Son of Sleepaway Camp?

It’s common practice for movies, TV shows, etc., to be re-titled for different parts of the world. This is done to avoid issues such as copyright infringement, confusion over words, phrases, or references the audience won’t be familiar with, or unwelcome associations with something from a country’s past. WWE’s (mostly) annual Elimination Chamber event, for example, is known as “No Escape” in Germany because “elimination chamber” to them evokes images of the gas chambers used during World War II, and we all know they like to forget about that. Likewise, in Italy, the Disney movie Moana goes by “Oceania” because Italians associate that mononym with celebrity pornstar Moana Pozzi.

I’ll give you a second to Google her videos.

In the VHS era especially, distributors played fast and loose with their titles, extending multiple series by marketing unrelated movies as sequels to each other. It’s fun to look back at these makeshift series and wonder what the hell they were thinking. So many random choices were made. Scroll down, you’ll see what I mean.

LA CASA MOVIE

ACTUAL MOVIE(S)

La Casa

The Evil Dead (1981)

La Casa 2

Evil Dead II (1987)

La Casa 3

Ghosthouse (1988)

La Casa 4

Witchery (1988)

La Casa 5

Beyond Darkness (1990)

La Casa 6

House II: The Second Story (1987)

La Casa 7

The Horror Show (1989)

TROLL MOVIE

ACTUAL MOVIE(S)

Troll

Troll (1986)

Troll 2

Troll 2 (1990)
note: totally unrelated

Troll 3

Quest For the Mighty Sword (1990)
The Crawlers (1993)

DEMONS MOVIE

ACTUAL MOVIE(S)

Demons

Demons (1985)

Demons 2

Demons 2 (1986)

Demons 3

The Ogre (1988)
The Church (1989)
Black Demons (1991)

Demons 4

The Sect (1991)

Demon’s 5: The Devil’s Veil

The Mask of Satan (1990)

Demons 6: Armageddon

The Black Cat (1989)

Demons 7: The Inferno

Dark Tower (1989)

New Demons

Demonia (1990)

Demons ’95

Cemetery Man (1994)

Why were House 2 & 3 “La Casa” movies, but not 1 or 4? We’ll probably never know. One of the strangest products of this bygone practice is “Son of Sleepaway Camp”, an “international version” of Memorial Valley Massacre (also known as Memorial Day and Valley of Death) which is notable for reusing Edward Bilous’ score from Sleepaway Camp without crediting him, and adding hardcore inserts.

Hol’ up, hardcore inserts? I thought the objective here was to fool people into thinking Memorial Valley Massacre is somehow related to Sleepaway Camp. There isn’t any hardcore fucking in Sleepaway Camp, at least not that I remember. Most of the actors were kids, so that would be weird. I’d love to know what the reasoning was behind bumping the rating from R to X. Maybe the shadowy distributors were trying to outdo Sleepaway Camp‘s infamous penis shot by being even more explicit.

Credit: Jurassic Park, Universal DVD

I’d love to know what “international version” means too. Like, here, in this context. What country specifically was this cut was created for? It would have to be one that spoke English, hadn’t already released Sleepaway Camp with a different title, wasn’t fussed about copyright, and allowed hardcore pornography. That’s gotta be a short list of countries. In my opinion, all signs point to Italy. Or should I say all roads lead to Rome?

Let’s look at the title. Like some of the others above, it tries to force a connection by suggesting the killer is the son of the killer from Sleepaway Camp. That’s not possible, though, for two reasons.

Credit: Spectrum Media DVD

I’ll assume if you’ve made it this far, you’re familiar with the Sleepaway Camp series. If I’m wrong in that assumption, go watch it. You’ll have fun, I promise. Spoilers ahead.

It centers on a teen boy named Peter who not only witnessed the tragic boating deaths of his father and sister Angela, but was secretly raised as said sister by his twisted aunt Martha. He may have also seen his father have sex with a man. If that’s not traumatic enough, Peter is bullied and nearly molested one summer at camp, which sends him over the edge. He embarks on a quest to kill every single person who was mean to him and his cousin, racking up eleven victims in total. After the first movie, he’s institutionalized, and is either released following sex reassignment surgery to become female, or escapes. The series diverges into two separate timelines.

