Friday the 13th (1980)

It's hard to tell, as a person who never went to summer camp, do kids like going to camp. Yes? No? But in horror films, especially with the Friday the 13th franchise, the wisdom seems to be going to camp and doing things that young people would like to do is a terrible idea. Bad for your health. Maybe it's just me? Here's some horror film evidence that you should skip camp this summer.

  • The Burning (1981)

    Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

    The Burning is based on an urban legend from New York State. The legendary figure is Cropsey and has been the subject of at least two films. It is the film debuts of Jason Alexander, Fisher Stevens, and Holly Hunter. The film is surprising because it seems to be pretty light on gore and violence until a certain point when the action goes wild.

  • Sleepaway Camp (1983)

    Image Credit: IMDB

    Sleepaway Camp is another strong entry demonstrating how summer camp is not conducive to staying alive. It is justly famous for the twist ending but is remarkably nasty towards the central character Angela, played by Felissa Rose. You feel sympathy for poor Angela because this trip to camp is a real bummer for her. Granted, her life has not been easy, but wow.

  • Madman (1981)

    Image Credit: IMDB

    Madman is the second summer camp film inspired by Cropsey's urban legend. Gaylen Ross plays the lead, which was made after the production of Dawn of the Dead. She is credited under a pseudonym, Alexis Dubin, to avoid being penalized for working in a non-union role as a union actor. It has since become a cult favorite among fans. You definitely want to avoid going to this camp.

  • Cheerleader Camp (1988)

    Image Credit: IMDB

    Cheerleader Camp proves that even if you are a cheerleader, you are not in the clear. Maybe it is that because you are a cheerleader, you are really not safe. This film was from 1988, toward the end of the slasher boom of the 80s, and combines the cheerleader movie trend with the slasher trend. It stars Betsy Russell, who later played Jill Tuck, the ex-wife of John Kramer, in the Saw films.

  • Friday the 13th (1980)

    Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

    Friday the 13th is the template of everyone's imaginings of the worst summer camp ever. It all started because the counselors let a kid drown, for one thing, and the camp was closed for a good reason. Don't try and reopen the lethal camp! Leave it closed! Also, hasn't anyone told you the rules?

  • The Final Girls (2015)

    Image Credit: IMDB

    The Final Girls is more of a new-style summer camp horror movie. It tells you that if you can jump into that type of horror film, it is also a terrible idea. Of course, the characters in this movie don't have a lot of other, more appealing options. The film is more of a meta-horror comedy that humorously comments on the subgenre.

  • Stage Fright (2014)

    Image Credit: IMDB

    Stage Fright proves that even though you might hope an art-based camp would be safe, it's not. What's the reason? The killer doesn't like acting or the world of theater. These killers always have some reason that just bums everyone else out in addition to killing them. You can't win.

  • Summer Camp Nightmare (1986)

    Image Credit: IMDB

    Summer Camp Nightmare differs from most other films on this list, but still, a good reason to avoid camp. In the movie, summer camp kids revolt and take over the camp from the adults. So there isn't a masked killer, but kids who let power go to their heads while the situation spirals out of control. It stars Chuck Connors as the controlling camp director.

  • Summer Camp (2015)

    Image Credit: IMDB

    This is another step away from the slasher summer camp horror tropes. Summer Camp (2015) is a Spanish horror film about four American camp counselors who are there to teach Spanish kids how to speak English and find that a rage virus has started turning people into violent killers. So you have rage zombies and summer camp. This sounds like a lot of fun to watch, but another reason to avoid summer camp.

  • You Might Be the Killer (2018)

    Image Credit: IMDB

    You Might Be the Killer is yet another riff on the slasher formula. This time, it is more supernatural with a mask that causes the person wearing it to become a slasher killer. A good-natured camp counselor Sam, played by Fran Kranz, wakes up with the dead bodies of his fellow counselors and starts to suspect he might be responsible. He calls his horror movie expert friend Chuck, played by Allison Hannigan, for help.

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