An unknown killer is killing off the members of a small cheerleader group at a remote cheerleader training camp.
Director – John Quinn
Starring – Betsy Russell, Leif Garrett, Lucinda Dickey
In a way there is nothing like the eighties for run-of-the-mill slasher movies. There were plenty of them back in the day and Cheerleader Camp (which also went by the title of Bloody Pom Poms) was one of the slightly more memorable ones. To be honest I do own this movie, I bought it when Anchor Bay released it on DVD and gave it some cool extras. That said, this movie isn’t without some faults but for a classic eighties cheesy horror slasher, it’s pretty darn good.
Sure the acting can be quirky and the pacing a little slow towards the end. But you got a killer on the loose at a cheerleader camp. You got Betsy Russell who would later go on to star as Jill in the later Saw films. Veteran actor George “Buck” Flower lends his hand and he’s always great to see. You even have former teen idol Leif Garrett and believe it or not, he raps! And if that weren’t enough you also get to see in the flesh, so to speak, Playboy centerfolds Rebecca Ferratti and Teri Weigel (yes, that centerfold turned p*rn star) and Penthouse Pet Krista Pflanzer as well. Some movies just scream the eighties and this is one of them.
Poor Alison Wentworth (played by Betsy Russell). She’s our star and a cheerleader who comes from a family of privilege. Friends seem to think she has it all but Alison has some troubles. More accurately nightmares. Of being rejected. Of messing up cheers. And of course bloody, killing type ones as well. Sounds like your typical youngster.
And she is on her way with a group of her friends to a cheerleader camp (wouldn’t it figure the name of the place would be Camp Hurrah). But this isn’t going to be a summer of relaxation. The camp has a competition and as her boyfriend Brent puts it, if they win they go on to the state finals but if they lose, they’re nobodies. Nothing like a little pressure.
If that wasn’t enough Alison has to deal with Brent’s wandering eyes. This creep has no problem making the moves on his fellow competitors and even a girl on his own team. But when one of these girls ends up dead from an apparent suicide, Alison soon finds herself spiraling out of control.
Cheerleader Camp is one of those movies that is what it is. Don’t expect too much out of it and you’ll enjoy it more. All of the ingredients of the classic eighties slasher are here, including the gratuitous nudity. The only thing that is missing is the warning from the town local about the past history of the place but considering it doesn’t have any, we’ll let that one pass.
The blood and gore are for the most part rather tame, at least compared to today, but not bad for the eighties. There are some funny moments in the movie and a few that were actually intended that way! My favorite by far has a bunch of the mascots from the various teams sitting at a table trying to eat and drink with their costumes on. It’s part of their training but the way it plays out is hysterical. One of those very quick scenes that ends up being the one you’ll probably remember the most.
The actors all do their best with a few going the over dramatic route but what are you going to do. All of the stereotypical characters are here: the sleazy boyfriend, the sleazy cook, the sleazy handyman, the sleazy prankster and to top it off the sleazy sheriff. It’s a wonder any of the girls made it halfway through the film!
If you love horror movies from the eighties than I would have to say check this one out. Not the best from the decade but not the worst. For a few diehard collectors of eighties slashers I would say go ahead and purchase. A very good movie to round out the collection. Let’s face it, when the box cover art has written on it, “Give me a K, give me an I, give me an L, give me an L,” you can pretty much sign me up.
Cheerleader Camp (1988)