Releaesed in 1988, seven years after Saturday the 14th, Saturday the 14th Strikes Back shares a title and creator with its predecessor, but little else. Julie Corman was again the producer of the film, and Howard R. Cohen was the director once again, but the storyline and characters are completely distinct from the earlier film. Thus, if one were inclined to watch it, one would not need to be familiar with the first film. Of course, Saturday the 14th was a fairly obscure film to begin with, and its sort-of sequel is even more obscure — this is not an easy film to track down, by any stretch.
Is it worth it? …Absolutely not.
Here’s a film that can ruin your appetite.
The story has some basic similarities to the first film, and horror comedies in general, with a family moving into a haunted house. Being a fairly low-budget production, most of the actors are fairly minor, with only a few semi-recognizable faces. The most prominent would probably be Ray Walston — Mr. Hand from Fast Times at Ridgemont High — as Gramps, followed by Patty McCormack (Pat Nixon in Frost/Nixon) as the mother, and character actor Avery Schreiber as the father. (And I am aware that calling Schreiber recognizable may be stretching things, but there’s at least the possibility, with that mustache of his.) The star, however, is the son, Eddie Baxter, played by Jason Presson. Eddie is just shy of sixteen years old, although his family babies him as if he were six. Which is about the way most of the film is written.
You have no doubt read reviews where a comedy is described as “sophomoric”, describing a sort of lowbrow humor that — it is implied — was written for and possibly by children in their teenage years. Saturday the 14th Strikes Back is not sophomoric, it is kindergartenic. The film’s excuse for humor is things like the family making meals out of candy and cookies — that’s before the haunted house makes them act “weird” — and a character getting a miniature submarine in his stomach. As a horror spoof, it’s ostensibly aimed at the teenage and young adult crowd, but the sense of humor is aimed solidly at toddlers. Don’t expect the plot to thrill you, either. It’s fairly pedestrian, reasonably predictable, and mostly consists of “weird stuff happens” up until the climax, which is fairly, well, anti-climactic. The film is further weighed down by uninteresting narration that tries to up the laughter quotient with some ironic humor, but which mostly falls flat.
There is one highlight, and it’s not much of one. There are a few musical numbers in the film, generally nothing to write home about. When vampire Charlene (Pamela Stonebrook) takes up residence in Eddie’s bedroom (don’t get your interest piqued; this is a PG film leaning on G), she goes into a song and dance number about how unsatisfying it is to be a vampire due to their dietary restrictions. It’s the best song lyrically and musically in the film, and the word play makes it a bit more amusing than most of the jokes, and while the dancing isn’t much it’s still better to look at than most of the film’s other sequences. And even then, the segment isn’t really worth looking at a second time.
The movie just plain sucks. Yes, that’s a terrible pun. It’s still better than any of the humor the film has to offer.
There’s no good reason to really check this film out. Horror comedies should be funny and maybe a little scary. This is neither, and isn’t even interesting. It doesn’t even merit being called an odd little curiosity, as it does not reward the curiosity of anybody who watches it. Utterly forgettable, it is an obscurity which can rightfully remain so.