. She goes to seek advice from her friend Madeleine, who admits she used to be haunted by the incubus as well. But Madeleine tells Lucy that she was able to get rid of her demon.

Despite the offer of refuge at Madeleine’s, Lucy goes home alone. That night, she’s visited by the incubus again. Only in the morning, Lucy doesn’t feel like taking the incubus’s shit anymore. In fact, she feels like a woman.

Taking her new confidence out for a spin, Lucy goes to the local saloon to ask for work – “that kind of work”.

That night, Lucy appears in her first show at the saloon. But her opening act is none other the incubus himself, trying to steal her limelight from her. The two begin their ultimate showdown the only way possible: with song and dance.

The incubus takes the stage and is booed off not once, but twice. And when Lucy hits the stage, she’s an instant success. She becomes the star of the saloon, and is immediately offered a new contract for $100 a week by the saloon manager. Lucy’s victory is her own.

It’s obvious what the message is here, but A Visit from the Incubus never feels heavy-handed. In fact, it also manages to elevate the genre it emulates, something a lot of similar writers and directors often fail to do. There’s a touch of The Harvey Girls with just enough Satanic fun. It’s amazing to see a character have a full story arc (with development!) in under a half hour.

This short was everything. It was smart, funny, provocative, and it can original songs! I’m a sucker for it all.

Women in Horror Month is an initiative to promote the work of women filmmakers throughout the month of February (and all year!). Whether that be behind or in front of the screen, it’s a celebration of a bad-ass group that’s largely underrepresented in the film industry. This month I’ll be highlighting female-directed movies, and I’m really excited about every single one of them.

Visit Women in Horror Month‘s website to learn more about their cause! If you’re a creator, it’s a great space to meet with others in the community.


Wicked Wednesday: The Exorcist at the Phoenix Theatre

Thanks to a friend who has seemingly endless connections and belongs to something mysteriously referred to only as “The Club,” I’ve been able to see a lot of West End shows for free. I’ve never been a theatre person, but London is filled with oddities that I’ve had the (dis)pleasure of experiencing. This week’s show brought me into home territory with The Exorcist, based on William Peter Blatty’s novel and film of the same name.

Seeing The Exorcist performed on stage marked my first horror play. The show was okay, but largely forgettable with strange pacing and inconsistent acting. Not that I’m any sort of expert on the subject (I’m not an expert at anything, but that’s besides the point). But one thing that did stand out to me was the practical effects.

Making a good horror movie is not easy. Even if it is “successful,” you’d be faced with one very large problem: nothing scares everyone. Making people suspend their belief takes a true skill, one that I would imagine is even more difficult when you’re on a stage.

The original 1973 film had a lot going for it. It had a wealth of locations and an absolutely fabulous cast. But it was shocking at the time. Filthy and uncomfortable.

My mom told me stories of how when she saw The Exorcist in cinemas for the first time, she had to leave to be sick.

Once something sets the standard, it can be impossible to replicate the feeling years later. While I think the original Exorcist film holds up incredibly well, many people don’t. And it’s for the same reason: the special effects. Regan, the young girl possessed by demon Pazuzu, has that iconic pea soup vomit and vibrant red blood.

The stage adaptation at the Phoenix was much more subdued. White vomit and an increasingly large wig to convey that the young girl was increasingly becoming more ill. I imagine it takes a great deal of stage magic to produce what this show did. At one point Regan tries to cut herself with a knife, and no blood is seen. She tries desperately to cut into her bone, but nothing happens.

But perhaps the most convincing effect was when the face of Father Damien Karras’ mother was superimposed over that of Regan’s. It was the time I felt the most “thrilled” by what was happening on stage.

It’s clearly not an easy story to bring to the stage. Many of the visual effects done electronically were missed because we just had really crap seats. But I still feel like the staging was fantastic.

Scaring a crowd of jaded viewers has to be difficult. But there were plenty of moments that The Exorcist truly creeped me out. It’s certainly a different feeling to watching it on screen, but it was definitely worth the experience.


Wicked (Wisconsin) Wednesday Pt. 38: The Monster of Phantom Lake (2006)

Over the past couple months, a friend and I have been in a bit of a battle to find the best/most interesting horror films to stream. The search has been rather hit or miss. But thanks to my aggressive searching one night, this little indie film fell onto my lap.

