Howdy all you Supercultists out there on the interwebz! I’m Bad Movie Professor Cameron Coker (BS in “Pandemonium” with a minor in “EVIL!!!”) and I’ll be posting my hype-tacular speeches every week along with some long lost speeches from past Supercult Shows!
This week Supercult crunches the numbers, realizes that a Friday the 13th in October happens only once every 8 years or so, then settles for the next best thing: watching Saturday the 14th…in November!
It’s always nice to inherit things from your forebears, except when that something is EVIL! When John and Mary and their children Debbie and Billy inherit a house from a deceased uncle, they happily move in, but a Waldemar and his wife Yolanda are also interested in the property because it hides a book of EVIL! Also, did we mention that Waldemar and Yolanda are vampires, and that every EVIL page turn of the book of EVIL unleashes a new monster to terrorize the house? Just when you thought it was safe to look at the calendar again, it’s Saturday the 14th!
Released in 1981, about a year after 1980’s Friday the 13th and just a few months after Friday the 13th part II, Saturday the 14th is an incredibly on-the-nose comedy horror spoof of the Friday the 13th series. While the title might invite some would-be audiences to think it a clever name for a true Friday the 13th sequel, in truth the film is out more like a ham-fisted cross over of a classic Supercult creature feature, like Zaat, or Jason X, a Mel Brooks comedy, and a Scooby Doo direct to VHS movie. While that may sound appealing on paper…well, like Waldemar says, “If you weren’t immortal, you’d kill yourself.”
Saturday the 14th is an unrepentant farce, an excuse for the crew to raid the local costume shop for every horror and Halloween trope they could afford. It’s a Wal-Mart grab bag of a creature feature in which everything from the Werewolf, a space alien, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon makes an appearance and everything is played for laughs regardless of how trivial or forced. The film is an example of the ‘quantity over quality’ aesthetic taken to its Superculty extreme with too few genuine laughs to show for the whole childish experience.
Saturday the 14th is directed by Howard R. Cohen who previously worked as a writer on such cinema classics as Death Force, and Vampire Hookers, and would later go on to write for TV including several episodes of The Care Bears Family, Rainbow Brite, Lady Lovelylocks and the Pixietails, and Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors. Cohen made his directorial debut with Saturday the 14th, which is sort of crazy, but what’s even crazier is that this movie actually has some talent hiding out in the film. The protagonist of the Supercult Classic Westworld, Richard Benjamin, plays the husband John, while his actual IRL wife, Stepford Wives star, Paula Prentis, plays the hysterical wife Mary. Saturday the 14th is notable as the couple’s final on-screen collaboration before Benjamin turned to directing. On top of that Jeffrey Tambor plays the vampire Waldemar (a mere 22 years before he would join the cast of Arrested Development as George Sr.) and the film was financed in part by Roger and Julie Corman. Yes, THAT Roger Corman, Supercult Saint and producer of such classics as Death Race 2000, The 1994 Fantastic Four movie, and over a hundred other Supercult worthy films like A Bucket of Blood, X: The Man with the X-ray Eyes, 1978’s Piranha, and Attack of the Crab Monsters! Corman actually worked with Howard R. Cohen, on Cohen’s very first successful screenplay, The Unholy Rollers!
To say that this film had a lot going for it might not be as farfetched as you’d think. To say that it fulfilled expectations is another question though. Saturday the 14th is actually just one of many similar slasher spoofs that were produced in the wake of successful pioneers of the genre like Halloween in 1978. New World Pictures rushed the film into production in order to beat the release of a similar horror-comedy being produced at United Artists with the working title of Thursday the 12th, which was later released under the title Pandemonium in 1982 to avoid confusion.
Saturday the 14th was given a limited release and did poorly in theatres. It was then released later on VHS and eventually on DVD. The film has a 4.5 on IMDB and a 10% on Rotten Tomatoes. According to one IMDB reviewer, the film was picked up in other countries, specifically India where it was released on TV as Friday THE 13th IS BAD, Saturday THE 14th IS WORSE to a populace unfamiliar with the slasher genre, the original Friday the 13th horror series, the idea of a genre spoof, or even the idea of television. Needless to say, Saturday the 14th was so bad that it deserved a 1988 sequel, Saturday the 14th Strikes Back, written and directed once again by by Howard R. Cohen.
By everyone who matters Saturday the 14th is considered a D-grade cult classic. Something to laugh AT rather than laugh WITH.
Supercult is happy to oblige!
The Supercult Show is proud to present, Saturday the 14th!