Saturday the 14th (1981)

Real-life husband and wife Richard Benjamin (Catch-22 and the original Westworld) and Paula Prentiss (The Stepford Wives) play John and Mary, who have inherited his uncle’s house in Eerie, PA. If that line made you laugh, then Saturday the 14th is for you.

Along with their kids Debbie and Billie, they try and fix the house up. But they’re opposed by Waldemar (Jeffrey Tambor, Arrested Development) and Yolanda, two vampires who want the book of evil within the house. Billy finds the book and with each turn of the page, he unleashes monster after monster into the house.

Soon, the TV can only get The Twilight Zone, sandwiches, dishes and nosy neighbors all disappear and eyeballs show up in John’s coffee cup. It’s nothing out of the ordinary to our heroes, who seem blind to the supernatural going on all around them.

Waldemar gets into the house as a bat, so they hire an exterminator (Severn Darden, Kolp from Conquest of the Planet of the Apes) who turns out to be Van Helsing.

After a housewarming party where the monsters kill every guest, we learn that the vampires are the good guys and Van Helsing just wants the book so he can rule the world. The good guys — now who include the vamps — win and Jon and Mary get an upscale home while Waldemar and Yolanda settle into the cursed home.

Director Howard R. Cohen also wrote The Unholy RollersDeathstalker and Barbarian Queen before choosing this as his first film. He also directed Space RaidersTime Trackers and Saturday the 14th Strikes Back.

Some trivia — every time you see Prentiss, look closely. She’s hiding the cast on her arm, as she broke it before filming began.

Also, this is Benjamin’s last feature film as an actor, as he started directing with 1982’s My Favorite Year.

While sold as a parody of slasher films, this movie more accurately makes light of monster movies as a whole. If you’re looking for other funnier horror films of a similar bent, I’d recommend WackoPandemoniumStudent Bodies or Class Reunion.

I remember this movie running on HBO quite often in my youth. It’s a pleasant enough diversion, almost an Airplane! version of horror or a Mad Magazine come to life. The monsters are way better than you’d think they’d be, too!

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