Hello, horror lovers! Welcome back to Horror With a Side of Cheese. If this is your first time, allow me to present a rundown. I am on a mission to find the cheesiest horror movies that exist. Each month, on the first and third Fridays, I come here and talk about my latest find. I rate each film on a scale of one to five cheese slices. Several factors go into the score, including story, dialogue, acting, effects and re-watchability. The chosen media can be from any subgenre, anywhere in the world and from any timeframe. In today’s edition, I bring you the 1981 film Saturday the 14th. Stick around to find out how many cheese slices this one scored.
About Saturday the 14th
Have you ever wished to inherit a cursed house? Not likely, but that is what happens to John Hyatt (Richard Benjamin), Mary Hyatt (Paula Prentiss) and their kids. When a relative passes away, the Hyatts inherit his estate. After they move in, young Billy (Kevin Brando) discovers an old book that details the significance of Saturday the 14th and unleashes an onslaught of monsters in the home. The family must fight to survive and protect the neighborhood.
The film stars Paula Prentiss, Richard Benjamin, Kevin Brando, Kari Michaelsen, Jeffrey Tambor, Nancy Lee Andrews and Severn Darden. Jeff Begun provided the story, and Howard R. Cohen wrote the screenplay and directed it.
This spoof has a Tomatometer Score of 10 percent and an Audience Score of 31 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
Because Saturday the 14th is a spoof, there is a certain level of expectation for the comedy aspect. I am happy to report this film does not disappoint. I found myself rotating between chuckling and laughing my head off at the insanity. It is important to note the humor only adds to the cheesiness.
The story is about a family who moves into a creepy house after inheriting the property. Contained within the home is a book that allows the possessor control over the supernatural but dictates a caveat surrounding a specific date, Saturday the 14th. Unfortunately, it also unleashes a swarm of monsters. A vampire couple has been searching for the book for centuries. When it is finally within reach, they are thwarted again by the Hyatt family’s presence.
In terms of cheesiness, the story itself does not lend to the metaphorical fondue pot. Aspects of the story, however, do add something—specifically, the characters and their personalities. A prime example is John and Mary constantly blaming everything on owls. A strange noise occurs, “darn owls;” someone screams, “darn owls;” a swarm of bats descend, “darn owls.” Additionally, Billy seems to be the only person in the family with the ability to think logically. These two plot points play on two horror tropes; the least likely authority figure, saving the day and blaming anything other than the problem.
The dialogue is every bit as cheesy as I expected. For example, one of the vampires talks about his wife not trusting him after “311 years of marriage!” To which his wife responds, “312.” In another scene, Debbie runs in, screaming that the man from next door is in the house, and John responds with, “Huh, wonder what he wants?” while smiling.
Moving on to the acting, it is a classic spoof performance; over-the-top screams and random smiling for no reason. Many of the actors have obvious talent. However, it is the nature of a spoof to be a bit much. It is cheesy, but not a talking point with Saturday the 14th.
The effects are par for the course. The rat occasionally seen in the Hyatt’s new refrigerator is easily my favorite effect in the film. Do you know those furry rats found in dollar stores and places like Walmart around Halloween? That is what is in the fridge. It is perfectly cheesy and fabulous.
Finally, I want to address the re-watchability factor. Saturday the 14th is going on my regular rotation. It is a barrel of laughs, enjoyable and worth every second of the one hour and 15 minutes run time.
There you have it, horror fans, another cheesy horror movie in the books. Take a look at the trailer for this movie below and then head to the comments and let me know what you think. Also, tell me which cheesy horror you think I need to watch next. Until next time, stay cheesy, stay spooky, and most importantly, watch more horror movies!
This article was originally published on 1/20/23.