Saturday the 14th
Written & Directed by Howard R. Cohen
When I was a youngster frequenting the local mom 'n' pop video store, one of my more frequent rentals was the title Saturday the 14th Strikes Back. Even after multiple viewings, I had somehow convinced myself that the title was a joke, that it wasn't a sequel to another film. Like Leonard Part 6, starring Bill Cosby. Eventually, my father clued me in to the fact that it was a sequel--he had seen the original--but unfortunately the video store didn't carry it. Don't ask me why.
Now, all these years later, I've finally been give the chance to see the original Saturday the 14th thanks to the wonders of Netflix Instant. Was it worth the extended wait? Not by a long shot. But to be fair, if I watched Strikes Back through modern eyes, it surely wouldn't hold up either.
The plot is fairly simple: A family moves into an old house they inherited after the death of a relative, paying little to no mind to the curse that is said to be hanging over the estate. The precocious young son finds a book called the Book of Evil and when he opens it, he unleashes a legion of cheap, goofy-looking monsters and the family has to come together to save themselves, save the neighborhood, and save the world.
In case the title hasn't clued you in, this is a spoof film. The IMDB synopsis would have you believe that it is "primarily a spoof of the Friday the 13th series", but that's not even close to true. Aside from the title, there's nary a reference to Jason Voorhees or Camp Crystal Lake. It takes gentle pokes at a small handful of other films, though, including Dracula, The Birds, Creature From The Black Lagoon and Jaws (at the same time).
It is, at times, amusing in an eye-rolling sort of way, but it is rarely if ever actually funny. It's not even very clever. The acting is generally hammy and well over-the-top, and the special effects are a noxious soup made of corn and cheese.
And yet, despite the flaws, I did find myself enjoying this movie. Can one be nostalgic for something they've never seen before? I suppose, in certain situations, you can be. Nostalgia by proxy.
If this were the sort of thing you enjoyed as a kiddie, then you might want to give it a watch. But for the rest of you, you might find yourself disappointed.
On an interesting side note, the house in this movie is on Elm Street, and there is a scene with the daughter taking a bath that closely mimics the famous scene with Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) in the original Nightmare on Elm Street. However, this movie came out a full three years before Nightmare on Elm Street hit theaters.
"If you weren't immortal, you'd kill yourself."