Camp Blood (1999)
By: Devon B. on November 11, 2005  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
SlingShot Entertainment (USA). All Regions, NTSC. 4:3. English DD 2.0. 73 minutes
The Movie
Director: Brad Sykes
Starring: Jennifer Ritchkoff, Michael Taylor, Tim Young, Bethany Zolt, Courtney Taylor
Screenplay: Brad Sykes
Country: USA
Camp Blood opens with a gratuitous butt shot, and in under two minutes (yay) there's a sex scene. Unfortunately it's set to a sappy, instrumental love song (boo), but fortunately the nudity is extremely unnecessary and the sexuality on display is utterly cheesy. A clown masked killer, that looks like a Slipknot reject in that black worksuit, turns up to wreak CHEAP gore havoc, and at about five and a half minutes our heroic nude is being chased while jiggling through the woods (yay). She gets done in when she skins her knee on a log and can't keep away from the clown. Once her character is done, despite the high standard set by the beginning, there is no more nudity (boo).

There is a bit of nudity teaser, though, because less than three minutes later is a shower scene. But it's just a crappy Psycho knock off with a false scare and NO NUDITY (boo). The scene does introduce us to our heroine, but I hesitate to call her that because she's never nude. She looks like she's either raided Tammy Faye's makeup kit or is VERY tired. Anyway, she and her fella have decided to go camping with another couple and a guide, but on the way pass an "old" guy who's powerwalking like he's doing the Mashed Potato. I'm thinking this character might have been inspired by Friday the 13th's Ralph. The old powerwalker yells a lot in a forced gravel voice, and tells the campers about a killer in the woods who evidently idolizes Ringling Brothers. So when the campers get to the woods, and see someone wandering around, they naturally tackle that person.

Later that night, their guide tells the campers the origins of the clown via a painfully stupid flashback. Naturally, the clown turns up in the night and offs the guide, leaving the campers lost in the woods. This clown is not your average screen villain; it runs up to attack the group, gets punched, and then runs away. Luckily for the clown, the rest of the characters aren't like your normal movie heroes either. When the clown comes in and just carries one of the girls away, everyone else fumbles around like they were Bruce Campbell stuck under one piece of wood.

The film climaxes in total gibberish, and then wraps up in a hospital. Evidently different actors couldn't be found to play hospital workers, and the set leaves a lot to be desired. Throw a sheet on a floor and hang out in one corner of a normal room. That's bound to make the viewer think we're in a padded cell….

Camp Blood is surprisingly competent for a film that must have cost three cents. The acting, editing, and general production levels are still flawed, of course, and are not necessarily GOOD, just not as inept as I expected. The only thing that was actually somewhat impressive style-wise was some shots of people walking from a low angle. They were kind of cool images, but then again, perhaps someone involved just managed to see Angst. The gore is shoddy, with the fake machete to the head scored laugh points, but in general the film is too competent to laugh at. Overall, Camp Blood's a flat film, ironic since it's in 3D, but it looks like something a few rungs up the budgetary ladder. The script, however, is pretty ham-fisted. There are lame attempts at humour, that are in fact so lame that characters even remark the jokes are lame. The script is often nonsensical, but rarely in an entreatingly bad way.

There's nothing in this film as hilarious as one line from the sequel: "I'm trying to drink my juice here. I don't have to hear about killer clowns."

The DVD presents the film at 1.33:1, and also includes a 3-D version that requires some super expensive (boo) glasses so I didn't get to watch it like that. The box claims the film was shot in "True Stereoscopic 3D," so if you have true stereoscopic 3D viewing capabilities, there you go. The print contains VHS style glitches, nasty pixelation and video grain. While the grain and video glitches may be on whatever passes for a negative of a shot on video movie, there's no reason for the pixelation.
The audio is okay. The box claims the audio is Dolby Digital 5.1, but when I checked the audio track on a DVD player, it came up as 2.0. The film is a cheapie shot on video, so the audio is not consistent, but this is probably due to the film's budget, not a flaw in the disc itself. The score is awful, and while the score does cover some of the background noise, the music is overly dramatic, sappy, clichéd junk.
Extra Features

The DVD includes the trailer, as well as those for two other shot on video movies Hunting Season (an even poorer man's version of They Call Me Macho Woman) and The Zombie Chronicles. The later I haven't seen, but looks right up there with Redneck Zombies. One plus for the disc is the menu, which features the clown from the cover, while a scene from the film plays across the clown's knife and blood drips in the background. Simple, but effective.

The Verdict
Given the title and the Ralph knockoff, Camp Blood was obviously made by fans who wanted to do their own version of Friday the 13th. I don't mind that, but unfortunately the film is done well for the budget, leaving only the script and gore as a marvel of bad filmmaking. The end result is a fairly typical slasher, when a movie about a killer in a silly clown mask could've been so much more. Just watch the trailer, it's a lot funnier than the actual movie.
Movie Score
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