Best Camp Movies
And, the Award Goes to…
If you have ever been to a summer camp, you know that there is no other experience like it. I worked at a sleepaway summer camp for five years, and that experience has influenced a lot of the life decisions I make. You grow bonds with people faster than you ever thought possible. My camp friends are some of my best friends, and I am sure they will remain lifelong friends.
There are a lot of movies that have camp settings—some are funny, some scary, and some downright scary. If you ever went to, or worked at, a summer camp, I’m sure you can enjoy these movies. For those of you who haven’t had this experience, you can live vicariously through these flicks.
The Cutest Camp Kid Comedy Award: The Parent Trap
The original version of this movie, with Hayley Mills, is just way too cute. The story is about two identical twin girls who didn’t know each other existed until they meet for the first time at a summer camp. Starting out as enemies, they become friends…and switch places when it is time to go home. This is a great family film that will keep everyone laughing at the all the hijinks.
Although the entire film doesn’t take place at a summer camp, a good amount of it does. And you will get some classic camp scenes with socials and trick playing. The cabins are priceless.
The Teen Angst Camp Drama/Comedy Award: Little Darlings
This movie might be called Little Darlings, but the girls in this teen flick are anything but. It starts out with the typical teenage girl movie cattiness, resulting in the two main characters in a bet to see who will lose their virginity first. Honestly, it isn’t the best movie ever, but it does examine how girls view puberty and their “first time.”
You would be hard pressed these days to find a camp that lets campers and counselors get away with the kind of stuff that happens in this movie—too many liabilities, but it still captures the essence of the summer camp experience.
The Tear Jerker Camp Movie Award: Indian Summer
I first watched this movie when it first came out in 1993, but didn’t appreciate it as much as I do now that I’ve spent time at a summer camp. The movie is about group of adults invited back to their childhood summer camp for a reunion during an Indian Summer. The camp director treats all of them like campers, and forces them to participate in the same activities they did as children. The movie is great because it captures the unique relationships only those who have gone to camp together can experience. During their trip, old memories resurface and they are all faced with difficult decisions. What will they do? You’ll have to watch to find out.
The Pee-Your-Pants Camp Weird Comedy Award: Wet Hot American Summer
This is one funny movie for those of you who appreciate weird humor. If you are easily offended, don’t watch it—remember it is Rated R (gasp) for a whole lot of sex, obscene language, and drug use. It holds a special place in my heart because it was filmed about half an hour away from my summer camp.
It is definitely an exaggeration of the things that happen at camp, but so funny. If you have a kooky sense of humor, you will get a kick out this camp movie.
The Raunchiest, Best Line Camp Comedy Award: American Pie
This movie is not at all about a summer camp (unless you count one of the many spinoffs), but it does have the line that everyone remembers: “This one time, at band camp…” Now nobody can tell camp stories without someone flashing this line at them. Yes, that’s right. I’m recommending this movie just for that line.
If you don’t mind watching a bunch of oversexed (or wannabe oversexed) teenagers acting like morons, this movie is for you. It has some pretty crude humor, but if you have to choose—go with Wet Hot American Summer for some real laughs.
The Silliest Slasher Camp Horror Award: Sleepaway Camp (1, 2, & 3)
I first saw these movies during my “I love scary movies” phase as a teenager. But these are not scary movies—these are funny slasher flicks. If you have a sense of humor, you will laugh your way through the Sleepaway flicks. If you don’t have a sense of humor, you will think these are the dumbest movies ever. Beware—the killer in this movie has no mercy for anyone “fornicating” at camp. Funny lines:
“Is that a gun?”
“No, it’s a drill!”
The Make You Scared of Camp Horror Award: Friday the 13th
I have only seen bits and pieces of the Jason movies, but I do not plan on ever seeing them. These aren’t the silly scary movies that make me laugh. If you watch these movies, you will probably have a hard time walking across a summer camp alone at night (and that is a fear I cannot afford to have). Apparently, Jason Voorhees drowned at Camp Crystal Lake because the counselors were too busy hooking up to pay attention to him. Well, Jason comes back to chop to pieces any teenager dumb enough to come back to the camp. You want to be too scared to go to camp? Watch the Jason movies.
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