Everyone clearly knows about Friday the 13th , how its influence is still having a lasting impact on the slasher genre, in 1981, a surprising sequel emerged called simply Friday the 13th, Part II, but later that same year was a horror comedy entitled Saturday the 14th, which unfortunately missed a great opportunity to parody itself off of that movie, rather producing lame spoofing of legendary monsters found in Universal Studios, Hammer Studios and even some of the b-movies of William Castle. First, if you recall the film, your childhood or teen years, then you might have some fondest for it, but if not, then this flick likely makes you groan a bit. The film was rushed in all phases of production, mainly due to a similar named horror comedy to emerge from United Artists originally called Thursday the 12th, later changed to Pandemonium and released a year later; that movie parodied Carrie . However, there were two movies in the early eighties that teased the slasher subgenre Student Bodies  and Wacko . Nevertheless, the one film that likely did the best with humor of this subgenre, is Scary Movie , all thanks to Scream .
The opening sequence uses a bit of animation and a backdrop of a haunted house, though a Scooby-Doo introduction to their famed 1976 series would be vastly superior. Also, to merely footnote the making fun of monster flicks already had been completed by the legendary and significantly pheromonally enduring to fans of all generations Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein . This movie featured a few debuts among them is first is Julie Corman, as producer, who is the wife of Roger Corman, and secondly is Howard R. Cohen, who penned the script, some might recall his Vampire Hookers  screenplay, he used the story from Jeff Begun to create this flick, achieving a theatrical release from New World Pictures and then in 2019 Blu-ray distribution from Scream Factory.
At the reading of a will, we have a cameo appearance of Rosemary DeCamp (13 Ghosts ) as Aunt Lucille, as the ceremony continues, the attorney (Stacy Keach Sr. (Superstition )) dies, which is a foreboding sign, by it states that John Hyatt (Richard Benjamin (Love at First Bite )), inherited his home. This is later revealed to the much displeasure to a vampire husband-and-wife couple (Jeffrey Tambor and Nancy Lee Andrews) who had previously wanted to purchase the house to discover the “Book of Evil” (wow an uneventful name). Therefore, moving into a broken-down place, with John, his Mary (Paula Prentiss (The Stepford Wives )), son Billy (Kevin Brando), and his teenage sister Debbie (Kari Michaelson.) As things progressed, Billy opened the cursed book thereby unleashing the monsters, versions of The Gilman, The Mummy and others, all in dreadful costumes, it also stated a warning that Friday the 13th is bad, but Saturday the 14th is worse. John dismisses the screams and sounds of owls and Mary, gets bitten with strange marks on her, and occasionally acts odd, but only when the script calls for it, as there’s no consistency with the characters. She even has scenes when she engages with bats in the attic, which she calls them owls it’s all very similar to Tippi Hedren in The Birds . Debbie has a personal encounter with Gilman, though proceeded by his fin circling in the bathtub to the theme music of Jaws . John calls an exterminator who brings in Van Helsing (Severn Darden (Werewolves on Wheels )), who also has been searching for the book for years, delivers his line in an amusing deadpan manner, very refreshing compared to everything occurring in the movie. Needless to say, the comedy runs stale quickly, although the vampire couple’s husband named Waldemar does deliver some comical references to other horror movies, more humorous in his senses, than Yolanda.
First, the creepy setting, takes the feel of The Old Dark House  which harkens back to a haunted house of doom and gloom, then the address of the home 329 Elm Street, noting this film predates A Nightmare on Elm Street  by three years. Most of the film is rather friendly for all audiences, even Michaelson’s tub scene most of it is angle cuts nothing truly offensive while the comedy has plenty of misses and is thoroughly dated, feeling a tad corny at times. A major problem in the film has a lack of direction, it seems to follow an aimless path and the actors are all going along with the game, trying their best but it falls flat in many areas. As for creatures The Gilman looks a bit similar to the Sleestak from the 70s television show Land of the Lost, the rest of them typical rubber suit creations, all born from the magical book. Oh, a piece of trivia information Prentiss, had broken her right forearm, and pushed on with using various items to cover the cast, most notable is when she’s venturing up the attic steps. Cinematographer Daniel Lacambre, another individual from Corman ranks, used lighting tricks to achieve spooky settings to offset the monster humor all aided by the set design of creepy house structure.
It’s quite obvious it isn’t a stellar movie, the plot struggles to secure a grounded footing, but does achieve on many b-movie levels, however not as one would suspect. This film even managed a sequel that came seven years called Saturday the 14th Strikes Back , though worse than this flick. One thing that viewers might do is compare it to The Monster Squad , they seem similar, but the latter film shows comedy used in a smart manner, rather than the jokes landing flat and silly. On a side note, there’s a horror-comedy entitled Thursday the 12th slated for release in 2021, therefore truly completing the numerical dates surrounding this infamous date of Friday.
- Just when you thought it was safe to look at the calendar again.
IMDb Rating: 4.7/10
Baron’s Rating: 4.5/10