Originally reviewed by our good friend Jon Jung (AKA: Coffin Jon) from the VCinemashow podcast and web blog.
The Plot: An average couple (played by real-life couple Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss) inherit a house from an eccentric uncle. It turns out that the house, um, houses an ancient book which unleashes a curse whose power reaches its apex on the title date. Two characters, Van Helsing (Severn Darden) and vampire figure Waldemar (Jeffrey Tambor), are both after this book albeit for different reasons and the struggle for its possession leads to a great battle between good and evil. But who is good and who is evil?
Let’s get things out of the way first: this movie has no relation to the Friday the 13th series other than the tragically misleading title and the fact that it came out a year after the Voorhees masterpiece, 1981. In reality, Saturday the 14th is a horror spoof that covers the classic Universal/Hammer era: haunted houses, bats, vampires, and other rubber-suited fiends of the night. Anyone expecting a slasher spoof should just go back to Scream, Beneath the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, Club Dread, or other wink wink, nudge nudge, tongue in cheek horror “comedies”.
Another thing, and this is a confession: from my first viewing of this movie at age twelve, I’ve seen this movie at least two dozen other times. No, not because it is good, funny, or a rousing tribute to classic horror icons. No, these are not descriptions that could be used for Saturday the 14th. The one reason is Kari Michaelson, who would take sassy tongue lashings from Nell Carter later in the TV series “Gimme a Break!”, is absolutely hotness on wheels; a lengthy bath scene in which we are treated to Ms. Michaelson removing her panties and later, only wearing a towel, being pursued by a gill creature is worth it for the price of admission.
There is plenty that does not work for the movie. Cheapness is not necessarily one of these things as it’s almost de rigeur for a spoof of classic horror movies to harp on that which makes those oldies fun and memorable to begin with. Rather, the problem lies in the screenwriters producing a decidedly goofy, yet unfunny, and definitely not scary script. In fact, the movie feels like something that I’d be watching the tube on a Saturday morning with a bowl of generic Rice Krispies. In fact, I’d like to think of Saturday the 14th as a precursor to the Bailey School Kids series (which includes such classic titles such “Sea Monsters Don’t Ride Motorcycles” and “Mummies Don’t Coach Softball”): a few cheap jokes in a faux ‘spooky’ setting that would make The Haunted Mansion seem like the Sawyer family homestead.
Luckily, the one hour and spare change running time makes this a relatively painless watch. In 1988, a sequel of sorts, Saturday the 14th Strikes Back, somehow managed to get produced with a nearly identical premise. Proof positive that the creaking you hear might not be the sound of a dilapidated door opening to a dark and haunted house at the corner of the street but actually that of money being flushed down the toilet.