Saturday, April 14, 2018

Saturday the 14th (1981)

This week's B-Movie Enema is being released in conjunction with the latest three-part episode extravaganza at Film Seizure!

That three-part extravaganza over there is for our original pilot episode in which we talked all about the first three Friday the 13th movies.  So, with today being Saturday the 14th, and we talked about the first three movies of the Friday the 13th series...

Well, you get the picture.

Saturday the 14th was a relatively famous movie when I was a kid.  It seemed to be on TV an awful lot and had recognizable faces in it.  The star, Richard Benjamin, has sort of been featured here before as well as being known for being the protagonist in the original Westworld movie.  He was not just an actor, but also a director.  Just go back some months to find me talking about his My Stepmother Is an Alien. Here, he's starring with his real life wife, Paula Prentiss, who was mostly known for being in the 1975 version of Get Out, The Stepford Wives.

But wait!  There's more!

Jeffrey Tambor is also present in this movie as a Dracula-like vampire?  Named Waldemar?  Like the Paul Naschy werewolf character.  That's odd.  Also, we have a literal Van Helsing played by character actor Severn Darden who we've seen as Kolp, the primary investigator guy, in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.  So, how's about that?  We have recognizable people in this!

Sadly, where the good parts of name recognition, and a scant 75-minute runtime, end, the real problems with this movie begin.  But let's dive into this movie, and I'll talk about my issues as I come across them...


Oh, good.  We start with cartoony credits with a howling wolf with a smoker's cough and the coolest bat of the 80s that keeps running into shit in the background.  There are also several other creepy crawlers that show up in the opening credits after a blood splattered "Saturday the 14th" pops up on screen.  After the credits, Waldemar the vampire and his hot vampy wife, Yolanda, are waiting to meet with a real estate agent for the purchase of a rundown creepy house.  Of course, the real estate agent wants to meet at 4 in the afternoon, but the vampires assume she meant the 4 in the middle of the night.  Yuk yuk yuk.

However, there is a problem with obtaining the house...  Enter John and Mary and their two kids, Debbie and Billy.  John has inherited the house from his uncle, but is a little concerned about a curse that is said to exist on the property.  Of course, when they arrive, Mary and the kids believe the house they are moving into is the picturesque manor across the street, not the shit stain Munsters nightmare house they are going to live in.  Yuk yuk yuk.


When they get inside the house, they see that the place is nothing but a bunch of cobwebs and spookiness.  The dog won't come inside, the daughter is creeped out, there are broken mirrors, black cats, Billy has gone missing, and there are no electric lights - instead, they flip a light switch and candles flicker on.  Yuk yuk yuk!

I feel like it's time to pause here and talk about the plot and the "comedy" of this "film".

First up, what the fuck is this movie about?!?  It's called Saturday the 14th, an obvious take on the prior year's runaway hit slasher movie Friday the 13th.  Its title was dripping blood during the credits as if it had its throat cut!  I would think there would be a masked killer stalking about.  Alas, no.  This movie is about real estate and vampires trying to obtain some sort of magic book.  There are all sorts of various other PG-rated monsters running about.

There is no slasher.  No hint at any reason why this movie is called what it is.  That's fucking infuriating.

The look of a man who shit himself and a woman who would
rather be struck dead from on high than say these lines.
But, perhaps the most infuriating thing are the constant, nagging, skull fucking jokes that this movie is lousy with.  Not a goddamn one of these is funny at all.  And, man, some are just fucking weird!  In the first eight minutes, we've had the dumb 4am/4pm ("When does [the real estate agent] ever get any sleep?") line and all the things about the house's spookiness mentioned above.  Those are mostly  harmless, but then, THEN, we get to two of the strangest fucking lines ever and I'm punching myself in the head trying to figure out if they mean anything or not.

First, as the family arrived at the house, the person driving the moving truck (I assume it is the truck's driver, but we actually don't see him at all on screen) is telling Billy a joke that starts with, "How about this one...  There once was a girl from Hong Kong..."  It is interrupted by John telling Billy to say bye to the nice man.  It is an obvious voice over and I think it is meant to be a surly, burly moving man telling a little boy dirty jokes.  That's fucking disgusting.

Second, and even more disturbing, is when John, Mary, and Debbie look for Billy after he's gone missing inside the house.  Mary calls for Billy, and off screen John says maybe it's like Disney World when he hid inside Pluto for two hours.  So, Mary calls out, "Billy, if you're hiding inside a big dog again...!"

