One of the old standbys in summer camp movies and TV, just as in summer camp itself, are the pranks that contribute to the overall hijinks (a popular word in descriptions of summer camp movies) of being at camp. Whether it’s short-sheeting beds, pantsing opposing players from a rival camp in a basketball game, raiding the girls bunk, putting the sleeping director on the dock or the old sleeping hand in warm water trick, pranks are common place.
Here are four pranks from summer camp movies with a little bit of a twist: they were orchestrated by or involve the camp’s resident techy computer geek.
1. Rube Goldberg machine in A Pig’s Tale
The bullies in Wolves cabin are asking for it, but since they are bigger, stronger and more athletic, the misfit Pigs cabin uses their intelligence to install a Rube Goldberg machine (a machine that completes simple tasks in a complex way) that ends up turning the bullies into human ice cream sundaes, with cherries on top. The stunt is a sign of things to come, not only at camp but in the future since we all know smarts and ingenuity far outpace good looks and athletic prowess in the real world (though not always parents in high places).
2. Remote control poo slinger
Sterling: The Secret of the Lost Medallion is a low-budget Christian movie from 2003 that attempts to combine a typical summer camp movie with The Goonies. The nerdy Howard plays the part of Data when he rigs up a remote control truck that flings poo that looks a lot like chocolate pudding and releases marbles to cause the face-covered-in-poo bully to slip and fall. Take that!
3. Explosion triggered by computer
Party Camp is a 1987 B movie that’s endearing for all its ’80s trappings, not least of which is the Tandy TRS-80 that Squirrel cabin camper Winslow uses to trigger an explosion in the bully Falcons dorm and, among other things, spy on the female campers and counselors.
4. Tied to the tracks of a model railroad with VHS tape
Technically, this is a case where the geek, Sponge in Salute Your Shorts, is getting pranked by a bully, but since he ends up getting her (Dr. Kahn’s niece Ellen) with a Rube Goldberg machine similar to the one in A Pig’s Tale this will have to do.