Cheerleader Camp (1988)

Cheerleader Camp (1988)

Give me a K – Give me an I – Give me an L – Give me an L

A cheerleading squad head up to a summer camp in order to compete in the district finals where they soon fall victim one-by-one to a unknown killer.

 

I thought I’d keep the plot as condensed as possible since that’s all about there is to this cheap late 80s slasher which is heavy on the silliness, top-heavy on the nudity, light on gore and puts a terrible strain on the attention span of anyone watching. Who would have thought watching a load of hot cheerleaders getting sliced to bits in a summer camp would be such a chore? To be fair to the makers of the film, there’s little camouflaging what they set out to make which is of the ‘boozy college dorm’s regular Saturday night entertainment’ variety.

Basically a goofy version of Friday the 13th with cheerleaders, Cheerleader Camp shows little sign of its slasher credentials as the first half of the film borders on being another tacky American teen sex-comedy set in a summer camp. All of the obligatory clichés are present including the slutty cheerleaders, the fat ‘comic relief’ guy, the weird caretaker, the perverted sheriff, uptight counselors, etc. The characters are the stock variety we’ve seen before so many times during the 80s but what really drives the proverbial nail through the skull with them is how badly acted they all are. Whether it’s intentional or not, some of the actors really grind away at the audience until you get your watch out and wait for the countdown to their demise. The script has them all engaging in various sexual shenanigans and hi-jinks around the camp.

It’s a frat boy comedy full of juvenile sexual humour where the biggest ‘jokes’ come from silly rapping and of course the obligatory scene in which the fat guy bares his ass. The biggest crime that Cheerleader Camp commits is that it thinks its funny but it blatantly isn’t. The attempted laughs fall at the first hurdle, the goofy characters are just irritating and the genuine sense of cheese that the film tries to convey really comes off harming it more than it should.

You’d have thought that the film would at least share the wealth with slasher goodies and for this I’m referring to the gore and nudity. You have to wait some time before the kills start up in earnest and even then there’s not much to savour. The film is nowhere near as bloody as you’d expect, save for one or two of the deaths, and although there’s a bit of malice involved in some of the kills, the majority of them are so routine you’ll not even bat an eye lid when one of the cast is killed off. Filled with red herrings from the start, it’s a tad too easy to spot the twist despite the best efforts of the script to keep you guessing until the very end.

There’s also a small amount of female flesh and this cheerleader camp must have the world record for the team with the biggest breasts in the world. Surely the physics required in sticking to the energetic cheerleading routines with such, ahem, ample participants, is a bit ridiculous. But the girls get naked so who cares – certainly not the guy in casting who decided to cram a load of porn stars and Playboy centerfolds into the film. Kudos to you, Mr Casting Director. Other casting comments include the star of the show, Betsy Russell who has gone on to greater recent fame as ‘Mrs Jigsaw’ in the Saw films and genre character actor George ‘Buck’ Flower as the cranky caretaker who blurts out the single funniest line of the film whilst watching the cheerleaders practice when he says “makes your pee-pee harder than a bag of nickel jawbreakers.”

 

Cheerleader Camp has some alright moments from time to time but it’s just too daft to be entertaining. Low budget, low brow and high trash. I guess some people will view it as a ‘so bad it’s good’ slasher but at a time when the slasher was on life support, even Cheerleader Camp fails to get the pulse going.

 

 ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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