With big ’80s slasher horror hits like Friday the 13th (1980) and Sleepaway Camp (1983), it’s no surprise that film execs would look at the numbers and think, “yeah, we totally need more summer camp movies.” And that’s what they did–you probably just forgot about it. Cheerleader Camp came out in 1988 and had all the gratuitous nudity and gory slasher kills that fans of the genre love, yet it’s dropped into obscurity. Do you remember this slasher horror movie?
A Bloody Slasher Stalks a Cheerleading Camp
It’s supposed to be a classic summer as local high schools send their cheerleading squads and animal mascots to camp. They’re supposed to learn new cheers and maybe have a little harmless teen debauchery. Of course, that includes nudity and sex, sex, sex. This is an ’80s slasher after all.
Unfortunately, there’s a mysterious killer making the rounds, creatively murdering anyone who gets in their way. (If you’ve seen this, you definitely remember the cheerleader’s death by giant shears.) Cheerleaders, mascots, admin folk? No one is safe. And Alison, a girl who just wants to cheer, keeps having horrific nightmares that make her question her role in the grisly and bloody murders. If you like when you don’t find out who the killer is until the very end, then this one is for you.
A Killer Cast
For a low-budget slasher movie, Cheerleader Camp has a memorable cast. The biggest name is Leif Garret, who plays hunk Brent Hoover. He’s been in a ton of movies over the years, including The Outsiders and Joe Dirt. You might also recognize Betsy Russell, who plays main character Alison. She’s played Jill Tuck in Saw 3, 4, 5, and 6. And if you’re a Teen Wolf fan, you’ll recognize cheerleader Bonnie as drama queen hottie Pamela, played by Lorie Griffin.
Cheerleader Camp aka Bloody Pom Poms
If you still aren’t remembering Cheerleader Camp just yet, you may remember it by its original title, Bloody Poms Poms. It was released in theaters under that name in 1988 for just one week. Because of its limited release, the slasher horror didn’t do well, but it did have a bit of revival when it was released on VHS shortly afterward with the new title. And, luckily for all of us, it got a DVD releaser in 2004.
Poised for Sequels
You can’t have a good ’80s slasher without wringing the concept dry for a sequel franchise. That was the intention with Cheerleader Camp. They had a sequel written, but they ended up changing the script–probably because the first one didn’t do all that well. That sequel script turned into the 1991 film Camp Fear.
But surprise, surprise, Cheerleader Camp finally did get the true sequel they’d been hoping for. Cheerleader Camp: To The Death came out in 2014. And just like the original, not a lot of people saw it. Bummer.