Summer camp should be a place where adolescents go to enjoy nature, make crafts and clumsily discover their burgeoning sexuality with equally awkward and confused kids. Your biggest problems as a kid a camp should be figuring out the perfect prank, how to unhook a bra and beating the rival camp at softball — you shouldn’t have to worry getting slaughtered by an escaped madman, which seems to happen in the majority of camp-set movies. Basically, it should be more Meatballs and less Friday the 13th.
So we’ve put together this handy guide for parents and campers alike of the top 10 camps to avoid when choosing where to get rid of your kids for a few weeks treat your children to a wealth of life experiences next summer, so that those life experiences don’t end with their brutal, grisly death. And we didn’t mention Camp Crystal Lake, because seriously, everyone should know to avoid it by now.
10) Camp Firewood from Wet Hot American Summer
While Camp Firewood lacks the slashers that many of the other camps on this list have in common, it does boast some very inattentive counselors who spend their time going on drug binges in town, hooking up with campers, and getting into car accidents. They seem more interested in training to be awesome, trading clothing and skipping sporting events to really watch the campers. However, the kids do have the freedom to work on individual projects like preventing a chunk of Skylab from killing every other camper during the talent show.
9) Kamp Krusty from The Simpsons
Sure, the idea of sending your kids to a camp based on their favorite children’s show seems like a good idea, but when it turns out that the star is a stunningly cheap owner who built his camp at the base of Mount Avalanche, you might want to send them elsewhere. The children will learn a lot about independence and local governing, but at the expense of their health and personal safety. We recommend always listening to the camp’s theme song before singing your kids up for camp — “Hail to Thee Kamp Krusty” indeed.
8) Camp Kikakee from Ernest Scared Stupid
Set to be demolished, janitor-turned-councilor Ernest defends Camp Kikakee in a fist fight with the juvenile delinquent campers cheering him on. Kikakee is run by a Native American fellow who can’t speak English, accepts children to his camp knowing it might get bulldozed and puts a mentally deficient man in charge of children. Word on the street is that this Ernest fellow was later arrested and sentenced to death. Is that the kind of place you’d entrust your kids with?
7) Camp Blackfoot from The Burning
Normally, Camp Blackfoot might be considered a pretty good camp, except for a few minor flaws. Years ago, a group of campers let a prank get out of control and nearly murdered the creepy caretaker named Cropsy. After a few years of unsuccesful treatment at a local hospital, Cropsy was released back into the world and he returned to Camp Blackfoot… where he failed to kill campers at the actual camp, but did a real number on a group who went on a boat trip up river. The Cropsy problem has been dealt with, so things shouldn’t be too bad at Blackfoot nowadays, plus you never know who your fellow campers might be — alums include Jason Alexander and Holly Hunter. On the other hand, you never know when Cropsy might reappear, or one of his never-mentioned family members might come back for revenge.
6) The Camp from Madman
Lots of camps have murderer problems, that just seems to come with the territory. But if you happen to own one that’s also home to a mystical killer by the name of Madman Marz, who only appears when you say his name three times Bloody Mary-style, why would you tell the campers the story? Just keep it to yourself, you crazy old man! It’s a simple enough solution. Well, they don’t run such a tight ship over at this camp, which automatically crosses it off the list of potential camps to attend as far as we’re concerned.
5) Camp Arawak from Sleepaway Camp
Camp Arawak has more problems than a psych ward: one of the cooks is a child molester who says things like “There’s no such thing as too young,” a camp owner who screws the councilors and slaps kids around, and it’s lousy with awful, mean human beings like camper Judy and councilor Meg. Oh, there’s also a killer on the loose. But even after the cover up-happy owner realizes there’s a problem, he keeps things running as usual with the little kids going out on a camping trip in the woods and not watching the older kids enough to the point where they can run around, meet up with each other and slaughter innocents. That’s just bad business all around.
4) Camp Hurrah from Cheerleader Camp
Back in the ’80s, cheerleading camps were much more dangerous compared to today. Back then they were filled with boys trying to get a look at the girls and countlessmurders spawning from the dreams of attendees. Oh and Leif Garrett was there too, so you know they let just anyone in. Nowadays, cheerleader camps seem to be filled with girls actually learning how to cheer while being ogled by any nearby males with repeated screenings of Bring It On (the first one, not the one with the Heroes girl trying to krump. Forcing kids to watch that movie might be just as bad as putting them in mortal danger, though).
3) Camp North Pines from Summer Camp Nightmare
Much like Kamp Krusty, the overall theme of Camp North Pines seems to be self sufficiency and learning how to take control of your life. Unfortunately, in this case, that involves the campers revolting, taking over the camp and forcing kids they don’t like to cross a rickety rope bridge that makes the one in Temple of Doom look like the Golden Gate Bridge. Fostering independence is one thing, but trying to seceed and start your own little nation state while at summer camp? That’s a bit too much independence.
2) Space Camp
Murderers and irresponsible caretakers aren’t the only problems you’ve got to worry about when it comes to camps. Sometimes, your kids will accidentally get launched into space with an astronaut who’s never been there before. Sure, the experience might be empowering and offer kids an incredibly unique experience, but when the potential for death reaches levels higher than earth’s atmosphere, things might be a little out of control. Who are we kidding, we still want to go to space camp — just not one with a robot with enough control to launch a space shuttle on its own.
1) Camp Rolling Hills and New Horizon from Sleepaway Camp 2 & 3
It might seem like all the good camps have been sullied with innocent blood, but we promise, buying a piece of land that played host to the slaughter of dozens of campers is not a good investment, nor is it a good idea to send your kids to one of these renamed abattoirs. After every single camper at Camp Rolling Hills was stabbed, drilled and burned to death by boy turned girl killer Angela, you’d think they’d just cordon off the area and never speak of it again. Instead a couple of jerky old people — one a lazy bum, the other a horny old man — open Camp New Horizon with the idea of bringing kids from the inner city together with rich kids and putting them in the woods. The only good move the oldies made was hiring a cop as a councilor — the father of one of the Rolling Hills victims. Oh, also, don’t allow anyone who looks even remotely like the murderer from the year before on the premises under any circumstances. These simple rules should be followed by anyone looking to start a camp and, as a parent, it’s your duty to do due diligence and make sure you’re not sending your kids off to a crime scene waiting to happen.