(A.k.a. CAMP BLOOD 3)

Brad Sykes' first two entries in the shameless slasher rip-off series that is CAMP BLOOD hardly merited a third instalment. But Mark Polonia, ploughing on following the untimely death of his co-director sibling, decided to go ahead and make one anyway.

If you're familiar with the Polonia Brothers output of old (FEEDERS, SPLATTER FARM), then you should pretty much know what to expect here...

The film opens with a quick montage of local townsfolk speaking into a documentarian's video camera about the urban myth surrounding the nearby titular summer camp. Is there really a clown-faced killer lurking in the camp's surrounding woods, ready to butcher anyone foolish enough to venture there? Some say yes, others dismiss the notion as ridiculous. One interviewee - portrayed by Polonia himself, looking a tad like an unshaven Ray Romano - insists that there's something far worse than a killer clown in those woods...

Cut to a couple of young lovers dumb enough to sail their houseboat near Camp Blood. Sure enough, the Slipknot-alike clown loiters in the nearby forestry watching them, machete in hand. But, just as he's about to pounce, another boiler suit-wearing guy in a mask appears behind him and gorily dispenses of all three of them. Admittedly, I didn't see that coming.

We then meet the protagonists: a bunch of obnoxious students who, under the charge of Professor Mallory (Cindy Wheeler), are learning about urban legends. After showing them some found footage detailing the apparent murder of another camping couple at the hands of the clown, Mallory delivers her suckerpunch to class - she wants them to venture to the camp over the coming weekend and collect evidence for and against the legend being true.

Victor (Houston Baker) is the surly one with the greasy long hair and a permanently raised middle finger. Christi (Kelsey Kaufmann) is the girl with a little more decorum about her. She's the first to receive a sinister 'phone call warning the kids to stay away from Camp Blood as they pack provisions for the weekend.

Then there's fellow student Brianna (Elizabeth V Costanzo), missing from class at the time the assignment was handed out but able to make it the camp on her own in the hope of meeting her buddies there. The others? Meh, I can't remember their names. Let's just call them "fodder"...

So, who will survive and what will be left of them? That's the question on no-one's lips as he takes us through ludicrously protracted false alarm scare scenes, stock characters such as the school's creepy janitor and a lunatic local prone to warning travellers to be on their way, and a twist that's as mad as it is obvious.

The women are attractive but, true to Polonia's previous form, he's coy about showing nudity or even have cast members curse to any great extent. Hiring friends and family as cast and crew members probably has a lot to do with this.

That just leaves the gore to satiate the needs of the grindhouse crowd that a film of this ilk is clearly likely to attract. It is very bloody, admittedly, the FX work (by Anthony Polonia) being crude but effective in its merging of old-school splatter and CGI blood spatters. Decapitations, throat-slashings, faces cleavered in half ... there's a lot of classic FRIDAY THE 13TH-esque moments contained herein. The bulk of the kills are in the daylight too, so there's no problem making out the gore.

Music from Ghost also harks back to the electronic scores of 80s horror films. The film is briskly paced too, clocking in at just 73 minutes in length.

Shot with no style and bereft of tension thanks to cardboard performances and a thoroughly disengaging script, CAMP BLOOD: FIRST SLAUGHTER does however earn a modicum of respect for the aforementioned gore, music and pace - as well as the fact that Polonia just seems like too much of a good guy to dislike his films too much ...

MVD Visual's region free DVD looks cheap with its overly dark cover art and blocky, static main menu page. The animated scene selection menu, proffering access to the film via 12 chapters is slightly more promising.

The film itself is presented in 16x9 widescreen and looks pretty good for the most part. Strong colours, stable blacks and reasonably sharp detail are all satisfying attributes; on the flip side, some of the daytime exterior shots suffer from over-exposure.

English 2.0 audio has been recorded well and plays back without problem.

The disc carries no bonus features.

CAMP BLOOD: FIRST SLAUGHTER is cheap and clumsy, but not without its own curious charms. If you absolutely love summer camp-based slashers and don't care too much for budget, invention or finesse, then this gory little clunker would probably go down well with a few beers.

Review by Stuart Willis

Released by MVD Visual
Region All
Not Rated
Extras :
see main review