Monday, August 27, 2012

Cheap masks and Buzzsaw backs: Savage Weekend (1979)

Savage Weekend  (1979) (AKA Killer Behind the Mask, The Upstate Murders)
rating: ***
starring:  Christopher Allport, Jim Doerr and David Gale

Can't say where to begin with this one. Awfully normal to be special, and hardly anything to rock my socks off. Guess I'm gonna go plain with this title and go along to what it's offering me.

It starts with a lone woman running for her life in the woods, the buzzing of a chainsaw follows along with the booted feet of her stalker. An open space in the middle of the forest got her exposed to a grinning backwoods fella, saw at hand.

Which leads us to go back a few days earlier, into an apartment where said woman, Marie (Marilyn Hamlin), a stock broker packs up for the weekend with her sister and her friends who she was invited along to visit a little house in the woods. Now, things aren't easy for Marie in these days; not only is her husband was recently released from a mental asylum, but he seems to loathe her. Of course, Marie's sexual fantasies for her hubby could say she got a thing or two left for him, but when she's lusting to be attracted to her fellow stockbroker friend, as well as a local handyman, which was the same local in the opening, things are bound to go out of control.

Kinda did, as a killer in a cheap halloween mask starts to stalk them and soon, thin down the number in an assorted of weapons. Who could it be? The estranged husband fresh from the loonie bin? The stockholder who invited them in the most secluded of the woods? Or the notorious redneck local who's known to had branded his own wife? As it soon builds up to the opening act again, you think you know the story.

Think again...

Made sometime earlier in the 70s, Savage Weekend is actually one of the fine example of slasher titles that predates itself. While the slasher tropes of the film kicks in the last third of the movie, it's more than familiar as everything from the stylish kills to the stereotyped victims (at least, 70s stereotypes), and too the masked killer with powertools for toys had done more than it should to prove itself its worth as a slasher movie. But until then, the majority of the movie went on to flesh out its casts and premises, though the job is very uneven as some of the characters, though starts out interesting, fell into obscurity. It's not that the casts done an awful job in the acting department, is just that some of them wasn't really fleshed out that well. Instead, we spent most of its first act observing the sexual frustrations of a married woman, her fetish and fantasies somehow held back by her work and family life. Not that I'm complaining much, since it kinda had something to do with the movie's twist reveal.

I see little duds from this movie; it's cheap-looking and plays some standard conventions, but it tries its best to do something different for a while, but it all watered down to nowhere and cliches won hands-down in the end. Worth a watch if you could find it, even keep it if it fancies you, but overall, Savage Weekend is a passable slasher film with dramatics. Can't describe it any better than that.

1 bat found nailed to the door
1 male strangled with rope and hanged
1 male hairpin to the ear
1 female buzzsaw to the back of her head
1 male hacked with hook, thrown through window
1 male chainsaw to the back
total: 6


  1. great review, and wow, what a surprisingly high rating!
    The movie ist't exactly good, but I did enjoy a couple of scenes, especially the hilarious tango-sequence or the scene with the cow udder :)

    1. I gave it a fair rating cuz i can see it tried. Not too good, but I like the effort.

  2. Yeah, this one's got that...something...that makes it worth a little more than the sum of its parts. I saw it on Showtime 1000 years ago and didn't think much of it - then saw it again on cheapie DVD a couple of years ago and thought it kind of worked...

    1. we can't seem to point out what worked here. How peculiar...