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Smoke, Flicks, and Chill: The Best of Summer Camp Cinema

When the kids are away, the parents will play!

by Sean Abrams

by Sean Abrams

Ah, to head off to camp: A time as a young’n to escape the authority of your parents, immersing yourself in a life that you otherwise wouldn’t lead and using that opportunity to learn lessons you can only pick up in these mere summer months. And for parents, this provides the opportunity for you to relax, value the time you have with and without your children, and also smoke your bud freely throughout the house without worrying who else is around.

You see, camp puts everyone involved at ease, whether you’re being shipped off or staying put. For these next five camp-related film choices (that you most definitely should smoke during), you’ll learn valuable, and different, lessons that you can only learn when you’re shacked up, bed bunk-style.

Grab a pen and get that campfire going.

Friday the 13th (1980)

Not all camp classics can have happy endings. In the first of a very popular, long-running slasher series, sex-crazed teens find themselves in the midst of debauchery at re-opened Camp Crystal Lake before realizing they’re being offed one, by one, by one. Being alone in the woods is scary enough, let alone when you’re being hunted down by a machete-wielding psychopath. And don’t even think about drinking, doing drugs, or having sex: You’ll be dead way before the sun comes up (or in this case, the end credits roll).

Munchie: Jiff, jiff jiff, pop, pop, pop.. (corn).

American Pie 2 (2001)

Because featuring American Pie Presents: Band Camp would be an absolute sin, the second installment to the pie-filled franchise suits just as well courtesy of its first introduction to the legendary ‘band camp’ that Alyson Hannigan talked so highly about back in American Pie. While the whole film focuses on the wild summer adventures of the recent high school grads of the original, one of the best storylines focus on lead Jim and nerdy Michelle, who, thanks to a trusty trombone, find they’re the perfect match. While you may agree that these ‘kids’ are clearly too old to be in a camp setting, American Pie 2 still suffices as a raunchy teen classic right before the franchise goes off the rails.

Munchie: You guessed it...Apple pie. It is after all an American staple.

The Parent Trap (1998)

Though the second half of the film may be divided between twin time in London and California, it’s the first half’s action at Camp Walden that really gets the ball rolling for lead characters, Lindsay Lohan and... Lindsay Lohan. The teen starlet (in her debut film role) finds herself seeing double as twins Hallie and Annie James, who, after terrorizing each other for half the summer, realize they argue so much because they’re actually related. After bonding over some ripped out teen magazine scraps and a food duo that is one for the ages, they band together in hopes of uniting their family once and for all and the rest is history, and well, box office gold.

Munchie: Oreos and peanut butter, of course.

Addams Family Values (1993)

There’s not much promise when you hear a sequel is being released to a film that was originally based off a 60’s sitcom but Addams Family Values is so well developed and conceptualized, there should be no real concern at all. The close-knit cooky family returns, this time utilizing the talents of children Wednesday and Pugsley for a summer camp sub-plot at fictional Camp Chippewa. As expected, hilarity ensues, a Thanksgiving-themed play gets roasted (literally), and you learn why there’s no true family like the Addams’.

Munchie: A big ‘ol turkey sandwich.

Camp Nowhere (1994)

Probably the most authentic (and poorly rated) from this list, Camp Nowhere has gone down as a cult classic due to its rambunctious, no-holds take on a fun-filled trip to summer camp. As in any teen com-dram, a group of friends who don’t originally get along blackmail their drama teacher (played by the great Christopher Lloyd) to accompany them on a trip that no parent would agree to otherwise. Life lessons are learned, as per usual, but this ‘90s hit does it in such a fun, ‘campy’ way that it’s hard not to wish you felt this experience during your youthful years.

Munchie: Some gooey, ooey, homemade smores.


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Sean Abrams

Sean Abrams is a Brooklyn native with a penchant for being the guy who eats only the pink Starbursts. He currently resides in Astoria and is an Associate Editor at Maxim Magazine. Follow him down the rabbit hole on Twitter at @seanybrams.



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