A group of teens around a campfire are about to be beset by one of the most sinister of intrusions; the dreaded sax kazoo. It blares in the background, while a killer lies waiting, poised to commit axe-assisted synthicide. On inferior keyboards, the sax kazoo is the sound you get when you try the saxophone setting and get more of an electro-funk kazoo instead. The score eventually settles down to a somehow more tolerable “let’s saw some steel tubing and mic it” refrain. Either way, a killer lays waste to a gaggle of teenies, and that is what is important here.
I suppose some time has passed, as it is now morning, and some lame ass family is on a RV camping trip. The father constantly demands that his wife serve him beer, as he mentally lives in an olden time where, yes, women exist solely to fetch bottles of Busch Lite. The rest of the family constantly bitches about having to rough it in a RV, but pops looks forward to the idea of becoming one with nature, possibly salvaging a shattered manhood that cannot be rescued by beer alone.
Some old asshole with his own RV shows up to share the same campground space. They all sit around a campfire and wax poetically about the magical invention known as the microwave oven. The old man even says that the dad is lucky because he has "a pretty little cook", reinforcing the husband’s views on the role of women (i.e. just duct tape her mouth and crazy glue a spatula in her right hand). The old man’s son is a mongoloid gimp (or whatever the correct medical term; alas, a doctor I am not), and he keeps him chained up in the RV. As far as campground horror movie red flags go, that's a pretty big one.
The teenage daughter goes out for a walk, becoming one with nature by drinking, smoking, and busting out the walkman (she’s got a sweet drum machine loop tape). Well, the old man sets his son free in a nefarious plan to steal the family’s spectacular microwave oven, and, of course, he starts slaughtering everybody instead. The massive guilt of causing the snuffing out of innocent lives for the sole purpose of being able to nuke a frozen burrito causes pa to drop stone dead of a heart attack.
A couple of camp counselors show up, and the nerd one (Regis; not that Philbin asshole) hits on counselor Debbie. She is utterly repulsed and, naturally, Regis assumes she’s a lesbian. This thought saddens fellow counselor Rob, as it lessens his chance of being able to perform gynecological experiments on her. We then cut back to our poor teenage girl with the walkman, who is still on the run from the mongoloid. Fortunately, she is saved by the sheriff, her young life still...oh no, it's actually the killer in disguise. He was apparently tired of the gimp straightjacket look and borrowed the dead sheriff’s costume. Well, I guess you gotta mix it up sometimes. Surprisingly, he also knows how to drive and runs her over, despite being presumably chained in a basement somewhere his entire life. But I guess Michael Myers did too, so I'll give it a pass.
Denim makes marshmallow roasting even more glamorous.
Of course, Debbie’s car dies, and she ditches the piece of shit and instead goes motoring along on her tennies. The former gimp (now sheriff of mongoloid land) drives by Rob and Regis and gives them a scary look, as if to say "there’s a new pork chop in charge!”.
In the interim, sheriff gimp happily offs a group of teens and, during the slaughter, we learn via voice over that the gimp is getting revenge because he used to live at the campground with his parents. I guess he believes that the presence of mulleted schmucks making out in tents sullies the warm memories of a beautiful childhood chained to the inside of an RV in the middle of the woods.
More importantly, we get an awesome pop culture reference when a girl says that the shower facilities are “straight outta The Flintstones”. The shower nozzle is clearly not dinosaur-based, so I guess she means the non-dinosaur nozzles that rich families got to use in dinosaur times, unavailable as they were to a schlubby family like the Flintstones.
Regis, on top of sparking jealousy in the viewer with his awesome Amazonian dominatrix of a girlfriend, also apparently thinks he's General Patton. He gives a big speech about the sacrifice and dedication needed to achieve the ultimate goal; namely, the certificate of camp counselor authenticity, a piece of paper so powerful it will part the camping job market like the red sea, leaving a dry pathway in its wake for the counselor corpses of those not adept at forresty oneness.
(THINGS ARE GETTING SPOILER-Y PEOPLE)
The nerd finally tells the story of the gimp over a campfire replete with marshmallowy goodness. Of course, they believe he is still in the gimp hospital for his legendary axe murders of previous lore. Promptly proving them wrong, the gimp hacks up the dominatrix girl and dutifully gives Regis the asshole treatment he deserves, hacking both his arms off before blowing his brains out.
The real ham patrol is finally catching on that something might not be kosher in Denmark. They find one of the bodies deduce that it’s an isolated incident, despite a local nutball intoning otherwise (as they are wont to do). A detective finally investigates the campground, finding a group of faceless schmucks gathered around a campfire singing "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain". Through careful professional inspection, he notices that it’s merely a supremely complicated pulley system involving a bunch of dead bodies, with a boom box is playing the "Popular Campfire Songs You Wouldn’t Be Caught Dead Singing" series from Time Life Books. This gimp dude is actually more resourceful than I am. That'll teach me to judge the intellect of guys who drool and moan whilst chained to an appliance.
For the ladies.
There is, of course, a final girl showdown, which is layered with the fact that the cops are trying to help her, but the killer is still wearing his ham suit. Thankfully, they take full advantage of this when the girl blows off the head of one of the “innocent” bacon badgers. Good riddance to bad pork, I say.
When she is saved the next morning, we see that she has slipped into madness, ready to be fitted for a gimpy costume of her own. Maybe she’ll eventually escape from the padded nutbox (that might not be the correct term), restarting this cycle of campground slaughter in a potential sequel. Not to mention, the sheriff gimp is still at large, and with campgrounds littered everywhere, the possibilities are endless.
Rather than the usual sequel, maybe they should branch it out with a mini-series, stitching together the Moonstalker story like a sprawling novel about the struggle between good and evil in all of its forms. At this point, it’s probably wishful thinking that this saga will ever be properly fleshed out, considering I am one of five people that has seen this movie. Even so, I can’t help but suspect that an entire generation was denied their East of Eden.
I know what you're thinking; I've seen this song and dance before. Teens go camping and get killed by a dude with genetic issues. However, Moonstalker subtlety weaves rich plotting into scenes of 30-year-old teens standing around a campfire waiting for an axe to the face. However, I pretty much gave everything away in this review, ruining the movie and possibly destroying lives. I'm sorry. I needed something to talk about. Please forgive me.
P.S. It should be noted that I like all campground slasher movies regardless of quality.
P.P.S. This is the first review in the 2012 Lazy Baker Halloween Horror Countdown! Ten more to go this month, which sounds like a lot, to be frank.