Thursday, December 1, 2016

In short: Camp Fear (1991)

A bunch of young women – most of whom have no connection at all to the rest of the movie – shower and walks through what I assume to be their sorority house bare-breasted, for, as all pubescent boys know, girls always walk around in the nude when members of their strange and frightening species are alone with one another. I was kinda missing a pillow fight there, but the film follows up with the girls who will be our actual main characters first spending some time in class with hawt archaeology and/or anthropology professor Hamilton (Vincent Van Patten who is about as convincing a professor as he is an actor), so there’s that.

Afterwards, it’s off to a nightclub for a musical number, some lambada and the introduction of some evil biker dudes. During the long and painful course of these scenes, we learn that one of the sorority sisters is apparently the professor’s girlfriend, so add dubious professional ethics to his lack of acting ability and his hair. Then, finally, it’s the next morning and our protagonists are off for some sort of vague archaeological project with the professor at a place called Mystic Mountain. The gang encounters George “Buck” Flowers, a native American shaman (Jim Elk) standing in for Crazy Ralph who warns them off the mountain, and meet the bikers again, who have taken a rapey shine to the girls.

After more bullshit, our protagonists find themselves isolated from any potential help by the powers of handwaving plot developments and not just in trouble with the bikers but also a big guy with bad dressing sense (embodied by one Tiny Ron). The big guy is, it seems, a druid trying to avert the millennial end of the world by offering up human sacrifices, and has an embarrassing pet lake monster.

All this – except for the rape – does make Thomas Edward Keith’s fortunately only feature sound rather fun, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, this is one of those films that sound much more fun than they are when one has to actually sit through them. Camp Fear’s problem is not so much the complete lack of talent among the people involved than the fact that their lack of talent manifests with a total lack of charm, making much of the film terribly dull instead of terribly entertaining.

Which, come to think of it, might have something to do with the fact that the film’s first twenty minutes are bound to lull one to sleep with some of the most awkwardly filmed female nudity outside of Playboy Mansion, as well as with much pointless filler. It doesn’t help that the following twenty minutes are so dull not even the hilarious lake monster or the druid can wake one up again, nor that the film’s attempts at mixing two types of backwoods horror are crushed by the sad and tragic fact that its director couldn’t film a suspense sequence to save his life. On the positive side, um, the thing ends?

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