Hmmm...  How should I put this?  Wait.  I know.  Let's start with a series of questions.  Was the man who plays the giant Pluto at Disney World also inside when Billy was in there?  If so...  Who was big spoon?  Were we supposed to think that there were shenanigans going on in that costume?  Was Billy bad touched by Pluto?  Was that a joke?  Am I over-thinking this?

I have to believe that it might have been a joke the "writer" "believes" you can "take as you wish."  Why do I believe that?  Because a little later, about fifteen minutes later to be exact, we're treated to Debbie taking a bath.  Now, the actress, Kari Michaelsen, was 19 or 20 at the time this movie was made, but I think she's supposed to be much younger in the context of the movie.  At the very least, she's still living at home and asking to be sent to boarding school so she doesn't have to live in this nightmare of a house (or movie for that matter), so I think that's supposed to make her younger than 18.  Either way...

A WHOLE LOT YOUNGER THAN I FEEL COMFORTABLE WATCHING TAKE A BATH OR UNDRESSING AS SHE DOES.

Seriously.  She almost shows as much skin as Ali Cobrin showed in Girl House.  Oh and if you don't think people don't find that scene particularly interesting, then you clearly don't spend a great deal of time online.  If you go to YouTube, begin to search for "Saturday the 14th", it's the first listing for any one particular scene in the movie.  You have what you typed, then trailer, movie, sequel trailer, sequel movie, bathtub scene.  Seriously, look:
Yeah, people watch that shit.
We're gonna come back to that scene though because if you try not to think about it in a way that should get me thrown in jail or make me have to introduce myself to my neighbors, it's actually one of two good scenes in this entire shitty movie.  And, no, it's not what you think. 

Jeez people, get your minds out of the gutter.

The big problem with this movie's jokes are that they are ALL you can sense in this movie.  It's a cacophony of stupid that gouges your eyes out, plugs your nose, and plucks out your taste buds one at a time.  It berates you then tries to do butt stuff to you.  What I'm trying to say is that it's really unpleasant.

I don't remember if I've ever mentioned this type of comedy before, but I have a very distinct explanation of what this type of comedy feels like to me.  I had actually seen this movie somewhat recently before sitting down to write about it.  In a conversation while watching this then (yes, it was with my cat and, no, he did not seem to care about what I was saying - this is the price I pay for crippling depression and loneliness so I hope you feel real good about laughing at me over this shit), I said this movie's jokes felt... Jewish.  Like a couple Jewish guys were sitting by their pool in SoCal and were just tossing one liners back and forth.  But nothing good like what the kids say today with their "yo mama" jokes and various "knock knock who's there" fare.  No, these are old jokes.  Like really old.  Like jokes that were written by Mel Brooks' dullard brother while he was suffering from a massive stroke while having his toenails eaten one-by-one by rabid badgers.

In other words - the shit Jay Leno said on The Tonight Show.

It's a constant barrage of jokes.  It's not just tossing a strand of spaghetti against a wall to see if it sticks, but it's chucking the entire pot against the wall followed by the sauce, and then the Italian sausage.  It's too fucking much.

On top of that, John and Mary are completely retarded.  No, I mean it.  They are told the TV only picks up The Twilight Zone, but just say that's what happens when it is storming outside.  Mary dusts off a skull in the kitchen that breathes dust out onto her, and she thinks nothing of it.  They find a disturbing note from his uncle who left them the house saying to not open "the book".  But because they don't see a book, they just scoff and move on about their day.  All throughout the movie, they see and hear things but ignore them like they are totally normal things.  They lack the basic ability to comprehend what is going on around them.  You know...  a basic human trait?

But anyway, the kid has already opened the book.  Then Star Wars shows up outside.

So by reading the book, Billy unwittingly unleashes monsters.  One particularly nasty monster kills the real estate lady.  Her screams are just dismissed by John as being an owl.  When Mary looks outside, Waldemar is hovering outside as a bat and she agrees it's owls.  When the monster goes into Billy's room and he screams, again, it is played off as owls.  These fucking assholes...

Alright, long story short here because I've already taken up a shit ton of this article talking about this bullshit and I'm only like 20 minutes in.  Billy's unleashed monsters and there's a prophecy about Saturday the 14th sucking.  Mary's been bitten by Waldemar and is under his control.  Waldemar has been looking for the book for like 300 years because whoever controls that controls the world I guess...?

