The Third Saturday in October is a movie, sure, but it’s also a reference to the rivalry between the Crimson Tide of the University of Alabama and the Volunteers of the University of Tennessee, schools that are located around three hundred miles apart. Alabama leads the series 58–37–8 as of this year. So in case why you wondered, “Why is a slasher based around college football?” you have your answer.
Even wilder, this movie is being released at the very same time as The Third Saturday In October I, which was supposedly made in 1980 as a slasher craze cash-in. This is the fourth sequel — I imagine Dimension got the rights — and it’s some point in the 90s, feeling like the shot in Utah Halloween sequels in that it’s centered around the relationship between PJ (Poppy Cunningham) and her babysitter Maggie (Kansas Bowling, Blue from Once Upon a Time In…Hollywood), which feels very Rachel and Jamie.
Director, writer and editor Jay Burleson also made The Nobodies, a mockumentary about Alabama-based amateur filmmaker Warren Werner, his first SOV film Pumpkin and the Satanic panic in his small town that led to the suicide of him and his girlfriend at the film’s premiere, as well as the fake trailer for Halloween: Harvest of Souls 1985. I get the feel from this movie that Jay really gets what’s at the heart of slashers.
It’s another Third Saturday in October and, as always, the hearse driving all-black — other than his white skull mask — giggling serial killer Jack Harding is back, slicing up toes, throats and more, like killing one girl with a blazing hot pizza to the face. There’s also a wheelchair-bound annoying teen that you can’t wait to see die — the genre lives and breathes by its decimation of the handicapable, I guess — and for some reason, a fully grown adult that dresses as a referee to come watch the game. To be fair, one of my best friends as a kid dressed as an umpire and would count pitches and render safe or out calls for every baseball game we ever watched. He did grow up to be an umpire though.
The house where the game at feels like it has the same level of bed swapping and sexual tension as that cabin in the woods back when Joe Zito directed Jason.
I love the idea that no one remembers the killings or even pays attention because of how important football is to the town. And most importantly, the film knows to set up a sequel before the credits crawl, because Jack Harding is never going to die.
Bonus points to padding the start of the movie with scenes from previous sequels that were never made.
I had an absolute blast with this. And if you have a love for slashers — let’s say you made a Letterboxd list of nearly seven hundred of them — you’re going to go crazy for this. They can make a hundred of these movies and I will watch every single one.
Want to see it for yourself? It’s now playing as part of the Chattanooga Film Fest. Virtual tickets are available at www.chattfilmfest.org/