It’s probably fitting to start this blog by talking about Sleepaway Camp. For a 90 minute movie, this thing is overflowing with delightfully bizarre moments. Better yet, they don’t seem forced; they just seem weird. I don’t get the feeling that this comes from a normal writer trying to be weird. This comes a weird writer trying to be normal. That’s a perfect recipe curious collectibles.
Here’s the story: Frank the Cop arrives on the scene after an early murder and talks to camp owner Mel and head counsellor Ronnie. When the shit hits the fan, he returns sporting a ridiculously obvious fake moustache.
On the surface, there is not much to be curios about here. Jeff Hayes, the all-purpose Sleepaway Camp guru, explains that actor Allen Breton had another acting role between the shooting days that required him to shave off the whiskers. When he returned, they slapped that stuff on his face for continuity’s sake.
That’s all fine and good, but it’s the decision making process involved here that keeps me fascinated. Not only did director Robert Hiltzik not insist on a more realistic looking moustache, he proceeded to shoot the tightest close up in the entire film right on Breton. In a long shot, the offending facial hair would be much less noticeable, especially considering that most people discovered Sleepaway Camp during the heyday of VHS (who could resist that cover?).
Hiltzik also declined to just use a clean shaven Breton for this scene. He’s not the most memorable character and it’s entirely plausible that the character shaved it off between his trips to the camp. Obviously it’s not the ideal situation, but people are probably less likely to have noticed or cared about a clean shaven Frank the Cop.
Still, Frank’s moustache is just one more thing that lends this movie charm. If you type in “Sleepaway Camp Fake Moustache” into Google, you get plenty of results. I wonder…If I start sporting one, will people still be talking about me more than thirty years from now?