Summer Camp (1979)


The owner of a failing summer camp invites past campers, now young adults, back for a nostalgic weekend in hopes of raising money to keep the camp going. Summer Camp features all the stereotypes and clichés you could imagine — the food fight, the toga party, the panty raid, the girls vs guys athletic competition, the slut, the virgin, etc. But to be fair, part of the charm of teen sex comedies is checking off the boxes.

While the cast seem to be having fun and the film delivers the obligatory ‘T & A’, Summer Camp is held back by its super-low production values and pervasive goofiness. Cinematography is murky and dark at times and nearly the entire film is played out in wide shots. It’s hard to get to know any of the characters when no one ever gets their close-up. The film could have distinguished itself with a little more genuine charm. There’s opportunity in a subplot involving one of the young men and the camp owner’s bored wife, but the scenes are shot and lit in such forgettable ways, they barely register an emotional response.

Summer Camp may still appeal to fans of grindhouse/exploitation cinema. But for any mainstream appeal (like that found in future hits Porky’s or The Last American Virgin), it’s too par for the course and lacking a key, underappreciated ingredient — sincerity. Notable cast members include Linnea Quigley (Return of the Living Dead) and Walter Olkewicz (Twin Peaks), both using pseudonyms.

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