Saturday, February 20, 2010

Female Villains in Horror: Angela Baker

Boasting one of the all-time shock endings in horror, Sleepaway Camp has a great villain in one Angela Baker.
Poor, misunderstood, ridiculed Angela.

A confession: I'm not crazy about this movie. I know, I suppose I should be bound and tossed over a high bridge somewhere for the mere notion, but so be it - it's not my favorite way to spend an hour and a half. To me, it's a formulaic rip-off in a sea of 80's slasher prolificacy.

I do love Felissa Rose in the Angela role though- she does a great job. But let's face it - she spent more time throwing us that same look, with increasing amounts of tension and menace.
See?


--innocent...




--getting perturbed...




--advancing into a menacing mental state...




--and finally... off the deep end.



Right. Yeah, okay.

And certainly the concept of kids getting killed at a summer camp wasn't exactly a fresh idea.
Perhaps that's what pissed me off the most, the fact that Friday the 13th had been released three years prior to this. Seems like these guys took that film, threw in a homo-erotic bent and a surprise ending and voilà! Instant sleeper hit.
But a knock-off just the same.

So why was she a classic villain?

Well, her Dad and her brother were killed in a speed-boat accident (not entirely original, though having Dad be gay was a bright spot of nonconformity) and Angela was sent to live with a kooky aunt and the aunt's son Ricky. As if that wasn't reason enough to be somewhat peculiar, she is sent to a whack summer camp where all everyone is thinking about is getting laid. Even the pedophile cook.

Angela is bullied continually by fellow campers (and even a counselor!) due to her shy nature, nearly accosted sexually by said cook, and teased and eventually wronged by the boy she takes an interest in.

Soon, people start to die off and we as viewers wonder if it is Ricky defending Angela, or perhaps Angela herself getting back at those who continually humiliated her.

While I will admit that some of the deaths were inventive as well as unconvential - curling irons and bees, to name a few -I just really never felt the love for the film in general.

What's extra amusing here is the fact that the camp owner, despite the bodies stacking up, keeps the camp open and at first writes the deaths off as accidents. Whaaa?
Typical mindless slasher flick.

Setting this film apart from others though, is Angela herself. You can almost relate to her character. You actually find yourself feeling bad for her. Hasn't everyone been teased and badgered by someone in their life? And haven't you ever just wanted to take matters into your own hands?
Angela has had a tough going so far in life, and so when the flabbergasting end comes about, you almost feel a sense of sympathy. While watching a wide-eyed, crazed Angela admit not only to being the killer, but then pulling a complete gender 180 was no less than a staggering jolt to any film-goer. One of the most memorable movie endings ever.



But I still don't like it.

Buy it here.


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7 comments:

Fnord said...

I just saw this movie for the first time about a year ago. I agree with you totally. I didn't like the movie as a whole, but it did have some "okay" parts to it. The surprise ending was something that REALLY threw me off... and made me vomit a little... and I cried in the fetal position for about 3 hours...

But can you really classify this person as a "FEMALE" Villain? Hmm?

Andre said...

Hahah You're not suppose to like it, you're suppose to laugh at it's outrageousness!

Since Sleepaway Camp is my 2nd favorite movie of all time (I'm sort of kidding) and since I love you Chris, I will have to let this slide!

Ashlee said...

Your honesty is refreshing. I actually just saw this film a few weeks ago because since it's been hard to either a) find a copy or b) be in the mood to watch it.

Thank you, youtube.

I felt bad for Angela throughout. It really was a 'Holy crap!' ending. After all the ripping they had to do something different.

Jason said...

The thing people forget is that the victims of Friday the 13th were the adult counselors. Sleepaway Camp was the first summer camp movie to kill the children. I really love this movie. It is pure fun. I love showing it to friends to see their reaction to the ending. The first time I saw it I stared at the screen in shock all the way through the credits.

Tower Farm said...

Yeah...yeah...this movie is OK. And Felissa Rose is OK.

But Pamela Springsteen ROCKS in parts 2 and 3! She'll always be Angela to me!!

-Billy

James said...

That last image of Angela is positively chilling! I've never seen this - I thought the Sleep Away Camp films were comedies - but am quite intrigued now. Interesting twist to the 'Female' Villains in Horror, Chris. ;o)

Neil Gaskin said...

I loved the original a lot:)