A graphic I made.
Sleepaway Camp font credit: Fanart.tv

In Memorial Valley Massacre, a feral twenty-something-year-old — the credits call him “Hermit”, although he’s more of a stereotypical caveman — sabotages a newly built campground to prevent civilization from encroaching on his sparsely forested home. He starts off by throwing a dead dog in the camp’s water supply, then leaves a pile of snakes on a picnic table. Head contractor/park ranger George Webster responds to a family’s cries for help. “Goddamn, those are poisonous.” he says nonchalantly. First of all, no, they’re not. They’re common garter snakes. Second of all, the word he’s looking for is venomous. George proceeds to beat the poor snakes with a shovel while another guy sprays them with a fire extinguisher.

When scare tactics don’t work, Hermit just kills everyone.

Son of Sleepaway Camp seems to want us to think Hermit is Peter’s son. Problem is, that would contradict the film’s big reveal. Hermit is actually George’s son. He was kidnapped at a young age and got lost.

Besides, it’s virtually impossible for Peter to have had a kid anyway. He’s fourteen in Robert Hiltzik’s original, is too shy and naïve to have had sex before, and is presumably apprehended by the cop with the fake mustache the moment the film ends. Like I already said, he’s given a sex change at a psych ward between 1 and 2, meaning he’s sterile in 2, 3, and 4. Return to Sleepaway Camp nullifies those sequels, but wasn’t released for another two decades, making it a nonfactor.

Unless these distributors expect us to believe Peter, hereafter referred to as Angela, impregnated someone at fourteen, I’m just not buyin’ it. I’d have an easier time believing Hermit is Angela, but nobody thought to go that route.

Let’s re-examine the title. How else can we interpret it? Literally, with the parent being the camp? Syntactically, that makes no sense. “Sleepaway Camp” is both a place and a title, but one thing it’s not is a person. So how can it have a son? That’s like naming your movie “Son of House on the Edge of the Park” or “Bride of Beyond the Door III”.

Credit: Spectrum Media DVD

Since neither parentage is possible, the only way to interpret the title is figuratively; Hermit isn’t a literal male descendent of Sleepaway Camp, i.e., Camp Arawak, he was simply shaped or influenced by what happened there somehow. Ok. Maybe he saw Angela killing folks and it messed him up. Works for me.

Now that we’ve done all these mental gymnastics to rationalize the title, I should tell you something important… there are two — yes, two — versions of Son of Sleepaway Camp floating around. I’ve never actually seen the original. The version I unwittingly bought on DVD is a fan edit which makes even more changes to boost the connection.

One thing my copy does, for example, is crop out two signs reading “Memorial Valley Campground”, in an apparent attempt to relocate the film to Camp Arawak. It also removes all the hardcore penetration, yet amusingly leaves softcore remnants of the inserts behind. At 43:19, it zooms in on a woman’s wet t-shirt and makes a cartoonish “boi-oi-oing” sound effect followed by a moo. Why, I don’t know.

Furthermore, it adds:

• “Angela’s Theme (You’re Just What I’ve Been Looking For)” by Frankie Vinci to the background of a dialogue scene
• “Sleepaway” by John Altyn to the end credits
• “Straight Between the Eyes” by Anvil to the end credits

These songs are from Sleepaway Camp 1, 3 and 2, respectively, and they’re bangers. Speaking of the credits, additional text has been sloppily superimposed over them. It reads:

Credit: Spectrum Media DVD

The only correct part about this is the “written by” section. It’s curious that Jim Markovic is listed as producer. I think it goes without saying, but Jim Markovic had nothing to do with this movie. He filmed the test footage for Sleepaway Camp IV: The Survivor. None of that footage was used or even referenced here.

The DVD ends with a poor-quality blue and green image of Angela’s iconic face.

Credit: Spectrum Media DVD

I can’t help but laugh at all the effort that went into forcing this square peg into a round hole. Memorial Valley Massacre and Sleepaway Camp are nothing alike, no matter how many edits distributors and rogue superfans make. If I absolutely had to pick a movie to market Memorial Valley Massacre as a sequel to, I’d go with something more obvious, like Don’t Go in the Woods… Alone!. Both feature murderous hermits.

My copy.