When I initially saw the poster for The Monster of Phantom Lake, I thought I had found Roger Corman’s Creature from the Haunted Sea. Upon noticing the difference, I was absolutely chuffed to see that I found an indie film set in Mukwonago, Wisconsin.

I don’t know how I missed this movie the first time round (my last WWW was in 2016), but the movies gods must have been smiling down upon me. The film was made, though, in Minnesota, and directed by Christopher R. Mihm. So while this isn’t “technically” Wisconsin, I will welcome you with Midwestern arms anyway.

Like Corman’s Creature From the Haunted Sea, Mihm’s movie parodies 1950’s monster flicks. Set in the “Present Day” of the 1950s, The Monster of Phantom Lake centres around a toxic lake in a quiet Wisconsin town.

A professor and his young student, Stephanie, arrive at the lake to conduct research. They also bring cases full of double entendres and sexual tension.

Nearby in the woods, a group of young students are celebrating their high school graduation. The kids gather around a bonfire to tell scary stories. One boy, Jonathan, tells the tale of Michael Kaiser, an army veteran who served with his father. Jonathan tells his friends about how Michael went mad and murdered his wife, whom he thought was a Nazi spy.

Jonathan then tells his friends that Michael Kaiser lives in the very woods they were camping in. And while his friends don’t believe him, they should. Michael Kaiser lurks in the woods nearby.

Men from a local plant are tasked with dumping vats of atomic waste into a nearby lake. When Michael hears them, he waits in the woods and watches. As the men work, one of their hats falls into the lake. Michael jumps in after, but he falls into the lake and isn’t seen rising from the water.

The scientists and the kids eventually meet up together for some science-exploration shenanigans. When the kids tell the Professor about a strange algae they find, he realises that it isn’t quite normal. It doesn’t help that the algae is in the form of a frog-man hand.

After studying the algae, Stephanie discovers that the algae contains traces of “something human”. The Professor doesn’t believe her findings, and the kids go off on their separate ways. Unbeknownst to everyone, a glorious creature has emerged from the lake, ready to kill them all.

That night, the kids are slowly picked off by the creature. Eventually, only Elizabeth is left. Poor Elizabeth is described by her ‘friends’ in the movie as a “square”. Which she is. She most definitely is.

She goes to get help from the scientists when the monster approached them at the camp. The monster, however, goes away when it sees Elizabeth. As it leaves, it takes with it Michael Kaiser’s dog tags that were found at this abandoned camp. Despite the monster, the Professor doesn’t believe that Elizabeth’s friends are dead.

The scientists eventually realise that the monster is a genetically-modified Michael Kaiser. Elizabeth, being the spitting image of Kaiser’s dead wife, was left alone. The Professor accepts Elizabeth’s story, and together they try to take down the Monster of Phantom lake.

Mihm’s love of the genre is blatantly clear throughout the film. He even has a “Mihmiverse” – several films all loosely connected to each other. All of them based on various b-movie genres. You have to love the enthusiasm of someone so passionate.

It’s great to look at the tropes those films through a modern lens. The Cold War suspicions and the casual sexism is abound in this film, with a tongue-in-cheek touch. The bits of nonsensical science is genius. The film’s dialogue even caught my husband’s attention. That would be the first time since watching Dead Weight nearly three years ago.

Parts of The Monster of Phantom Lake do drag, but I do think that is due to the fact that it tries so hard to faithful to the genre. Thankfully, this didn’t have twenty minutes of someone running through a woods. This was thankfully shaved down for viewers like me.

I’m looking forward to checking out more of the Mihmiverse in the future. It might not have been filmed in Wisconsin, but the movie had enough charm and passion for me to forgive it.


Wicked Wednesday: Hammer House of Horror ep. 1 “Witching Time” (1980)

Well, it’s the third week into 2018, and I’m already achieving goals.

New Year’s Resolution: watch more British horror. Check. Done.

So maybe one week doesn’t count as “more”, but either way – I can’t say this has improved perceptions. I tried to ease myself in with an episode from Hammer House of Horror, an hour-long anthology show that aired in 1980. Hammer, historically, has never worked for me as much as the Universal films. So why did I think this would work?

Two words: Patricia Quinn.

Magenta herself appears in this first episode – as a witch! Which sounds so far up my alley, I was convinced it was going to be a sure win. But of course it’s another pointlessly long, meandering piece of work.

