“The Third Saturday in October Part V”

This film was screened at Fantastic Fest

Writer / director Jay Burleson‘s “The Third Saturday in October Part V” is the first of a duo of films in his low-budget horror series. He’s made a subsequent Part 1, but Part V came first (there are no parts 2 through 4, which is part of the overall joke). Confused? That’s okay. All you really need to know is that if you grew up with slasher flicks in the 80s and 90s, this semi-parody film offers a big dose of bloody nostalgia.

It’s the biggest weekend of the year in Alabama, as local residents prepare to watch an annual college football game between two longstanding rivals. For some unknown reason, there’s a terrifying killer on the loose, wearing a creepy Day of the Dead style mask, driving around in a hearse, and finding unsuspecting folks to butcher. The man is known around these parts as Jack Harding, and he’s on a mission to stalk and kill these small town locals at random. The gory frenzy really begins when Jack stumbles upon a watch party and an unsuspecting group of friends (Kansas Bowling, Parker Love Bowling, Devan Katherine, Autumnn Jaide, Bart Hyatt, Daniel Cutts, and Taylor Smith).

Burleson creates his own movie mythology set within the confines of rural Alabama in 1994. It’s evident that he is a fan and student of retro horror, as he nails every single homage to B-movie rip-offs that were prolific after the success of “Halloween” in the late 70s. This is a guy who clearly has an affinity for the genre and wanted to make his own, and he succeeds.

There are throwbacks to these older films, right down to the lighting, staging, and characters. The overly simplistic plot (killer has a knife and eliminates those with whom he crosses paths, in increasingly creative ways) may be similar to the most basic (but still famous) horror movies, yet this one remains highly watchable. You know what’s coming because the situations presented are all too familiar. Even without much back story, the characters are likable, interesting, and fun, making it super easy to root for them.

While the film is billed as a comedy (the dialogue is funny and many of the jokes come at the expense of dumb rednecks), it’s more of an amusing, bloody slasher flick. It’s a delightfully low budget affair, with corny SFX, second-rate performances from the cast, and local Alabama filming locations (yes, Catfish Cabin is a real restaurant, although sadly, their menu does not list “nanner pudding” as a dessert). All of these things add to the irresistibly cheesy vibe of the movie, which is a testament to Burleson’s writing and directing. In the hands of a less skilled filmmaker, this project would’ve gone horribly awry. Because of the care and craftsmanship put into this movie, “The Third Saturday in October V” is an easy-to-watch guilty pleasure.

By: Louisa Moore

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