Friday, April 20, 2007

Saturday the 14th – review


Directed by: Howard R Cohen

Release Date: 1981

Contains spoilers

This was another film I caught recently on Zone Horror and whilst I remember seeing it around as a kid it is a film I’d never actually watched it before. It is a multi-monster horror spoof, although some of the main characters are vampires.

The film begins with a car (with Transylvanian number plates) outside a dilapidated house in which are sat the vampires Waldemar (Jeffrey Tambor) and Yolanda (Nancy Lee Andrews). Waldemar wonders where the realtor (Carole Androsky) is and it is suggested that by 4 o’clock she meant in the afternoon. When they do meet with her (note the sun is shining by the way) they are eager to buy the house but there is a problem.

We cut to the reading of a will and the house has been left to a family consisting of dad John (Richard Benjamin, who was previously in Love at First Bite), mom Mary (Paula Prentiss) and kids Debbie (Kari Michaelson) and Billy (Kevin Brando). The attorney (Stacy Keach Sr) is about to warn them of the house’s curse when he dies.

The book of evilThe vampires do not want the house but a book it contains – the book of evil - and there is a note in the fridge that says do not open the book. Billy, unfortunately, has found the book and as he turns the pages the illustrations of monsters vanish and appear in the real world.

bad monster suitSoon Mary has been bitten by Waldemar and is acting vampiric – she develops an aversion to strong sunlight and garlic and puts earth in her bed - and Monster’s are stalking through the house. For the most part these are very bad monster suits as the screenshot of the creature from the black lagoon type monster shows. Whilst there is some peril to the family the monsters only seem to get visitors to the house.

Severn Darden as Van HelsingHelp is on hand in the form of an exterminator named Van Helsing (Severn Darden).

Other then what I have mentioned the only other vampire lore shown is an ability to turn into bats. We don’t even get a decent fang. I guess I should mention the throwaway comments re the ‘events with the Harker woman, a century before’. A direct reference, of course, to Dracula.

Mary under the vampires' powerThe problem with the film is it is just not that funny. Sure the monster costumes are the height in kitsch but that doesn’t make them amusing necessarily. There is an on running joke, with regards oblivious John and Mary, about any noise at night, including a monster falling through a window, being owls (and the fact that Mary can’t tell the difference between an owl and a bat) that is severely overplayed. The rest of the film fell really flat laughs wise and, at one point, I realised that much was of the zany antic level of Scooby-Doo, just not as funny or well scripted and the zaniness seemed extremely forced.

Yolander and WaldemarThis might have a nostalgia element for those who saw it in the eighties but, if so, I am not privy to such feelings.

The most interesting aspect of the film came in the twist in story – I won’t spoil it – yet whilst it is fairly well done it was somewhat illogical. The very final scene is so saccharine that it physically causes your teeth to ache.

Not a great movie. 2 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


Hobgoblin238 said...

I loved this movie. Watching it on youtube right now. It is nostalgia though.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Hi Hobgoblin - I think you hit the nail on the head by mentioning nostalgia - if you remember it from back in the day it probably resonates more than watching it cold :) Thanks for stopping by :)