I don’t recommend buying this disc. It boasts an extremely crummy transfer, cheap, pointless edits, and no extras. If you know where to find the original, “untampered-with” version of Son of Sleepaway Camp, or have any info about it, or just want to talk, I urge you to comment.

I knew I’d seen this cover image somewhere before, and as it turns out, I had. It’s an altered portion of a Sleepaway Camp poster used for an Alamo Drafthouse screening, illustrated by Justin Erickson, probably taken without his permission.

A Few Thoughts on “They All Must Die!” (1998)

They All Must Die! (only properly spelled and pronounced with an exclamation mark) is an obscure, ultra-low-budget, black take on I Spit on Your Grave. It was shot with a digital camcorder in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, New York, by eighteen-year-old reformed gang member Sean Weathers. While its picture and sound are quite poor, they do give it a rawness.

It was nice to finally sit down with it. Not because it’s “good” or “fun” or in any way enjoyable. It’s a rape-revenge movie, after all. Those are innately unpleasant. This one especially seems to want to offend people. Sexual violence alone is hard enough to confront. They All Must Die! goes a step further and factors in racism — black on white, white on black, even black on black. I know a vocal few will say blacks can’t be racist because they’re not in a position to oppress people. I consider this a dangerous line of thinking. It encourages them and other minorities to embrace and act on their own prejudices as if there’s nothing wrong with it, no consequences. I mean, look what happens here. A woman is brutally gang-raped.

Credit: DVD

In 2012, Weathers told Indie Horror Films, “All of the characters on screen in the film are based on real people I knew growing up; real situations that happened, real feelings and emotions. Back then, black people in the inner city felt that whites had taken everything from them and all they had left was the ghetto. It didn’t matter if the white people who entered the ghetto were a part of interracial dating, coming to buy drugs, or even teachers that taught in local schools. They all got it in the end if they overstayed their welcome, or said or did the wrong thing to the wrong person.”[1]

The DVD cover is plastered with phrases that harken back to the ad campaigns of the 70s. For example, it proudly states it was “banned worldwide for 13 years”. I just take this to mean it was unable to find distribution for 13 years until the remakes of The Last House on the Left (2009) and I Spit on Your Grave (2010) re-popularized the rape-revenge genre. In my opinion, it’s no coincidence it finally came out the year after I Spit On Your Grave.

It also claims to be “unauthorized”. My question is, unauthorized by who? The MPAA? The police? Society? I must admit, if nothing else, Weathers has a good grasp of the carny marketing aspect of exploitation filmmaking. The part about it being a snuff film, however, is too much for me. The whole thing is very obviously staged and badly acted throughout.

Credit: IMDb

The first place I heard about They All Must Die! was the YouTube channel Unboxed, Watched, and Reviewed. The line that sold it for me was: “There’s one point where she’s being raped and the camera moves, and her pussy, if you pause it — I didn’t, I didn’t need to, I didn’t want to — if you pause it, her pussy is this fucking wide!” he says, motioning with a 2-liter of Diet Mountain Dew. “…so she’s obviously been fucked by everybody on that crew.”

I’d love for this to be true because a) his reaction is priceless, b) morbid curiosity, and c) it would make the film sleazier, but sadly it’s not. After some quick research, I came to conclude all he saw was her pube patch. It’s too high up to be anything else. I verified this by matching up the screams in the background of his video with those in the movie. I can see how he made the mistake, though. The image quality of the DVD is horrendous, and he’s gay. If you feel like conducting your own investigation, skip to the part where the rapists threaten to burn the protagonist with an iron.

Anyway, sounds crazy, right? I made a mental note of the movie and tucked it away in the back of my head. A few months ago, my brain decided to audit that note. I don’t know why. I pulled it up. The writing was smudged. I was having one of those frustrating tip-of-the-tongue moments trying to remember the title. The only detail I could recall was that it was a black rape-revenge movie. I was also fairly certain it came out in the 2010s, which it technically did, although IMDb lists it under its production year of 1998, so that worked against me. After playing around with the site’s advanced search function for longer than I care to admit (I’m talking days), I scored a hit. I was pleased to see it was still available on Amazon for a fair price and bought a copy. I had to watch it at that point.

