CAMP BLOOD 666
Director: Ted Moehring
Year of release: 2016/2017
Country of origin: USA
Running time: 76 minutes
DVD/Blu ray: DVD only (as far as I know)
Tagline: "Attack of the killer clown cult".
Casting the spotlight on the slasher genre
Story: This instalment which sees Dustin Ferguson giving way in the director’s chair to Ted Moehring says goodbye to the Raven character and instead focuses on a black robed druid like cult operating within the Camp Blood area. We first meet the cult performing some sort of ritual with a clown mask on an alter. After sacrificing a young woman the cult attempt to summon forth the spirit of the Camp Blood killer. Said spirit dutifully arrives seemingly taking control of one of the cultists who promptly bumps off the others with a machete before laying claim to the mask. Things then shift to our new heroine Betsy who promptly receives a troubling phone-call from her father who reveals that her brother has gone missing. Her father claims he was last seen not far from where Betsy is currently living and he also tells her that last he heard the missing brother had joined some sort of satanic cult. Betsy is charged with the task of trying to trach him down, something she sets out to do with the help of her boyfriend Tom. The pair head out to the Camp Blood woods to start their search and attempt to enlist the help of the local sheriffs office. Meanwhile the cultist turned clown faced killer is on the rampage, attempting to cut down all who venture into the camp grounds.
Good points: The first bit of good news is that this is a big step up from the abysmal parts 4 and 5 with much more of a plot and script to work from being in evidence this time around. The story is along similar lines to what we’ve seen before so nothing ground breaking but the cult angle does offer a slightly different spin, something possibly influenced by Halloween 5 and 6. The worried sister and her partner searching for her brother also add a bit more drama to the proceedings than what we had in some of the earlier films. Although still fairly short at only 76 minutes this does thankfully actually go the full distance in that it is comprised entirely of original material. So we don’t have to suffer through endless recycled footage from previous films, something both 4 and 5 were guilty of.
The characters of Betsy and Tom are really good and make for two very likeable characters. They easily sit amongst some of the best from the Brad Sykes days. It’s safe to say that Betsy is a huge upgrade on previous final girl Raven. As far as B movies go the acting from Betsy and Tom is strong too and they interact well together coming across as a genuine couple. The sheriff character is also quite funny and there are a couple of cameos from horror B movie regulars like Tina Kraus and George Stover.
The mask this time around is back on point and again heralds a return to form being on par if not better than those used in the Brad Sykes trilogy. I was a bit disappointed that the killer simply wore a black sweater and jeans combo as I think it would have been better and more in tune with the cultist vibe if the black robes we saw early on had been used throughout as part of the outfit. The mask is fine though which is the most important thing.
After not seeing much bloodshed in number 5 this one has a much bigger body count and the gore effects are more than acceptable. The machete weapon also looks better, more vicious and robust looking with a serrated edge. The only fly in the ointment is a scene involving a severed foot which by comparison to the rest of what we see looks really fake. We don’t have the bad CGI that we saw in First Slaughter however so you take the rough with the smooth.
A solid effort has been made with the music. I’d say it’s decent enough to warrant a mention and is more reminiscent of the original trilogy. We also don’t have that awful overdone heavy breathing sound effect heard in the aforementioned First Slaughter.
Bad Points: Seeing that we have a bigger body count this time it would be nice if there were a bit more variety in the kills. Most just involved people being run through with a machete That said we do get a few attacks carried out by supernatural means. For these an electrical type looking current shoots out of the clowns eyes. Needless to say these parts didn’t look very good so I’ll mention them as a negative though to be fair it was something different.
I thought that the same setting within the woods was used a bit too much, specifically the little building being used for the alter and the path in the vicinity. This was probably a budget thing but they could have utilised a bit more of the woodland and also showcased a few more sheds//dwellings instead of just the one. Similarly the inside of the police station looked really bad mainly seeming to consist simply of a small table covered in a black tablecloth so the sheriff didn’t even have a proper desk. Think how the mental institution looked really poor in the Brad Sykes films and this is what we have here with the police station.
There are a couple of really amateur bits which let things down a little. Firstly a fisherman is killed but the presentation of it is choppy as after initially seeing him cut down we then get a quick cut but instead of the next shot showing his falling body or corpse on the ground he just disappears. There is another part involving a fight breaking out with a baseball bat which also looks really bad.
Though the story is better this time there are a couple of muddled bits which come across as confusing. On a couple of occasions, most notably at the start during the druid ceremony it is mentioned that they are trying to summon the spirit of a Sean Cunningham. I’ve watched the entire franchise in order and I didn’t even recognise this name! It left me scratching my head thinking “who”? I’ve since seen a video on YouTube from a big Camp Blood fan who attempts to make sense of the franchise storyline from start to finish and the way he explains it it does make sense and you can then work out who this Cunningham character is. It’s hardly a name synonymous with Camp Blood lore however and this YouTube fan even said himself that he didn’t understand it on first viewing.
Spoiler: near the end we also see a flashback which I didn’t think was very clear. I think it is supposed to depict Ari turning on the cult leader Caleb with help from two other cultists but it is difficult to tell exactly who is killed. Adding to the confusion with this scene is that one of those that helps Ari is a purple haired female cultist but earlier in the film she saw the clown and assumed it was Caleb but why did she think that if she’d already helped kill Caleb? Perhaps the answer is that it wasn’t Caleb killed in the flashback but rather just some nameless guy higher up in the pecking order than Ari. More clarity was needed here.
The picture quality isn’t the best and looks a tad grainy sometimes though at least most of it takes place during the day so we don’t have to worry about it being too dark to see. It sometimes seems as if the background is shaking as well.
Verdict: This is a breath of fresh air after the two previous films and is also a step up from First Slaughter as well. Two likeable leads in Betsy and Tom enhance things and more effort has gone into the story this time around. This is still a bargain basement low budget film but if you can get past that then there is definitely some fun to be had here. I didn’t think it was quite on the level of the original trilogy but at times it wasn’t far off so a marked improvement and easily the best of the series after it was rebooted in recent years. I'll be extra generous and give it a 6/10 but it of course isn't going to be on the level of some other films I've rated a 6 such as I Still Know What You Did Last Summer so I'm taking into account what they had to work with.
Bodycount (contains major spoilers):
1)Sacrificed girl: Slashed across the head and then stabbed in the back.
2)Druid #1: Stabbed in the stomach
3)Druid #2: Throat slashed.
4)Druid #3: Machete plunged through mouth.
5)Photographer: Impaled through the back.
6)Naked model: Runs into machete after killer pops up in front of her.
7)Park Ranger: Foot cut off and stuffed into his mouth after already being stabbed in the back.
8)Fisherman: Stabbed under chin.
9)Policeman Simmons: Impaled through stomach.
10)Beena (may not have this name right): Killed with machete. Can’t remember any further details.
11)Jamie: Hand cut off and stabbed in the back.
12)Ex cult woman: Stabbed with a knife.
13)Deputy: Stabbed in the stomach just out of shot. Stumbles into view with a visible wound.
14)Sheriff Carpenter: Tongue pulled out. Can’t recall if it was just that which killed him or if he was also stabbed.
15)Betsy: Stabbed in the stomach.
16)Tom: Stabbed in the back as the screen fades to black. We just hear him scream.