Cheerleader Camp (1987) — Give me a K-I-L-L!

“The queen will epitomize the highest ideals of cheerleading. Which are nothing than the highest ideals of mankind.”

Justin’s rating: Give me a good movie! Give this a rest!

Justin’s review: I knew that Cheerleader Camp wasn’t destined for anything beyond “disposable slasher”, but man, that is one masterful cover. A leaping cheerleader showing a little more skin than Regulation Pom allows, but once the male eye scans up to her face… AGGH! A winking skull! It’s all sorts of disturbing contrasts! There’s also a bundle of interesting activities going on in the background, including a dashing giant lizard, so detailists are bound to be satisfied.

Thus, I had to rent this film. ’80s cheerleaders in danger of a rampaging slasher? Where I have no chance of feeling bad for any of the deaths due to their dangerously low IQ’s? Sign me up!

Cheerleader Camp carries on the glorious tradition of giving a serial killer the biggest streak of luck in the world. In any normal situation, a single girl’s death — even at her own hands — would be enough to shut down a camp and bring in all of the cops and parents in the world. However, here Mr. Killer is aided by a fortuitous remoteness of the camp (“a thousand miles away from the nearest town”), a single pill-popping girl who keeps discovering the murders, a camp director who’s more afraid of losing camp dollars and thus hides the bodies, a sheriff who’s sleeping with the director and thus looks the other way, and a wide body of cheerleaders and perverts who don’t mind the competition being whittled down some.

Matters aren’t helped by the wooden acting, the dream sequences that often melt into reality without much warning, and the fact that our heroine is a deeply philosophical grumpy bear. If you can overlook all that, there’s a bit of fun to be found in its dedicated oddness — goofy mascots run rampant, death sequences are more silly than scary, and we at Mutant Reviewers can never get enough of cheerleaders trying to act like Normal Intelligent Humans. I mean, this is a camp where, after two deaths, no one seems particularly concerned about another missing girl until she’s late for a competition. Then it’s anger city directed at the corpse in question.

An example of the memorable conversations and writing prowess of this film comes from a discussion between Alligator Mascot Girl and Sourpuss Cheerleader:

Alligator Mascot Girl: You’re talking about winning. Are you sure that’s what you want?

Sourpuss Cheerleader: Wish I could be more certain. Is it for me, or for the people who are telling me what I should be doing? You know what’s scary? We’re going to be out in the real world soon. What do you win for out there? We got to be what we’re doing is what we want to be doing. Because before we figure out who wants what, a person could go crazy.

If you can wrap your head around that little dialogue without screaming and blindly running into a doorframe at top speed, then you’re a better person than I.

Didja Notice?

  • Awesome score! The skill of a 3-year-old banging on a piano! A 5-year-old thumping a wooden xylophone!
  • The director LOVES his Batman 45-degree angled shots!
  • Tipton has a bit of attitude. More than a bit. It’s engaging!
  • It’s Bob! He’s not creepy at all!
  • The giant bowtie in that girl’s hair
  • Hey, I’d want to be a mascot instead of a cheerleader, so count your blessings!
  • I didn’t want to see that guy in drag… I really didn’t.
  • A girl’s just died/committed suicide. Don’t bother calling the cops or anything.
  • That is one peppy suicide talk!
  • Mirrors in horror movies live to freak people out
  • SCARY 80’S RAP!
  • The line-up of the mascots is hilarious.
  • Average walking speed of people in horror movies: 0.2mph
  • That’s carrying a football metaphor a little to long
  • If you’re gonna wake someone up from a nightmare, you might want to take off your oversized alligator head first.
  • Bear trap to the face. Ouch.

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