Understand when I say it was “nice” to sit down with it, all I mean is it felt great to finally confront the thing I’d been racking my brain over. The movie itself is a whole ‘nother story. By the time it was done, I was shocked, disappointed, confused, slightly offended, and craving a Pepsi.

It starts off with three black friends playing dice on the sidewalk. Each of them displays one whole, complete character trait — Nissan is husky, Prince is scary, and Snag is hungry. They say the word “nigga” eight times in twenty-four seconds. That’s an average of once every three seconds. Does that mean they’re winning their game? I can’t tell. They look up and notice a white woman carrying bags across the street. They proceed to yell terms of endearment at her like Snowflake, Shorty, and Cracker. They later address her as Cunt, Honky, Carrot Crotch, Bitch, and White Slut.

Snag hollers Naughty By Nature lyrics, “If you ain’t never been to the ghetto, don’t ever come to the ghetto, cos you wouldn’t understand the ghetto, so stay the fuck out of the ghetto.”

Nissan walks up and politely introduces himself, despite having cat-called her mere moments earlier. The woman’s name is Wendy Baker. She says she’s renting an apartment for two months to write a book called “America Through the Eyes of the Black Man”. In a bitchy tone, she explains that she’s only in town to get work done and turns down his offer to hang out. On one hand, getting to know local black people seems like the first logical step in writing a book about black people, so this makes no sense and gives me the impression Wendy is there to exploit their situation and bullshit her story. On the other, Nissan and co. are exceedingly crass, so I totally get why she turns him down. Her parting words foreshadow the horrors to come, “I figured with a change of scenery, there’s a much better chance of something interesting happening to me here than anywhere else.”

She opens the door and is greeted by Stan Foster the landlord, who leans in for a kiss. Wendy pulls back. Foster shows her to her apartment. Wendy is stunned to see that it looks like her own. Foster explains how he saw a picture of her living room in an article she wrote for a magazine (?) and did his best to replicate it, so she could “feel at home”. He swears he’s her biggest fan and has read all her books, including Dancing With the Devil, A Woman in a Man’s World, and Nightfall. I’m assuming she’s a household name like Stephen King because otherwise Foster being a super-fan would be too much of a coincidence.

Foster’s wife Charmaine walks in and suggests Wendy get some rest. She leads Foster out by the hand. I can only imagine how much trouble he’s in.

Meanwhile, at Prince’s, the homeboys lift weights. Snag complains that he’s hungry. He and Prince start making fun of Nissan for enjoying orally stimulating female sex organs. “At least I got pussy before,” Nissan fires back at Snag. “You’s a virgin-ass nigga talkin’ shit.” Snag says he’d rather be a virgin than eat pussy, but admits he’d try it on a white woman because they have better hygiene, nicer hair, and don’t have pimples on their asses. Nissan decides Wendy came to the ghetto for one reason and one reason only — big black cock, or “British Broadcasting Corporation” as it’s known in England.

The next morning, Foster rolls over in bed to put his arm around Charmaine, but she’s still upset that he flirted with Wendy. Foster changes his tone. He tells Charmaine she’s a dime a dozen. “This is my one shot at gettin’ with blonde hair, blue eyes.” he says. He asks his wife to please understand and support his decision to upgrade to white. The man is completely insane. Charmaine threatens to leave. I don’t blame her.

Foster walks upstairs to woo Wendy and overhears her on the phone with her agent calling him a “loser… obsessed fan” and “creepy”, which breaks his heart. He slinks back downstairs. Wendy also complains about Snag, Prince, and Nissan being racist, then hypocritically calls them “spooks”. This movie’s unique in that none of its main characters are likeable, not even the victim. As such, the rape scene we all know is coming isn’t quite as effective as it should be. Charmaine is the only sane person, and she disappears halfway through.

Nissan shoots his shot again. He stands under Wendy’s window and romantically yells her name from the street.

Wendy comes down and says hell no she’s busy a second time. Nissan takes it personally. Wendy slams the door in his face.

Nissan and co. play basket-hoops later and see Wendy reading a book on a bench. They harass her through a fence. Wendy ignores them and walks away. This angers them. They start shouting obscenities.

Meanwhile, Foster makes up with Charmaine. Their reunion is short-lived, however. He pushes her off during sex and tells her to get grab her shit and get out. I’ll miss her.

