Horror Movie Review: Cheerleader Camp (1988)


Cheerleader Camp (also known as Bloody Pom Poms) is a 1988 slasher horror movie that sees a cheer-leading competition turn bloody when a killer starts offing the competitors.

Starring Betsy Russell as Alison, she & her friends are on their way to Camp Hurrah. There they are to take part in a weekend of cheer-leading competition & beauty pageantry. Alison is suffering from bad dreams that seem to relate to her feelings of rejection. Her feelings aren’t helped by her boyfriend Brent (Leif Garrett). Shortly after arriving she sees him start to flirt with another cheerleader, Suzy (Krista Pflanzer).

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The next morning Suzy is found dead with her wrists slashed, an apparent suicide. The camp leader, the ice-cold Miss Tipton ((Vickie Benson) doesn’t want the competition to be shut down so makes an ‘arrangement’ with the sheriff.

The competition continues & we get to see just how competitive some of the cheerleaders are. A few of these girls are desperate to win & jealousy is running rampant amongst them.

Cheerleader Camp 2

Talking of jealousy…after seeing Brent flirt with yet another cheerleader called Pam, Alison’s sleepless nights get worst & she dreams that she murders her. When Pam doesn’t show up the next day Alison worries that she may have hurt her but she is assured that she slept through the night.

Things gets worse though as more cheerleaders turn up dead & fingers are pointed at just about everybody. Just who is killing off the competitors & why?

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Cheerleader Camp is a lovely slab of late 80s horror that utilises all the tricks in the book to make an entertaining movie with an ending that leaves a big smile on your face. Its tone switches constantly between dark & light with silly comedic moments thrown in at random. It works surprisingly well though provided you’re willing to accept that this movie is of a very different era of horror. Before clichés were actual clichés.

The acting is mostly positive even if many of the characters are walking clichés. Perhaps the worst is Tim, an overweight competitor who is obsessed with sex & spies on the girls sunbathing.

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He stinks up the screen but thankfully the large cast ensures he’s not got a prominent part to play. Everything you’d expect to see in an 80’s slasher horror is here. Boobs, blood, POV shots etc. It all combines to make a good horror movie.

It’s not the goriest or the smartest but it ticks a lot of the right boxes. Enjoy it for what it is.

Cheerleader Camp 5


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