Camp Blood (2000) poster

Camp Blood (2000)


USA. 2000.


Director/Screenplay – Brad Sykes, Producer – David Sterling, Photography – Jeff Leroy, Music – Ghost. Production Company – SNJ Productions.


Jennifer Ritchkoff (Tricia Young), Michael Taylor (Steve Jessup), Tim Young (Jay), Bethany Zolt (Nicole), Courtney Taylor (Harris Stanley), Shemp Moseley (The Clown), Joe Hagerty (Bradley Thatcher), Ivonne Armant (Mary Lou Maloney), Randy Rice (Mary Lou’s Lover) Vinnie Bilancio (Vic Cunningham), Ron Ford (Gus Franco), Tim Sullivan (George Guffey), Meredith O’Brien (Sally Brennan)


Two couples go camping in the area near the abandoned Camp Blackwood. A crazy they meet on the road warns them away, telling of the legend of the murderous figure of The Clown that haunts the area, killing all. This has led to the area being given the nickname of Camp Blood. As the group sets up camp, they are stalked by the very much alive figure of The Clown.

Camp Blood was the first film of Brad Sykes who has since gone on to make a string of other low-budget horror films. These include the likes of Babes in the Woods (2000), Evil Sister 2 (2001), Mad Jack (2001), The Zombie Chronicles (2001), The Coven (2002), Death Factory (2002), Demon’s Kiss (2002), Lord of the Vampires (2002), Loving Angelique (2002), Scream Queen (2002), Witchcraft XII: Lair of the Serpent (2002), Goth (2003), B-Witched (2004), Bloody Tease (2004), Mutation (2006), Plaguers (2008) and The Pact (2013). Sykes’ directorial output seems to have dried up after 2013, apart from occasional work on horror anthologies, as well as producing other films including Joe Dante’s Burying the Ex (2014).

The Slasher Film was a phenomenon that was kicked off with the successes of Halloween (1978) and Friday the 13th (1980). These spawned a long line of sequels and even more in the way of low-budget copycats – so many that the original slasher fad peaked by 1981 and was largely over and done with by 1983. Then came the hilariously meta-fictional Scream (1996), which presaged a revival of the genre, including remakes of the original films and some clever and witty deconstructions with the likes of Cherry Falls (2000), Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006), The Final Girls (2015) and Last Girl Standing (2015).

Amid this revival of the 2000s, there was a new body of low-budget slasher films fairly much repeating (and frequently homaging) the basics of the original 1980s films. Camp Blood was one of the first of these and has led to a surprising number of sequels (see below). In contrast to most of the post-Scream films, it plays everything straight. It is very dependent on repeating the familiar tropes of the genre – an abandoned summer camp where an atrocity occurred in the past. There’s even an equivalent of Crazy Ralph issuing warnings. Despite the title, we never actually visit the camp and the entire film takes places In the Woods, which leads to another slasher trope – that of the innocent backpackers stalked through the woods by a masked maniac.

Shemp Moseley as The Clown in Camp Blood (2000)
Shemp Moseley as The Clown

Camp Blood has been shot on a very low budget. There are no indoor sets anywhere throughout, for instance. The maniac’s mask is no more than a cheap clown mask. It has all been rather shoddily shot on video, which certainly makes it resemble something of the original slasher film’s VHS heyday. (The dvd release looks as though it has been copied directly from a videocassette, replete with FBI warnings etc).

For all that, Camp Blood is not entirely awful and unwatchable. The opening scene with a topless Ivonne Armant running through the woods pursued by a maniac wearing a clown mask and waving a machete feels like a perfect capturing of the essence of the 1980s slasher film. There are some passable despatches, the best of which is one with Michael Taylor and The Clown fighting around the rocky area of a small river as The Clown wields a machete.

Brad Sykes made two sequels with Camp Blood 2 (2000) and Within the Woods (2005). The series was taken over by other directors including Mark Polonia and Ted Moehring for the likes of Camp Blood First Slaughter (2014), Camp Blood 5 (2016), Camp Blood 666 (2016), Camp Blood 7: It Kills (2017), Ghost of Camp Blood (2018) and Camp Blood 8: Revelations (2020). The numbering of some of the entries appears to be out of order.

Trailer here

Actors: , , ,
Themes: , , , , ,