That night, the homeboys wait for Wendy in front of her steps. They block her from entering and go through her groceries. Foster interrupts and brings Wendy inside to his place. Then, he comes out and gives Nissan a key to Wendy’s apartment, as payback for calling him creepy, I guess. He goes back inside and confesses his love to his favorite author, who obviously rejects him on the grounds of barely knowing him.

Wendy heads to her own apartment. The trio is already inside. They grab her and march her upstairs, like army ants with a crumb. At some point, she’s knocked out or faints. They dump water on her face to ensure she’s awake when they rape her. But first, they force her to smoke marijuana, which takes effect instantly. Wendy giggles while they trash her apartment.

The rape scene that follows is graphic and shocking. Nissan licks and sucks Wendy’s nipples, and kisses her crotch through her panties. He slaps her, punches her thighs, and is fairly rough the whole time. Once he gets going, it looks like he’s fucking her. There are brief glimpses of Wendy’s asshole region where I couldn’t help but notice it looks red and irritated. That’s either good attention to detail, or the result of some “method acting”. When Nissan finally cums he screams “Bed-Stuy, bitch!!!” Snag crawls on top and takes sloppy seconds. Prince can’t perform, so he shoves the handle of an ab roller up Wendy’s ass while she screams.

Wendy limps to the bathroom and curls up in the tub. They further humiliate her by egging her, crumbling Ritz crackers on her body (cos she’s a “cracker”) and pissing in her face.

She doesn’t even look white. She looks mixed.
Credit: DVD

Weathers says of the scene, “I deliberately kept the actress away from the actors during rehearsals and the first time they met was during the rape… to increase the tension… There were many takes in which the actors got overzealous with the actress and blurred the line between acting and reality, from going too far with the ad-libbed racial slurs to getting much too physical with her. I would end up using a lot of these takes in the film, which is why her character doesn’t come off as likeable as she was written in the script. She ad-libbed some racial slurs of her own and a lot of very real punches and kicks in retaliation that made it to the final cut.”[2]

He claims the cops were called when they shot it, and after the film’s only screening at a Manhattan bar. What bar would play this, and how did Weathers get in? He was only 18.

As is the case with many low-budget rape-revenge movies, the revenge portion fails to live up to the rape. The perpetrators are killed off in rapid succession with little being shown of their deaths, whereas Wendy’s desecration lasts twenty agonizing minutes (roughly 36:57 to 56:33).

Snag is stabbed next to a swing set at night. Nothing is shown. Prince is hammered in the face and hung from a ceiling with what looks like a power cord, echoing Matthew’s death in I Spit on Your Grave. Lastly, Nissan is seduced and then stabbed, echoing Johnny’s death. Again, nothing is shown.

Worse yet, the underwhelming deaths are revealed to be dreams and/or fantasies. Wendy wakes up in the state she was left — bruised, bloodied, battered. Foster pops in, sexually assaults her, and basically says he’ll be holding her captive like Annie Wilkes does with Paul Sheldon in Misery.

The movie ends with the camera zooming in on graffiti that reads “Jesus Saves”. It’s only 74 minutes long, despite the case, disc, and internet claiming 85. There are no credits, for “legal reasons”[1]. The DVD plays on insertion. You can access a menu, but weirdly there’s only one option — “play movie”.

To me, the most shocking part of They All Must Die! isn’t the rape, it’s the final shot that appears to absolve the rapists of their crimes. Another low-key shocking part is a section of dialogue that shifts blame to porn. During the weight lifting scene, Nissan rants about how it’s given black men an unhealthy (and apparently uncontrollable) obsession with white women. He’s on some Ted Bundy shit.

Also, at random points, subliminal images flash across the screen. These images are historic photographs of black lynchings. According to blackpast.org, the image from the useless secret menu shows Elmer Clayton, Isaac McGhie, and Elmer Jackson being lynched in Duluth, Minnesota, circa 1920, for the rape of a white teenage woman who was later examined and found to have “no signs of any physical assault or rape”[3]. The funny thing is, these images aren’t in the same aspect ratio as the movie. The movie is widescreen. The images are fullscreen.

But why were they added, and what are they trying to tell us? That generations of mistreatment have turned black people violent? That white people’s fears have come true? That they deserve to be raped as revenge? Are the images comparing/contrasting the way inner-city blacks treat whites with the way they were lynched in the past? I have no answers, only suspicions.

