Sleepaway Camp: Making the Movie and Reigniting the Campfire

Sleepaway Camp: Making the Movie and Reigniting the Campfire

by Jeff Hayes
Sleepaway Camp: Making the Movie and Reigniting the Campfire

Sleepaway Camp: Making the Movie and Reigniting the Campfire

by Jeff Hayes


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As featured in Fangoria, Movieweb, ComingSoon, Queerty, Rue Morgue, Yahoo News, Bloody Disgusting, and more!

In 1983, Robert Hiltzik’s Sleepaway Camp was quickly disregarded by film reviewers. Variety called it a “tired version of teen oriented horror film formulas," The Philadelphia Enquirer "had more thrills untangling paper clips," and The Cincinnati Post branded it "more horrible than horrifying."

But fans saw something different. Very different. 40 years since its release, the film’s unique blend of horror, tongue-in-cheek comedy, sexuality, and gender roles—along with an ending to end all endings, was seemingly ahead of its time. Sleepaway Camp is now discussed and debated more than when it was initially released.

Longtime official Sleepaway Camp webmaster, writer, and filmmaker Jeff Hayes goes behind the scenes like never before, revealing the development and making of the film, its immediate aftermath, and the more than four decades of fandom since its release. This definitive Sleepaway Camp compendium includes interviews with much of the cast and crew (with many new exclusives), more than 75 production and memorabilia images (including previously unreleased on-set stills), and takes you backstage to the reunions, retro screenings, and convention events that have united fans and reignited interest in this beloved horror tale.

Two sequels later, plus Hiltzik's retcon film Return to Sleepaway Camp, Sleepaway Camp continues to resonate in a big way with ’80s film buffs, global horror fans, and the LGBT community, all of whom enjoy their horror films…with a twist.

Welcome to Sleepaway Camp. Meet you at the waterfront, after the social.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781948221283
Publisher: 1984 Publishing
Publication date: 10/24/2023
Pages: 200
Sales rank: 1,150,490
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.75(d)

About the Author

Jeff Hayes is a filmmaker who has made independent short films, documentaries, and even a handful of experimental feature-length films (mostly horror-related, of course). Jeff has run the official site for over two decades and co-produced Robert Hiltzik's Return to Sleepaway Camp.

Jeff is also a vocalist and music producer who was lead singer for several bands and released two ’80s/’90s-influenced solo albums. He enjoys spending time with his cats Sadie and Dexter (named after another one of his favorite characters) and is a supporter of Married to his lovely wife (and always his co-producer) Cheryl since 2005, the couple reside in picturesque Massachusetts.

This is his first book.

Table of Contents


1. Pre-Production
2. Casting
3. Production
4. A Campy Environment
5. Murder, Mayhem, Two Eds, and a Bill
6. Revelations from the Big Climax
7. Post-Production
8. Frankie Vinci Interview
9. Distribution/Release
10. Cast and Crew Reactions
11. Critics’ Reviews
12. So Bad It’s Good, or Misunderstood?
13. VHS Release and Cablecast
14. Sleepaway Camp II and III
15. The Website
16. The First Big Break
17. Searching for Felissa Rose
18. Coming Soon: Sleepaway Camp on DVD
19. Felissa’s Apartment and Interview
20. Last-Minute DVD Arrangements and Commentary
21. The Comeback Trail: The Sleepaway Camp Reunion
22. Alamo Drafthouse / 2001
23. Flashback Weekend / 2002
24. Red Cross Box Set
25. Return to Sleepaway Camp
26. Sleepaway Camp Reunion 2 / 2009
27. Judy
28. Later Releases
29. Desiree Gould (Aunt Martha) / 1945-2021
30. A Critical Reevaluation
31. Return to (the Actual) Camp Arawak / 2022
32. Gender and Homoeroticism

Final Thoughts
Image Credits
About the Author

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