I like to remind people that the way I review a low-budget independent film is far different than the way I review a large-budget theater release. Independent films are made with great love and hard work. All involved are hoping that their idea will spark joy in the heart of audiences. The heart and integrity is palatable on screen. The point of such films is to see people sincerely making art and not just cashing in a check.
Camp Death III in 2D took over four years to complete and director Matt Frame went to some extremes to get all the funding to complete the movie. That’s what you are in store for when you watch this movie. The director is very obviously a fan of the Golden Age of movies, ’80s cinema, of course! The movie seems very influenced by Lloyd Kaufman. Granted, I’m no Kaufman fan, but I get that his films have their own fan base and are well loved by many.
So, for starters, don’t go looking for parts one or two — they don’t exist — which is part of the joke. The movie opens with crazed killer Johann Van Damme committing mass murder at Camp Crystal Meth (a la Friday the 13th Part 2), before getting tricked and killed. The camp is re-opened a few years later as a, and I quote, “nature-based rehabilitation center for the criminally insane and institutionally unbalanced.” There really isn’t much more plot to the film. You have your typical cast of characters and, to be honest, the movie doesn’t try too hard to make everything mesh together cohesively — that isn’t really the point of the film. The movie is meta and makes fun of itself making fun of itself, a concept I’m not sure all viewers will get. Every cliched character you have seen in a film like this is parodied.
The film is odd. It certainly isn’t just a horror comedy and goes into other ’80s film genre territory several times. I did get a kick out of the thought of millennials watching this film and finding it offensive. I have seen my share of low-budget ’70s and ’80s flicks and I can tell you that the things said here are by no means over the top… were this 1983, so you have to put yourself in that frame of mind. Quite frankly, I did not think the director was trying to offend in the traditional sense, but showing us just exactly how far our sensitivities have come in the past 30-something years.
Camp Death III isn’t a film for everyone. So, here’s the thing, if Troma movies are your bag, then you might enjoy much of this film. If you like watching individualism on film, and aren’t into cookie-cutter movies or films streamlined by the machine that is Hollywood, then you might enjoy this film. If you like odd out-of-place-musical numbers (seriously) and some of the most bizarre sex scenes ever committed to celluloid (perhaps not counting fetish porn), then you might enjoy this film. Lastly, if you like quirky, ’80s-based horror films and you are old enough to have been alive when said films originally aired, then you just might enjoy this film.