And let’s get the inevitable out of the way: I am American and I like my entertainment entertaining. May there be unnecessary explosions, dramatic staring and baffaling one-liners.

But at least it had Patricia Quinn. And she’s so great in this.

Film composer David lives with his actress wife Mary on a rural farm in England. The two have a strained relationship, mostly because David suspects she’s cheating on him and she definitely is. With his doctor.

After getting a call that Mary won’t be returning for the night, David settles in to work. But a sudden storm knocks the power out. When he goes to the barn to check on Mary’s horse, he finds a naked lady (Quinn) in a cloak.

The cloaked nutter introduces herself as Lucinda. She seems pretty happy to be at the farm, exclaiming that she’s escaped “them.” Assuming she’s ill, David takes Lucinda to the farm house. She tells him that she was born there, so he shows her around. Her behaviour is strange, though.

She’s terrified of the lights. And wonders at the running water in the bathroom. Asks David what people do to witches in his time. Eventually, Lucinda explains to him that she was born in 1627. She escaped her would-be executioners with magic by transporting herself into the future. And with that tidbit, David locks her away in the guest room.

He calls his doctor (the man who Mary is having an affair with), and invites him over to check on Lucinda, who he merely assumes is delusional. But when the doctor arrives, Lucinda is nowhere to be found. The doctor instead treats David, who has previously suffered from nervous exhaustion.

That night, David dreams he is having sex with Lucinda, who claws her nails into his back. When Mary arrives in the morning to check on her husband, she sees the nail marks in his back.

Things begin to get worse for the couple. As David becomes increasingly erratic, Mary becomes more and more paranoid that he’s after her. After she’s nearly crushed by a bust, she begins to pack up to leave David. Lucinda uses her powers to create a wind storm within the bedroom.

Mary decides then to not leave David, but to visit a priest who tells her about exorcisms. She also finds Lucinda’s name in the church book as one witch who escaped her death. She asks her doctor-lover for help, but he’s gives that a solid pass.

Equipped with the power to remove Lucinda, Mary begins to head back to the farm. But her horse startles, and Mary is thrown and knocked out. When she awakes, she finds out that she’s been in the hospital for days.

When Mary finally is able to leave the hospital, she finds David in terrible shape. He locks her in the cellar where Lucinda was once kept. While Mary tries to escape, David begins building a pyre to burn his wife to the ground.

But Mary manages an escape, and takes Lucinda on directly. Using Lucinda’s voodoo doll, Mary begins to attack the witch, but eventually drowns her in a trough. David then wakes up from Lucinda’s spell. The couple walk away, and David throws the doll onto the burning pyre, and Lucinda’s screams are lost to them.

It’s a very convoluted ending to a rather straight-forward plot. Instead of giving any suspense, the episode mostly is shrug-inducing. It is neither good nor bad but just mostly boring. Quinn’s witch character was compelling to watch, but her story was very flat. I’m not quite sure what the episode should have focused on more, but it needed to be focusing on something.

Unfortunately “Witching Time” is ultimately a product of an over-ambitious script for a one-hour show. Too much telling, and not enough showing.

So did I enjoy this episode? No. Do I want to watch more of this show? Well, yes.


Wicked Wednesday: Cheerleader Camp (1988)

Going into a movie without expectations can be hard. A lot of the times, we can go into movies and get what we expect. Sometimes there are surprises. Cheerleader Camp has no surprises.

Camps. Cheerleaders. An alternate title of Bloody Pom Poms. We all know what we’re getting here.

A group of six cheerleaders and their mascot take a van out to Camp Hurrah to participate in a cheerleading competition. Why is there an important competition at a camp where there are no judges? Beats me.

At the centre of things is Alison (Betsy Russell), a cheerleader with a tormented mind. She falls asleep each night and has disturbing nightmares. Though the real nightmare in Alison’s life is that her boyfriend Brent (Leif Garrett) has eyes for all the other girls at camp, particularly a blonde from a rival team.

The next day, Alison finds the blonde in her bed with both of her wrists slit. The counselor (owner, judge, whatever), Miss Tipton, is certain that there is no foul play, and refuses to call the police. But when Alison stumbles upon the body in the freezer, she calls the sheriff. Only the sheriff is more interested in getting into Miss Tipton’s pants than getting any work done.

