Third Saturday in October Poster

The Third Saturday in October (2022) Review

After making The Third Saturday in October Part V, the fifth entry in a non-existent series, what do you do for a follow-up? If you’re writer/director Jay Burleson (Feast of the Vampires, A House in Your Neighborhood) you make The Third Saturday in October and give your faux franchise a starting point.

After a text crawl telling us what we’re about to see is based on a true story we launch into the story of serial killer Jakkariah “Jack” Harding (Antonio Woodruff, Bettor Days, He Got Away) who we see meeting his fate in the electric chair. Witnessing his execution are Ricky Dean Logan (Darius Willis, The Last Castle, Music City Paranormal) and Vicki Newton (K.J. Baker, The Reaper Man, The Bridge) both of whom lost loved ones to Harding.

Unfortunately, when they go to the cemetery to see him put six feet under they see something much worse. Jack has not only survived his date with “Yellow Mama” he’s escaped and is about to begin a new killing spree.

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While Ricky and Vicki run around playing the Dr. Loomis role, the plot focuses on Heather (Allison Shrum, The OctoGames, Yes, God, Yes) who gets convinced to join Ned (Dre Bravo, Embryos, Z-Generation), Denver (Kate Edmonds, Secrets on Sorority Row, Root Letter), Pam (Veanna Black, Drunk, Driving, and 17, Sidebar) and John Paul (Casey Aud, Love Incidental, The Ghosting of Elise Montgomery) and watch the big game at a party rather than with her father (Lew Temple, Hostile Territory, Night Caller)

From the start, the viewer can see the stylistic differences between the two films, Part V represented 90’s, 1994 to be precise, horror. The Third Saturday in October itself was “a cheap Halloween cash-in” and looks like something from 1980, complete with an execution scene that echoes the supposedly real electric chair footage in Faces of Death.

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And that extends to the violence, with a few scenes that you wouldn’t see in a mainstream film or one that wanted to tap into that audience, by the end of the 80s. There’s an attack on a pair of young-looking Girl Scouts for example that, while it falls short of Night of the Demon’s Bigfoot vs Girl Scouts matchup probably wouldn’t have been filmed at all by the time of Part V. Overall though the kills, while not as outrageously bloody as the head removal in Part V have their moments with garden shears and a chainsaw playing prominent parts in the mayhem.

And then there’s the relationship between the aged Uncle Deeter (Richard Garner, Christmas Everlasting, Christmas Belles) and the much younger Bobbi Jo (Libby Blake, Dark Roads 79, A View to Kill For) which would have been portrayed much differently later in the decade. That does however provide us with the requisite dose of nudity expected from a 70s grindhouse slasher.

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This time out Burleson seems to be playing it straight rather than trying to add humour to the mix. For me, at least, that works a lot better and makes me wonder if the jokes in Part V were meant to be weak, like the unintentionally amusing moments in many late series entries. If you’ve seen any of the later Hellraiser, Howling, or Children of the Corn films you know what I mean.

I definitely found The Third Saturday in October to be the better of the two films, in large part because of the serious tone which fit the material better and my overall preference for 70s/80s horror over that from the 90s. I know Burleson says Part V is meant to be watched first, but if you’re only going to watch one, this would be the one.

Both The Third Saturday in October and The Third Saturday in October: Part V will be available On VOD as well as Digital Platforms on May 5th via Dark Sky Films. You can check the website for more information and the Third Saturday in October fansite for more on the franchise. And if you’re looking for more films like this, FilmTagger can offer some suggestions.

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