In my opinion, they’re not telling us anything. I believe they were added to piss people off, to ruffle people’s feathers. I believe Sean Weathers wanted his movie to be as provocative as possible in the hopes word of mouth would drive sales and propel it to cult status. You know what they say, controversy creates cash. Or maybe he just wanted the infamy. Either way, I can’t fault him for that.

As evidence, I present the distributor’s website. They use “the most brutal gang rape in motion-picture history” as a “sale point”. They also mention it won “best taboo erotica” at a film festival. Yes, erotica. If I was Sean Weathers and I really, truly intended to comment on race relations or some other important topic and wanted those comments to be taken seriously, I would not have accepted such an award. But that’s just me 🤷‍♂️

According to Weathers, “The message is up for interpretation. I think one of the most detrimental things a filmmaker can do is tell a viewer how they should interpret their film.”[1]

People might call that a cop-out. I tend to agree with the sentiment, though. If there’s one thing I love about art, it’s that it’s always open to interpretation. I’d rather find my own meanings in things and be “wrong” than be told what the “answers” are. At the end of the day, I can’t say I like, understand, or agree with They All Must Die! (you’d better be screaming those words, by the way), but I think it deserves to be seen. If it had been filmed on actual filmstock, with better lighting, etc., I guarantee you it would be talked about more. As is, it’s virtually unknown.

References
1. Gary, Richard. “Interview with Brooklyn independent horror film director Sean Weathers” Indie Horror Films. May 15th, 2012. Web.

2. Haberfelner, Mike. “An Interview With Sean Weathers, Indie Director” (re)Search My Trash. February 2012. Web.

3. Nielsen, Euell. “The Duluth Lynchings (1920)” Black Past. October 31st, 2017. Web.

“Let’s Go” and the Rap-Horror Connection

I’m a 90s rocker at heart, but I’ve also been known to enjoy a good rap song. Like everything else in this world, my knowledge of rap can be traced back to horror. My entry point to the genre was New York-based rapper RA the Rugged Man. I learned of him through a special feature on Something Weird Video’s Basket Case DVD in which he tags alongside (my favorite) director Frank Henenlotter. I looked him up and was surprised to read Henenlotter directed his first few videos under the alias “François Pinky”. RA’s single “Till My Heart Stops/Flipside” even re-uses the artwork for Basket Case 2. In 2008, the duo produced Bad Biology. People sleep on that one. You may have heard RA on a soundtrack or two. He contributed a version of Chris Jericho’s entrance theme to the WWF album Aggression and “King of the Underground” to Tony Hawk’s Underground. I came across those by chance, as I love wrestling and skateboard games too.

RA’s whole catalogue is littered with references to exploitation and horror films. His unreleased debut album Night of the Bloody Apes has a song titled “Toolbox Murderer” on it. Other titles include “Even Dwarfs Started Small”, “Grizzly”, “Stanley Kubrick”, “Midnight Thud”, and “Sam Peckinpah”. Besides that, “4 Days in Cali” name-drops Paul Kersey, Charles Bronson’s character from the Death Wish series, “Die, Rugged Man, Die” samples the iconic “Die! Die!” soundbite from Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, “Holla-Loo-Yuh” quotes It… Well, you get the idea.

What I like most about his style is his self-deprecating sense of humor. While others stroke their own egos, he raps about hating himself, being a fuckup, having poor hygiene, and performing cunnilingus on overweight females. He’s basically a role model.

He features on quite a few songs by other artists as well. I liked what I heard so I branched out and looked up those artists. One was Cage. When I saw the artwork for They Live on Cage’s album Movies For the Blind, I became a fan of him too. His early stuff anyway. Cage’s catalogue is also littered with references to exploitation and horror films. “Ballad of Worms”, for example, is a love song about Zelda from Pet Sematary, and the chorus of “Dead” from his Leak Bros. album Waterworld was taken from Suicide Club. If you’re big into PCP, Cage is the rapper for you.

With him and RA, I came for the horror references, stayed for the music. And to think, I never would have known about them if it wasn’t for Basket Case. It’s the movie that keeps on giving (my review here). Likewise, I never would have known about Kool Moe Dee if his song “Let’s Go” didn’t play at the end of A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child.

