Summer is upon us. Covid-19 still reins supreme, all the pools are shut down for the season, bars are once again closed, and I’m working less than I ever have before. Now with all this stressful time on my hands, and my recent deletion of instagram, I get to watch summer horror movies on VHS to keep myself motivated and forget about how insignificant life is. I’ve loved fashion all of my life. Ever since horror movies gripped me as a kid and the interest grew fully during High School, I realized that my love of horror and my love of fashion were beautifully intertwined. Not a movie went by that I didn’t make note of everything the characters were wearing and judging them not by their actions but by their outfits. As a woman of color in a world with no foreseeable future, there’s nothing quite like the impending doom of current life to give me the push that I’ve needed to put this love of horror and fashion together in a consistent place. Now I can give killer reviews of the style that exceeded expectations, ruined scenes, built characters, and made me fall in love with the horror genre. Let’s not waste anymore time. The very first summer horror fashion review I’m giving is for the iconic 1988 slasher Sleepaway Camp II : Unhappy Campers.
If you’ve never seen this movie before, do yourself the favor because it is 81 minutes of 80s slasher glory. An iconic performance by Pamela Springsteen as the transexual camp killer who picks off each victim in a great and surprising way. This movie doesn’t leave you with too many unanswered questions, and the ones it does leave, linger nicely in the back of the imagination. Let’s talk the look: Super simple and effective. A baby blue Camp Rolling Hills t-shirt that is the ultimate fashion statement of this film along with belted khaki high waisted camp shorts. This is the outfit choice for the majority of the film. The reason this look works so well is because of the subtlety and purity of the combination. You think, nothing bad can ever happen to someone in a cute pair of khaki shorts. This creates a perfect palette to work wonders from, and wardrobe supervisor Laura Paris HAD to know this in her efforts along with her assistant Tracy Thornton. They get all my praise on this combo. It’s a simple choice, sure, but thinking about the little details they threw in to each look is what makes it so great.
In this movie there are three main girls that the film circles around, the villain, the bad girl, and the good girl. That’s it. Super straight forward and to the point. The way that this simple camp outfit was styled slightly different for each actress helped to build their attitude and character throughout the narrative.
Let’s talk about the bad girl: Ally, played by Valerie Hartman, is the sexually free and ready to bang because why the fuck not kinda gal. She also doesn’t give a damn about anyone else but herself. Classic hot bad girl with big messy 80s hair who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to take it. A true icon. Her sleeves were often rolled up with her shirt tied in a side-knot above her waist. Her shorts were chosen to be form fitted and probably the greatest khaki shorts I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m STILL on the hunt for these because Ally looks stunningly gorgeous literally the entire film in these shorts.
The added touch on these shorts is that the bottoms are also rolled up once to be even shorter than anyone else’s. GREAT detail. The belt they chose for her was a chunky canvas type in a tan color that created the slightest color change to the khaki with a big gold buckle. Perfect vibe for a camp bad ass. Let’s be honest, Valerie Hartman wore this outfit like a goddess, even when being shoved into that leech infested toilet. Everything about this look was tailored to her character and her personality in this film. Hats off.
In comparison to Ally, we have the girl next door and her exact opposite, Molly, played by Renée Estevez. She’s the camp good girl who is so nice it’s hard to be mad at her. It just so happens that Ally and Molly are into the same dude throughout the film, which makes for spicy moments and even more chances to enhance the parallels between them.
The same exact camp staples are chosen for Molly but I bet you can already pick up on the differences here. The shirt isn’t fitted to her body or tied in any way to reveal even the slightest bit of skin, its a little loose and tucked into the high waisted shorts, contributing to her modesty and character. The rolled sleeves look less like attitude here and more like it’s just a hot day at camp. The hair choice for this outfit is fantastic, well combed and clean and partly up with a barrette holding it in place. The perfect goodie good camp look.
It’s obvious that the biggest change to this look is the choice in khaki shorts. They are baggier, bunched in the front, and not form fitting whatsoever. Again, a nod to her modesty in character, her inability to want to show anything off, even her curves. This is a perfect choice for her. The belt doesn’t look like it’s wanting to be a part of this outfit, fastened tightly in a “you won’t get in” kinda way. The differences between Ally and Molly’s camp style is imperative to their opposites in characters.
Lastly we have the camp villain, Angela, played by the lovely Pamela Springsteen who is the most innocent looking girl of them all. She ironically shares attributes in her fashion to both Ally and Molly, taking the good girl but definitely bad girl vibe to a new place. If you notice, she has the same shorts as Ally throughout the film but they are baggier. Angela doesn’t roll up her camp t-shirt sleeves, and always has her hair either back in a pony tail or braid.
The inconspicuous hat on her head as a camp leader and counselor solidifies her as ‘harmless’. The knife on her belt is all the more girl-scout-innocent looking. With such a ‘simple’ camp outfit, this killer character is anything but simple. The little chunky wrist watch, the details on the strap of her camp guitar, to the Camp Rolling Hills sweater in the same baby blue all give exactly what the viewer needs, a complex character with conflicting style that helps to develop her till the end.
Angela is definitely one of my all time favorite slasher movie killers. The way she brings every look together in her rising insanity in the film just helps make her more terrifying. Who knew fashion could be so fucking killer!
Till next time summer dreamers,