Top 5 Camp Movies for After the Kids Have Gone to Bed
- Friday the 13th (1980) -- In this time-honored horror prototype, a group of counselors decide to reopen Camp Crystal Lake, the site where a child drowned years earlier. Unfortunately for the group of counselors, an unseen stalker starts killing them off one-by-one. The deadly Jason original spawned numerous sequels…and a whole generation added hockey masks to their Halloween repertoire. Turn off the lights for full effect.
- Wet Hot American Summer (2001) -- Starring a slew of famous faces in comedy (Janeane Garofalo, Molly Shannon, David Hyde Pierce, Michael Showalter, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler), cult favorite Wet Hot American Summer portrays a whole lot of hilarity on the last day at Camp Firewood in the year 1981. If you haven’t already seen it, do. The parody is quirky, for sure. And beware: It’s rated R for a reason.
- Jesus Camp (2006) -- This jarring documentary follows several children as they attend a summer camp that preaches evangelical Christianity. Be prepared for mature scenes and for enduring post-viewing conversation, as the doc hits on brainwashing, parental responsibility, and the great divide that exists among many Christians and so-called cults in our country. An eye-opener, albeit one that may leave you with more questions than answers, this film is worth adding to your Netflix queue.
- Indian Summer (1993) -- Alan Arkin stars in this endearing comedy about a group of camp friends who meet up at their old summer stomping grounds when they are well into their 30s. After much reminiscing, they are shocked to discover that the camp’s owner, Unca Lou (Arkin), plans to shut the camp down. This one’s a heartwarming comedy that could have gone schmaltzy but didn’t -- it succeeds due to a great cast (including Diane Lane, Kevin Pollak, Bill Paxton, and Elizabeth Perkins) -- and it’s a great option for mom and dad alone or with the kids, giving a nostalgic taste of camp “back in the day.”
- Little Darlings (1980) -- Oh, the loss of innocence…girls fighting and making up (in a real, honest portrayal of young female friendships)…jealousy…and a trio of then-teenage heartthrobs Matt Dillon, Kristy McNichol, and Tatum O’Neal -- enough said. If you saw this movie as a tween (before that word even entered the lexicon), it would have seemed like you were watching something oh-so-grown-up -- and somehow, 32 years later, it still feels like a fun romp that rings true and brings you back to the days of adolescent yearning. And oh yeah, the action takes place at summer camp.
Check out our camp resource round-up for all kinds of advice and info, a must-see if your child is heading off to camp this summer.