Movies From the Black Lagoon


CHEERLEADER CAMP - 1988, Rated R

By Tom Doty



Cheerleading championships provide an excellent excuse for placing a bevy of gyrating babes in mortal peril in this horror hybrid that proves the “slasher” film genre was far from dead at decade’s end though the same couldn’t be said for disco.

The film opens with a typical cheerleader nightmare sequence that finds young Alison showing up to perform at an empty stadium. She awakens to a find she is one of four “rah rah” girls from her squad heading to the finals . The group includes Latina -Theresa, buxom- Pam, corn fed sweetie- Bonnie, and a pair of male cheerleaders. They include studly Brent and 80’s style ‘fat comic relief guy’ Timmy.

Our sextet arrives to find that competition is fierce. This doesn’t stop everyone from stripping down for a sunbathing session which gives the flick time to introduce some potential killers. Is it the creepy cook? Maybe the high strung supervisor? It sure looks like it could be the belching ,bikini ogling groundskeeper. Now don’t leave out Timmy who dresses in drag and tries to pass himself off as one of the gang.

Soon enough we have our first victim but her slashed corpse is attributed to a suicide brought on by the jitters thanks to a gullible Sheriff. This leaves our killer free to pick off the rest of the cast in-between scenes of gratuitous showering, sun bathing, and carnal activity.

We are also treated to more dream sequences which highlight Alison’s anxiety and provide excuses for even more nudity and erotic encounters which creatively add mascots to the mix. Eventually we get more killing as well as a glimpse into the competitive nature of the school mascots.

It all comes down to a disco sequence in which the band doesn’t even lip sync properly while the cast wanders outside, one at a time, to look for missing characters while providing the killer with a fresh victim . There are some creative deaths(scissors through the head and razor pom poms) but the final twenty minutes drag on as the film tries to confuse you on who the killer is though sharp eyed horror fans will have that figured out before the end of reel one.

This is a decent killer on the loose flick but it is less successful as a sex comedy. It fails on that score though there are a few giggles when the competition gets under way and we are treated to some bad rapping and even worse dance moves. The break dancing Alligator mascot easily steals that scene.

There are a lot of 80’s stars here to enjoy and they include Leif Garrett as Brent. Garrett rocked some awesome hair as a teen but early onset male baldness doomed him to flicks like this one. Betsy Russell is pretty good as Alison but the movie belongs to Lucinda Dickey(Breakin’ 2 Electric Boogaloo) as the dancing Gator.

The original title of this hodgepodge was ‘Bloody Pom Poms” and it’s better than the one they went with since it promises laughs alongside your shocks . In a way this heralds the coming of ‘Scream” by proving you can add some laughs to “slasher” flick . Unfortunately their inspiration was ‘Porky’s.”

Best Line: “You’re pretty, popular, and have a great boyfriend.”

CHEERLEADER CAMP – 1988, Rated R

By Tom Doty

Tom Doty is a columnist for The Floyd County Times.

Tom Doty is a columnist for The Floyd County Times.

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