Credit: Wrong Side of the Art

I love “Let’s Go”. It was produced by Teddy Riley and incorporates Vincent Price’s evil laugh from “Thriller”. That’s how you know it’s good. Like the best menstrual cycles, Kool Moe Dee’s flow is heavy throughout. He verbally beats down someone assumed (at least by me) to be Freddy Krueger with five minutes of nonstop, hard-hitting trash talk. It’s fun, and if you’re not paying attention (exiting the theatre, etc.), it might seem like a fitting choice for the credits. But was it? For comparison, let’s take a look at the precedent set by the series. These are the end title themes from the first four entries:

Part 1 – “Nightmare” by 213

Part 2 – “Did You Ever See a Dream Walking?” by Bing Crosby

Part 3 – “Dream Warriors” by Dokken

Part 4 – “I Want Your (Hands on Me)” by Sinéad O’Connor; “Are You Ready For Freddy?” by The Fat Boys; “Don’t Be Afraid of Your Dreams” by Go West

Four of the six themes, I think, were written specifically for the movies. Part 2’s was not, but it works well considering the words “dream walking” double as a reference to Freddy, and Crosby’s smooth crooner style juxtaposes the darkness and horror. Part 4’s first theme also works because the survivors are on a date when it kicks in and they have a baby in Part 5, so at some point, one of them does put their hands on the other.

“Let’s Go” wasn’t written for Nightmare 5, and its lyrics don’t apply to it either. When you really zero in on them, it’s apparent from the way Kool Moe Dee refers to his rival’s “rhymes/lyrics/records” he’s addressing a fellow rapper. That rapper is none other than LL Cool J. “Let’s Go” is the second of three diss tracks Kool Moe Dee wrote about him. It came out two full years before Nightmare 5 as the B-side to his single “No Respect” and contains four unmistakable references to the NCIS: Los Angeles star. Once you know all this, the song just seems comically out of place. Take a listen.


Side note, this is the ugliest album art ever ☝

It starts off with a woman asking Moe Dee how he feels about Jack the Ripper. This is the first sign that “Let’s Go” might not make sense here. Why would the woman inquire about a real-life nineteenth century serial killer instead of the movie’s killer, Freddy Krueger? Because “Jack the Ripper”, is the title of LL Cool J’s previous diss in the series, in which he claims to be “Jason with an axe”, that’s why.

1:57 — The line “How you like me now? I’m gettin’ busier. I’m double platinum.” is a direct quote from that song, and is sung in a whiny voice to mock Cool J.

2:36 — In verse 3, Moe Dee even addresses him by his middle name, Todd. If that’s not a big enough clue as to who the song is about, Moe Dee proceeds to spend eight lines — half a standard verse — proposing possible meanings for “LL”:

Lower Level, Lack Luster
Last Least, Limp Lover
Lousy Lame, Late Lethargic
Lazy Lemon, Little Logic
Lucky Leech, Liver Lipped
Laborious Louse on a Loser’s Lips
Live in Limbo, Lyrical Lapse
Low Life with the loud raps, boy

He follows with:

You can’t win, I don’t bend
Look what you got yourself in
Just usin’ your name, I took those Ls
Hung ’em on your head and rocked your bells

That’s right, Kool Moe Dee comes right out and says his rival’s name starts with “LL”. Who else could it be? Who listened to this and didn’t make the connection? Or better yet, who made the connection and decided a personal attack directed at LL Cool J was an appropriate way to follow a scene in which Freddy Krueger is turned into a baby and absorbed by a ghost nun? I like to imagine the person tasked with selecting the song did so knowingly to further their feud. Ha! Now Cool J has to respond!

The funny thing is that LL Cool J went on to appear in Halloween: H20 the next decade. I wonder, did he do it to get the last laugh? The Nightmare on Elm Street series Kool Moe Dee hitched his wagon to ended three years earlier. It’s plausible. Whether you like him or not, LL Cool J is a bona fide horror legend. He won his feud in the long run by outlasting Moe Dee, and was a factor in two of the genre’s biggest franchises. I expect to see him at all the conventions now.

Our new god.

What are your favorite rap-horror connections? Leave a comment below.