Alright, so let's get back to the bathtub scene, shall we?  We watch a girl, who it is implied to be underage, undress to her panties.  Then walk out of the bathroom to answer the telephone before returning to be shown slipping her panties off and then take off her tank top where it is revealed she is braless.  And then, Shape of Water.
At least the bathtub scenes in Shape of Water includes an adult lady.
ALSO I SHOULD NOT BE THINKING ABOUT THAT WHEN WATCHING AN IMPLIED UNDERAGE GIRL BATHE!
In all fairness, if I try real, real hard to not think about the underage girl bathing, this is a decent scene because Debbie and Billy have to distract the gill man so Billy can find "the book".  So it's a good little chase scene, but it is ultimately ruined by the neighbor cop coming in to goofy music, trying to shoot the monster, only to be killed and drug off and Billy has no qualms about any of this happening.

Anyway, there's gonna be a housewarming party for Saturday... the 14th!

Billy feels impending doom because he only has one day left to find the book, but pussyfoots around John by asking what he would do if he lost something really important.  Meanwhile, Mary is cleaning up the house and finds a fuckload of bats in the attic and they attack.  Naturally, she thinks they are owls because those have hairy bodies and leathery wings - becauseofcoursesehthinksthis.  Yet, just a few moments later, they call up an exterminator to get rid of the bats.  The exterminator who shows up is Van Helsing becauseofcourseitis.

Guillermo del Toro went undercover as Van Helsing to get
that gill man for Shape of Water. True story.
When Van Helsing shows up and starts asking about old books and stuff, Billy lies and says there were no books.  Why?  Because movie.  When Mary sees him, she screams for several seconds which I'm sure just crushed during the shoot.  Her strange behavior has led her to think she's pregnant because chicks be cray cray when they are knocked up, yo.

So, cutting to the chase again...  Van Helsing explains the importance of the "the book" and is now trying to find it while protecting the family against Waldemar.  Waldemar is controlling Mary to look for "the book" and bring it to him, but she cannot touch it.  Billy is looking for "the book".

Things start to get a little worse as Debbie walks into the kitchen in the middle of the night and finds a monster mash unfolding with a mummy, a werewolf, our gill man, and a couple other monsters laying waste to the snacks and food in the fridge.  In the living room, Waldemar and Yolanda encounter Van Helsing who bluffs them with a potion he's concocted.  This sequence is the other part that is good.  Nothing more to say about it.  It's just a fun little scene of monsters playing around in the kitchen.

It's now Saturday the 14th and shit is really hitting the fan.  No one can leave the house as it is now in the middle of a swirling tornado-like maelstrom.  The party is still on, but I guess you can come into the house despite the storm outside, but once inside, you can't leave.  Oh, and Mary is getting weirder.  She's sleeping in the day, she's sleeping on top of dirt from their property, and she tries to bite John.

People start showing up for the party.  However, Van Helsing has a plan to use the family members to help get rid of the monsters.  Naturally, hi-jinks ensue.  John's nasty old aunt gets eaten by a monster in one of the closets.  Sure.  Whatever.

This party feels like a wake for a shitty comedian.  People are shooting off jokes and all of them have schitck.  Like one smokes a cigar constantly and asks Mary "how her garden grows" which I can only assume it is a joke about her bush.

Because I dunno.  I need something here that isn't an implied underage girl taking a bath.

People start dying one right after the other from the various monsters running about.  Turns out Waldemar and Yolanda have taken Billy and dressed him in a vampire cape.  Because...  Oh whatever.  Mary pleads with Billy to give Van Helsing "the book", but he refuses saying he's in the book and is an actual monster.  Apparently, Van Helsing wants the book for himself so he can take over the world.  This leads to literally 148 minutes of Van Helsing and Waldemar making faces at each other with various goofy sounds coming from their fucking faces.

Fuck this movie.  Billy gives Van Helsing the book and he vanishes.  The End.

This movie really blows.  I can't help but think this movie was poorly received.  It was only released on a limited basis and then put out on VHS shortly thereafter.  And Jesus Fuck, it was all over local TV when I was a kid.  I guess it may hold some significance due to Richard Benjamin being popular at the time, and this being released at a fairly high point for parody comedies, but I can't imagine more than two or three people still living who like this movie.  I bet there are people who went to see this on their first date.

I am willing to bet those people were involved in a murder-suicide situation shortly after that first date.

Oh, another sign of a great fucking movie is that the end credits music is longer than the end credits so there is about a minute of this happy, jaunty tune playing over a black screen.  Way to pad out that last minute of your already super short movie, assholes.

There's not much more I can bring myself to talk about.for this movie, so allow me to take this chance to beat a hasty retreat.  Next week, I'm going back to the Amazon Prime well for a look at 2017's After School Massacre!  I'll see you in seven days!

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