Reassessing the Trans “Twist” in “Sleepaway Camp” [Podcast]

Judy Judy Judy

After five weeks of nothing but Camp films, including a mockumentary re-enactment Gorgeous Drop Dead3d monstrosity Nurseand a pair of shocking and offensive ’70s tracks from John Waters (Female problem) and Paul Morrissey (Flesh for Frankenstein), Trace and I – with a returning guest Ten Backe – reached our magnum opus: overnight camp.

Robert HiltzikThe 1983 slasher is known for its final image, which reveals main character Angela (Felisse Rose) has male genitals. The “twist” means the film has appeared on numerous “Most Shocking Horror Movies” lists and garnered plenty of thought for its callous homophobic and transphobic elements. Over the past five years, however, critics of queer and particularly trans films have begun to reassess and reclaim the film.

In overnight campintroverted Angela and her cousin Ricky (Jonathan Tiersten) are sent to summer camp by their emotionally fragile Aunt Martha (Desiree Gould). Angela is mercilessly bullied by mean girl Judy (Karen Fields), but manages to establish a gentle, albeit chaste, relationship with Paul (Christophe Collet). Unfortunately, there is a killer on the loose at Camp Arawak and the death toll is on the rise…

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Episode 188 – Sleepaway Camp (1983) feat. Ten Backe

For the latest entry in our Camp series, we finally tackle Robert Hiltzik overnight camp (1983). Along the shorts and Judy from it all is returning guest – and big fan of the movie – Ten Backe.

The big question is whether this film is homophobic and transphobic. Hiltzik doesn’t have many ideas on the matter, but we, and many trans film critics, do. Is Sleepaway Camp worthy of praise and (re)appropriation by the queer community?

The plus: comparisons with Friday 13thoughts on the curling iron death of Judy, Art the pedophile cook, and the need for short shorts and male nudity!


steer overnight camp!

Coming Wednesday: We’re tackling our very first TV movie, as well as our first John Carpenter movie (!) with 1978’s Someone is watching me!

PS Subscribe to our Patreon for over 190 hours of additional content! This month we discuss Netflix’s new polarization resident Evil series, the return of the Predator in Preyas well as a pair of queer slashers in Peacock’s They they and A24 Body Body Body. Oh, and we have an audio commentary on Event horizon for his (sip) 25th birthday!

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