CAMP BLOOD. 1999. DIRECTED BY BRAD SYKES. STARRING JENNIFER RITCHKOFF, MICHAEL TAYLOR, TIM YOUNG, BETHENY ZOLT, COURTNEY TAYLOR AND JOE HAGERTY. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
This has got to be the best bad horror film I’ve ever watched. Yes, that’s right, haha, I said bad, but I enjoyed it so much that its being a wee bit ropey in places doesn’t matter one solitary iota. I bought the DVD second-hand at one of the last shops in my locality to sell second-hand DVDs. I was instantly attracted to the cool cover, which depicts an evil grinning skull in the foreground and five silhouetted figures in the background, all backpacking away against a red sky at night.
The story is one that’s been told in many ways by many storytellers. Four gormless young people decide to spend a weekend camping in some scary woods which are supposed to be the stalking-grounds of a murderous clown. That’s right, a clown. You know, the whole clown-woods connection? You don’t? Well, me neither, I’ve got to say, but trust me, these woods have a killer clown roaming around in them somewhere, if local legend is to be believed.
The young people are led into the heart of Camp Blackwood- or Camp Blood, as it’s known locally- by a butch female guide called Harris Stanley. She immediately puts Jay in his place, which is no harm at all as Jay is an obnoxious, sex-obsessed ‘yuppie’ who thinks he’s ‘all that’ because he’s got a few bucks, a flash car and a hot girlfriend, Nicole. Harris develops a soft spot for Nicole, who’s a cute little thing who admits she’s only with the rude, horrible Jay for his massive, erm, wallet.
The other couple heading to Camp Blood are Trish and Steve. Trish seems nice and normal enough. Steve is something of a muscle-bound hottie, looking as he does like the love-child of TWILIGHT star Robert Pattinson and Joe Penny from JAKE AND THE FAT MAN. (He played Jake.)
The two couples set up camp and listen unnerved while Harris tells them a spooky story about a local man called Stan Cunningham who came home from work one day to find his girlfriend in bed with another man. He tied them both up, drove them into the woods and killed them both with a huge, I mean a positively humongous knife while wearing a hideously freaky clown mask…
There was a clue to the killer’s identity in the information I’ve already given you, by the way, but I ain’t saying any more than that… I’m sure you can guess what happens next, though. I’m sure you’ll be able to work out that, before long, the Killer Clown of Camp Blood begins to stalk the two horny couples, with bloody and macabre results…
The film is low-budget in the extreme, sometimes hilariously so. It feels like a cheap home movie made with a hand-held camera at times, not to mention that the actors, and I use the term loosely because the acting is terrible, are mostly coloured greeny-yellow instead of flesh-coloured. There’s a fun little twist at the end too which I greatly enjoyed.
The film could easily win a slew of ‘Bad Movie’ awards but it’s so funny and littered with horror movie clichés that I absolutely adored it. The music is pretty bad too, but in a cool way. I’ll be lucky if I ever have so much fun watching a low-budget horror flick again. I reckon it’d be difficult enough to find this little gem but, if you do, you should snap it up straightaway. It’s so bad it’s feckin’ brilliant.
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.
Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.
She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at: