An 80s Summer Slasher Film Starring….Bruce Springsteen’s Sister?!
Ladies and gentleman brace yourselves for what you're about to read.
Bruce Springsteen's sister was originally a boy who went on to become a serial killer.
O.K. so that's not totally true. Pamela Springsteen was born a girl and she hasn't killed several teenagers at summer camp in real life but she most definitely has pretended to in a pair of classic 80s campy summer slasher films.
This all started about six months ago when I started what I would call a personal movie mission. I decided to watch what are considered by horror fanatics to be the greatest of the 80s slasher films. I went down the list one by one: Prom Night (1980), Graduation Day (1981), My Bloody Valentine (1981), The Slumber Party Massacre (1982), April Fool's Day (1986), Slaughter High (1986), Friday the 13th Part 3 through 10. I think I left out a few others but you get the picture.
I thought I had covered all the essentials until I came across one called Sleepaway Camp from 1983 directed by Robert Hiltzik. This one may be the most bizarre slasher film of them all. Here's a quick summary: Angela Baker was originally a boy, Peter Baker, who was then forced into becoming his aunt's "daughter." She goes on to kill many teens and others who get in her way on the campgrounds of Camp Arawak only "she" is a "he" and, unfortunately for the viewer, this is made abundantly clear in the movie's final scene. Folks, it's flat out disturbing. That's all I can say. You'll have to watch it yourself and you can HERE courtesy of YouTuber Jonas Almgren. Just a head's up, this one is a definite NSFW (Not Safe For Work) viewing.
A handful of years went by and eventually word got around that Sleepaway Camp was gaining a cult following. The powers that be decided that, as a result, a sequel was needed. Apparently they felt moviegoers just couldn't get enough of a he/she going on a camper killing rampage. The actress who played Angela Baker/Peter Baker (Felissa Rose) in the first movie opted out, however, which meant it was time for director Michael A. Simpson to find a new actress.
Enter Pamela Springsteen, younger sister of Bruce Springsteen.
Pamela (born February 8, 1962 in Freehold Township, New Jersey) had done some acting prior to Sleepaway Camp. In fact, she was cast in her first role as a young cheerleader in 1982's Fast Times at Ridgemont High. It was her role in 1988's Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers and 1989's Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland, however, that would gain her a cult following among horror fans.
Here's a clip of Pamela from Sleepaway Camp II. I don't think her brother Bruce ever did this with a guitar string:
Before killing people with guitar strings, Pamela used them to make sweet music. Here's an earlier scene featuring the hit Pamela Springsteen song "I'm A Happy Camper":
I think Bruce should add that one to his set list.
All killing, I mean kidding aside, this is a pretty cool accomplishment. Pamela Springsteen has got some serious talent. It turns out she's also a big-time photographer who has worked with many musicians and has contributed photography work to film and documentaries. Check out Pamela's Wikipedia page to see everything she's done both in acting and photography. If you're a Bruce fan you've likely seen Pamela's work. She's photographed for a number of Bruce's singles, albums and other publicity stills. She was also credited with photography on her brother's 1992 album "Lucky Town" and credited as the cinematographer on his 1995 music video "The Ghost of Tom Joad".
Since we're talking Bruce and Pamela, let's finish with this video a fan captured of Pamela on stage with her brother in London back in 2013: