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Retromedia presents
Camp Fear (1991)

"There isn't a serial killer or some kind of maniac around here, is there?"
- Tiffany (Peggy Sands)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: June 17, 2005

Stars: Vincent Van Patten, Betsy Russell, Erika Nann, Peggy Sands
Other Stars: Mindy Meyer, Buck Flower, Tiny Ron, Mark Twogood, Michelle Bauer, Shannon Wilsey, Don Courtney
Director: Thom A. Keith

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nudity, violence)
Run Time: 01h:26m:48s
Release Date: April 05, 2005
UPC: 014381046021
Genre: horror

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C- DC-B- D

DVD Review

I always hate it when potential is wasted, and in the campy horror/T&A genre the boundaries are fairly wide open, with room to go wonderfully over-the-top, because when the plot gets dull (as it invariably does), a skinny dip or refreshing shower by some anonymous starlet always serves to properly numb the senses. But there isn't really anything more downright deceptive that when a director frontloads all the gratuitous nudity in the first ten minutes, which is what Thom Keith did in this forgettable 1991 sorority girls vs. a giant druid flick.

As bad as this film turned out to be, the lurid promise that Keith displayed in the first ten minutes made what followed even more disappointing. Scream queen icon Michelle Bauer (Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers) and late adult film star Savannah (billed here under her real name, Shannon Wilsey) both have lengthy, completely unnecessary shower scenes, sandwiched in between plenty of additional topless jiggling by assorted random sorority sisters. Things seem to be shaping up for skin-heavy horror romp, but then Keith decides to actually tell a story, which was his second mistake—his first mistake being not to include Michelle Bauer in the rest of the film.

You almost have to like a movie where the supposed rugged male lead is a softie like Vince Van Patten, here playing a professor at a women's college who has no problem bedding down with Jamie, who just happens to be one of his students—played by The Avenging Angel herself, Betsy Russell. Van Patten's Prof. Hamilton takes Jamie and three of her sorority sisters (Erika Nann, Peggy Sands, Mindy Meyer) on a backwoods camping trip to Mystic Mountain in search of some ancient Indian artifacts, but they run into a dangerous motorcycle gang, a towering druid priest and some sort of sea monster, all blended into some end-of-the-millennium story that is short on nudity and long on pointless time-filling.

That's not even to mention the Erika Nann song sequence, where her character Wendy livens up a bar with some bland Latin-flavored pop song for no apparent reason. It goes on for what seems like forever, complete with an overly into it couple with some very polished moves, dancing like they're on Dance Fever. The closest this scene comes to being remotely tolerable is when Peggy Sands (with probably the best acting of the bunch) cuts loose with some gyrations that don't fit the music at all, but are certainly fun to watch.

I'm not sure what director Thom Keith was trying to make here, because all the upfront nudity hinted at something a bit more randy, which sadly vanished once the badly acted plot kicked in. It's almost a bait-and-switch scenario, because dope that I am I keep thinking as this thing rolled, "oh, I bet this is the scene were Peggy Sands decides to go swimming." No such luck.

Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: D


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Camp Fear has been issued in 1.33:1, in a mildly grainy transfer full of abundant scratches and specking, especially during the second half. Colors are somewhat soft, but not altogether awful. Night scenes are almost unwatchable, however, with muddy black levels that really following the action a challenge.

Image Transfer Grade: C-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: Audio is presented in a very ordinary Dolby Digital 2.0 mono mix, and it delivers flat, but understandable dialogue with a minimum of clipping.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 11 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: No extras other than a very long, very weathered trailer, and 11 chapter stops.

Extras Grade: D


Final Comments

There isn't really a camp in this film, and from my standpoint no real fear. A handful of topless women in the first ten minutes (including the great Michelle Bauer) turns into yet another plodding, low-budget horror film, with the only saving grace being the dry wit of Peggy Sands.


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