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Friday, 26 June 2020

Burl reviews Cheerleader Camp! (1988)

Gimme an H, gimmie an A, and what does that spell? Ha ha, it’s Burl! Yes, I’m here with a review of a cheerleader picture for you; and not just a cheerleader picture, but a cheerleader summer camp picture; and not just a cheerleader summer camp picture, but a cheerleader summer camp slasher picture! Ha ha, as you might well have guessed by now, the movie I’m talking about is called Cheerleader Camp!
The setting is remote Camp Hurrah, where the big cheering competition is underway, and our protagonists are a cheerleading crew made up of Betsy Russell from Tomboy and Private School, Lorie Griffen from Teen Wolf, Terri Weigel from Innocent Blood, and Rebecca Ferratti from ¡Three Amigos!, and also, oddly, a couple of fellows: a receding-hairline dick played by Leif Garrett from The Banker, and a portly jokester essayed by Travis McKenna, known for his apposite portrayal of an oaf in Real Men, and from his appearances in Quiet Cool and Road House! Rounding out this gang is the cute alligator mascot played by Lucinda Dickey from Ninja III: The Domination!
And of course George “Buck” Flower, whom we remember from The Fog and Teen Lust, is on hand to play a lasciviously sinister handyman who drawls and leers at all the girls, with one eyebrow raised and a bloated pink tongue, wet and glistening as a molded cherry jello, lolling slowly from his mouth to drag itself across moist, liver-slab lips to the accompaniment of slurping sounds and a graveling groan that suggests some extreme of erotic contemplation has been achieved! Ha ha, classic George “Buck” Flower!
There are plenty of catty little fights and love dramas going on at the camp, and viewers will be forgiven for occasionally forgetting this is a slasher picture at all! But eventually the murders begin, and the picture reveals itself as a whodunit with some of the reddest herrings this side of Dr. Seuss! Near the end we get a party at which the portly fellow wears a hat holding a half-dozen beers at once, straws running down to his mouth, but this hat notwithstanding he cracks yet another beer, roaring in drunken, oafish triumph when he manages to get the cap off!
The murders appear at first blush to be gory, but that impression comes from copious blood rather than proper Special Makeup Effects, along with a certain slight inventiveness of method! Ha ha, most notable among these are an incident involving some garden shears, later seen in several repeating shots with worms dancing on the tips, and another featuring a bear trap and a sheriff’s head! But the more horror-based scenes in the movie are so ineptly done that these images are utterly denuded of any gruesome power they might have otherwise had!
In fact the picture as a whole is bedeviled by the point-and-shoot direction of a filmmaker whose idea of style is having George “Buck” Flower repeatedly turn his flashlight on and off! Worse still are the characters: while some of the ladies are likeable enough, even the ditzy one, Garrett’s fiveheaded jerk is utterly intolerable, and his portly buddy, always hanging his enormous moons and blasting people with his flatulence, is just annoying! I didn’t care for the picture - it lacked pep and failed to live up to its minimal potential! I give Cheerleader Camp one giant pants!

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