Cheerleader Camp – USA, 1988 – reviews

‘Competition was murder at’

Cheerleader Camp is a 1988 American slasher horror feature film about contestants in a cheerleading competition that become targets of a killer. It was also released as Bloody Pom Poms.

Produced and directed by John Quinn from a screenplay co-written by David Lee Fein (Demonoid) and R.L. O’Keefe, the Quinn/Prettyman production stars Betsy Russell, Leif Garrett, Lucinda Dickey and Lorie Griffin.

Cheerleader Camp: 2 The Death (2014) is a sequel in name only.

Plot:

A group of cheerleaders become the targets of an unknown killer at a remote summer camp where they are in competition to be cheerleading champions…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

Cheerleader Camp features all the trapping of the 80’s slasher… red herrings, useless authority, a twist ending, some T&A, POV stalk shots. The film feels like a rehash of the slasher’s greatest hits.” 80’s Horror Central

“Everything you’d expect to see in an 80’s slasher horror is here. Boobs, blood, POV shots etc. It all combines to make a good horror movie. It’s not the goriest or the smartest but it ticks a lot of the right boxes. Enjoy it for what it is.” Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging Life

“In addition to the lashings of female nudity – and a surprising amount of gore (the garden shears gag being one of the highlights) – we are also given front row seats to the demise of former teen heartthrob Leif Garrett’s career…” Horror 101 with Doctor AC

“The unremitting buffoonery doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for the slasher aspect and for the first third of the movie it is only Alison’s nightmare’s and hallucinations that remind us we are, in fact, watching a horror movie. However, it pretty successfully makes the move from broad comedy to teenie-kill epic without sacrificing its previous camp humour…” Hysteria Lives!

” …the sole raunchy comedy/slasher hybrid that completely embraces the stereotypes and tone of each respected (or not so respected) genre and mingles them into one perfect piece. By taking these traits and infusing them together, it becomes a movie that is consistent in its goal to be both comedy and horror in nearly every scene.” Oh, the Horror!

Bloody Pom Poms has the odd moment of credibility and there’s some fun to be had with the gore and attractive women. Much like a non-alcoholic beer though, it only warms the taste buds into knowing that it is a lame substitution for the real thing.” A Slash Above…

“One more poorly acted splatter from the doomed last half of the eighties, Camp is vapidity in denial… but shhh, don’t tell it that ’cause it thinks it’s ‘funny and clever.’ Russell is dull and struggles to create a sense of urgency… but fails. Most irritating is loudmouthed fatty McKenna, a talky waste of energy who seems to have escaped intact from an online horror message board…” The Terror Trap

“Produced with just about enough lip surface gloss to make it look like a slightly higher budget Sleepaway Camp; the acting is tolerable and the comedy stupid enough not to offend. Only the plain idiotic attempts to pull the wool over the audience’s eyes with regards to the killer’s identity is truly irritating.” Vegan Voorhees

“While this was obviously intended to not be taken seriously (as witnessed by the bad “rapping” moment and amusing “mascot lunch” scene) it’s still a misfire because it’s not scary enough or funny enough to entertain its intended audience. There is a few alright deaths (even if they don’t start until about halfway in)…” The Video Graveyard

Cast and characters:

  • Betsy Russell … Alison Wentworth
  • Leif Garrett … Brent Hoover
  • Lucinda Dickey … Cory Foster
  • Lorie Griffin … Bonnie Reed
  • George ‘Buck’ Flower … Pop (as Buck Flower)
  • Travis McKenna … Timmy Moser
  • Teri Weigel … Pamela Bently
  • Rebecca Ferratti … Theresa Salazar
  • Vickie Benson … Miss Tipton
  • Jeff Prettyman … Sheriff Poucher
  • Krista Pflanzer … Suzy
  • Craig Piligian … Detective
  • William Johnson … Chief Ronnie
  • Kathryn Litton … Timmy’s Girlfriend
  • Tommy Habeeb … Assistant Detective (as Tom Habeeb)

Filming locations:

Bakersfield and Sequoia National Forest, California

Technical details:

  • 89 minutes
  • Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1
  • Audio: Mono

Censorship and deleted scenes:

Despite the Anchor Bay DVD box claiming the film is uncut and uncensored, the DVD release is actually the censored ‘R’ rated version. According to director John Quinn’s audio commentary, the following scenes were cut to achieve an ‘R’ rating:

  • The “dream” erotic scenes were trimmed.
  • The shears killing was trimmed so that we only briefly see the shears getting rammed into the back of the girl’s head.
  • Due to time restrictions, a scene near the beginning of the van breaking down was deleted.
  • Also, the ambulance attendant tells Alison to “calm down” at the end. This line was cut because according to the director, it sounded bad.

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