A Letter from Aunt Martha on the new Blu-Ray of SLEEPAWAY CAMP (1983)

From: Martha Thomas (“Aunt Martha” to the children! They don’t know who “Martha Thomas” is! That’s just the name I used when I’m walking across the stage! You can call me a doctor, because I am a doctor!)

To: The Precious Children!

Hello, my beautiful sweet children!

I do hope this letter finds you well, and I’ve no doubt that it does! No doubt at all! I’m sure you simply must be the happiest of all campers, because that’s what you’re doing! You’re camping! Isn’t camping divine? And here I am, writing you a letter at camp! It’s almost like I’m a real mother!

And I am a mother, aren’t I? It wouldn’t do if I didn’t send you love at camp! No, that wouldn’t do at all!

I’ve enclosed a very special gift for you both. It’s a diskette of the film SLEEPAWAY CAMP, my most favorite film of all! Oh, I do hope you’ll enjoy it! It’s a brand new release of the film, on something called a Blue-Rayed diskette, put out by a company called the Screaming Factory. It’s ever so much better than before! And if your camp doesn’t have the ability to play a Blue-Rayed diskette, it comes with a DVD as well, with all the same features! You can have your choice of what to do, and what to play! Isn’t that marvelous? Of course, you can’t choose what you are. That choice is mine, because I’m the doctor! And also a mother, I don’t mind pointing out.

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Oh, I do certainly hope you’ll enjoy the film. I think you will! It’s such a better presentation than the release that the Anchored Bays put out years ago. That diskette had all sorts of problems, where there was footage missing, just sliced right out! It’s such a bother when things are hacked up, it causes such a mess! Why, in that version, you didn’t even get to see the full skinny dipping scene! Now, I’m all for covering up the human body whenever possible, because you certainly don’t want people seeing your dirty dangles, but there was a certain artistic merit to that scene! All those young men, their strapping bodies free to the wind, their virile buttocks bouncing on the shore in anticipation of the frivolity they’d soon be—

Anyway, children, this is the complete version of the film, and I just know you’ll love it! It’s all about summer camp, just like the ones you sweet children are attending now! It’s the story of two very well-dressed children who attend camp after their very enthusiastic and not at all deranged parent prepares snacks for them. Now, some of counselors and other children don’t like these two very, very morally correct young people, and they get bullied, but it’s like that fellow Daniel Savagery says, “it gets better!” You’ll soon see that the bullies eventually get theirs, and everything turns out for the best!

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That’s important to remember, children. Some people will always be bad seeds, but there’s too many fish in the sea to care about what some people think! Like our neighbor Denise, you remember her? She told me the begonias on the side of our house would look better in the front! Can you believe that? I mean, the nerve! In any case, you won’t be seeing her again, due to her accident. Questioning my gardening just won’t do. That won’t do at all!

But, oh, SLEEPAWAY CAMP! There’s so much to offer! There’s not a single frame wasted, and the performances are ever so wonderful! Karen Fields a spectacular young woman and reminds me of one of my favorite actresses, Ms. Edy Williams! Mike Kellin is a fantastic actor as well with a long history of amazing roles – you can tell who he is in the film because he wears the longest shorts! It’s all so wonderful, and it has a happy ending in which our lead character finally understands who she is after so much trouble!

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And after you’ve watched the film, and watched it again, because you’ll want to! I just know you will! And you’ve watched it enough times, you’ll be able to find out all about how it was made! You can turn to a different audio track and listen to those who made the film talk all about it – two tracks with the director Robert Hiltzik, including one with the movie’s star Felissa Rose, were on the Anchored Bays release, but one new one has Felissa and actor Jonathan Tiersten! Now, Felissa is always a pleasure and so excited about everything, and I can appreciate that, but Jonathan is sometimes a little bit of a sour britches! Most of the time, he’s got very fond memories, but occasionally he’s just asking to be whipped with a willow wand until the blood comes!

I’m joking, of course! I’d never harm anyone associated with SLEEPAWAY CAMP! It’s ever so much fun!

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The Screaming Factory has also put together a great documentary with most of the cast and crew involved, so you can learn all about the make-up effects, what was cut and who was flirting with who behind the scenes! If only Christopher Collet had been there, he seems like such a nice boy! But he doesn’t appear. No, he doesn’t appear at all!

You can also watch a music video featuring Jonathan, a still gallery, a demonstration of the 2K Film Scan Process, a short film starring Karen and directed by Jeff Hayes, who maintains the SLEEPAWAY CAMP fan page (we’ll be in touch, Jeff!) and a trailer for the film which seems to suggest it’s some sort of horror, a take I just don’t get at all! SLEEPAWAY CAMP is all about finding the love within yourself, and stopping any efforts to prevent your own sense of self-worth from being wounded. It’s a beautifully inspiring tale, like my other favorite films MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON and PINK FLAMINGOS. I just know you’ll love it!

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In any case, I hope you’ve enjoyed this little note of love, from an actual parent! I do just hope the other campers don’t get jealous that I haven’t sent them anything. But that should soon be water under the bridge when you show them this Blue-Rayed diskette of SLEEPAWAY CAMP! Water under the bridge! I do so hope it inspires you, and that you’ll find a way to overcome any problems you have! Because not confronting your problems simply won’t do!

No, that simply won’t do at all!

With love,

Your Aunt Martha

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@Paul Freitag-Fey

Jon Abrams

Editor-In-Chief at Daily Grindhouse
Jon Abrams is a New York-based writer, cartoonist, and committed cinemaniac whose complete work and credits can be found at his site, Demon’s Resume. You can contact him on Twitter as @JonZilla___.
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