Meanwhile, while Brent goes off to busy himself with other women, Alison strikes up a friendship with the mascot, Cory (Lucinda Dickey). The girls try to boost each other’s self-esteem.

When one of Alison’s teammates, Pam, begins to cozy up to Brent, Alison leaves him behind. Pam and Brent go off in the woods together, but Pam refuses to do anything with them. When he leaves her, she begins to chase after him in the woods. But the poor girl gets a sheers to the back of the head before she can find him.

That night it’s the cheerleading competition, which looks more like a talent show for cruise ship guests than an actual competition. Thankfully, the moves are as brilliantly 80’s as you’d want them to be.

Cory loses the mascot competition, despite the fact that she pulls from sweet break dancing moves (probably all learned from Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo). The gang also lose their competition after Pam doesn’t show for their performance. Though Bonnie, another of Alison’s teammates, wins Miss USA Cheer 2020 or something. So good for her.

Shame she’ll die anyway.

During the post-competition celebrations, Cory, Brent, Alison and Theresa go out into the woods to look for Pam. Of course none of them think to search as a group. One-by-one they run out into the woods alone.

Theresa finds Pam’s corpse in the woods, and begins head back to the camp. Though she doesn’t get very far when she’s smashed against a tree by a van. When Theresa’s body is found by her teammates, Brent decides to alert the camp that there’s a killer on the loose. Everyone but Alison’s team scatter, as their van doesn’t work (it’s been tampered with – surprise).

A very drunk Miss Tipton gets stabbed in the back. She stumbles into Alison, who grabs the meat cleaver from her back. Cory walks in at that moment, and catches Alison in a suspicious position. Alison becomes increasingly unsure of what is reality, and what memories are from her dreams.

Without the van, the kids begin to search the woods again. They run into the camp’s gardener, who fires his gun in the air to scare them off. Timmy, the over-weight comedic vomit of the movie, stays behind. He’s spent most of his time filming the going-ons at the camp (meaning topless cheerleaders), and decides to set up the camera for the killer.

The increasingly-small group realise that Timmy isn’t around. When Brent goes to look for him, he only finds the camera. The survivors go to watch the footage, and watch as Timmy dies on film.

This somehow convinces Brent that the gardener,Pop, is responsible for the killings. They set up a booby trap, which actually kills the sheriff. Though Cory manages to kill Pop when he goes after Brent with his gun.

The remaining kids, Brent, Alison, Cory and Bonnie, regroup in one of the cabins. Brent sends Bonnie to call the police and Cory leaves after her. With Brent and Alison alone, he tries to come on to her. Alison tells him no, but the boy is stopped when Cory interrupts, saying she an’t find Bonnie.

When Brent goes off to look for Bonnie, Cory confides in Alison that she believes Brent is the killer. Despite not having any real proof, Alison takes a gun from Cory and the two girls go to look for Brent.

They find the boy standing over Bonnie’s corpse. Alison shoots her boyfriend, seemingly ending the killings. But when the police arrive, they arrest Alison, who is in too much shock to protest.

While the police carry her away on a stretcher, Cory talks to the policeman. He tells her it’s likely that Alison will stay in a mental ward for years. Cory agrees, saying that Alison was obsessed with what others thought of her – trying to be perfect. Between the dreams and the pills, she’s obviously the murderer.

With a knowing smile, Cory flounces off to have a bit of cheerleading practice of her own.

And that, is an underwhelming ending. It’s quite clear that throughout the film Cory is the killer. She’s obviously manipulating Alison, and is the only one who cares about those who insult her. Plus no one likes Cory because she’s a stupid mascot.

But nothing about Cheerleader Camp is a surprise. It’s cheesy, skeezy, and a bit schlocky. Going into this, at least, I wasn’t expecting anything more than what I got.

If it’s a cheesy, below-average slasher you’re looking for, Cheerleader Camp will do the trick. There’s plenty to chuckle at to make it enjoyable. Though it’s of course dated, and filled with out-dated fun like slut-shaming.

Also. Explain me this: Why did the filmmakers cast the only dancer in the movie (Dickey) as the only non-cheerleader roll? Those last few minutes at the end hardly count. Also, it clearly establishes she’s much better than anyone else on the real team, so there’s no excuse as to why she didn’t make the team.

Obviously getting to the heart of the real problems here.