Do I think I am smarter than everyone else? Yes, I do. Do I believe
on some level I am more so-fis-ti-cated, and I might be operating
on a different wavelength than all of you? Yes, I do. Do I think
that I possess the small nuances that it takes to define the subtleties
contained in "bad" films therefore giving them reason
to exist. Yes, I do. Do I like SAVAGE WEEKEND while no one else
seems to give a flying fuck for this artsy, soap-opera slasher
of sorts? Yes, I do!! Do I still enjoy the look of a woman who
never touches her privates with a razor? Yesss--sorry...Back to
SAVAGE WEEKEND was directed by David Paulson back in 1976 and
titled "The Killer Behind The Mask." Then released in
1979 to theaters as "The Upstate Murders," before finally
having a small amount of success in 1981 during the prime slasher
period as SAVAGE WEEKEND. Mr. Paulson was primarily a producer/writer
for such mainstream 10 p.m. dramas as "Knots Landing,"
"Dynasty," and the papaw of the genre "Dallas."
His experience on these commercial television potboilers shows
in SAVAGE WEEKEND, where you instantly notice the soap opera-style
blocking and shot selection, but that is one of the qualities
that draws ol' Tread to a picture like SAVAGE WEEKEND.
Our weekend of savagery involves a group of people who are heading
up to upstate New York to watch a boat being constructed. We have
tons of back story minutia given to open the film, which includes
a rather flaming homosexual played balls-out (excuse the pun)
by Chris Allport, who has been in everything from "Dead and
Buried" to "Jack Frost" and from "Walker:
Texas Ranger" to "The X-Files." We also have one
of the lovely females in the bunch who has an ex-hubbie who went
a little nutty because his boss kind of Budd-Dwyered it after
being indicted on some Government hoohaa. There are a couple other
couples along for the getaway to the rural setting where this
boatyard is located. Once we arrive, we are introduced to Otis,
William Sanderson from TV's "Newhart" but known best
to BOFphiles as the star of "Fight for Your Life." Sanderson
looks the same as his "Larry" character with his buttoned
to the top shirt, dirty work boots and khakis. He mumbles to his
daddy's tombstone, creeps around oogling the big city fornicators
and generally pulls off his role of weirdo, peeping, outsider
guy. We also meet up with the mustached, macho, Mac, played by
none other than fan-boy favorite David Gale, better know as Dr.
Hill from the Re-Animator movies. Character after character are
introduced, semminly for us to see them hump each other in rather
graphic exploitation-style sex scenes, as Otis peers through his
uni-lensed broken binoculars.
What makes SAVAGE WEEKEND enjoyable is the fact that is has no
idea what it is. Is it horror? Generally no. There are no truly
ghastly acts of violence, extreme psychological abuse or the such,
though many are killed. Sexploitation? There are parts of the
movie which are downright "dirty" in a Russ Meyers way,
some of the bizarre parts of the movie stun the viewer with the
sheer length of the sequences. One particularly long "dance
number" features an actress meandering through most of the
house sem--i-nude and a rumba bellows through the soundtrack for
what seems like an eternity. One-two-three-four-turn-two-three-four.
One cannot help but compare the sequence to any number of pointless
European "art films" from the early 70s. It definitely
is the proverbial "turd in the punchbowl" if Paulson
was shooting for conventional American slash-throat horror. Paulson's
use of the fag-angle also baffled me a bit. Allport's 'Mother'
Nicky is the type of homo you love to hate, flaming, fey, antagonistic
and quite honestly, a bitch. He actually picks a fight with the
rednecks of upstate New York as opposed to the typical scenario
the viewer has come to expect in most portrayals of the quars.
Was Paulson exploring some chink in his own armor or was he just
making the guy who was playing the fag a dozen times more butch
than the fags playing the straight guys in the film...? Possible
once you see these obvious poofters try and make us believe that
actually like poontang. Like many of its characters and the folks
portraying them, SAVAGE WEEKEND, quite obviously, has its identity
As "guests" are murdered one-by-one, Paulson effectively
keeps us guessing as to the who done-done it. Otis seems obvious,
but too obvious, a novelty rubber horror mask is the device our
killer chooses as his disguise. An obvious cheap trick to keep
us, the audience from guessing to soon. Usually I have no problem
spoiling endings to films but this one is long-lingering and a
"surprise" that will probably leave you groaning until
you think about much of the earlier dialogue you though you were
too bored to listen to. Much like Scooby Doo for many, I fear.
But to reiterate Paulson uses the heady, dialogue-driven Prime-Time
soap opera approach, so you should have been listening to the
key dialogue scenes which unraveled, usually right before a sweaty
grunt session, you know just like Knot's Landing.
Much of this is why I like SAVAGE WEEKEND, it has a decent body
count but doesn't have a relentless chase feeling like say, "Friday
the 13th." It is worth noting that this killer in a mask
movie was made prior to Jason running around in his, and even
predates Halloween and Michael Myers by a year or so. Did SAVAGE
WEEKEND serve as inspiration for Sean Cunningham or John Carpenter?
It is quite possible, although they obviously took the ball and
ran much harder and faster with it. The ending leads you to believe
that Cunningham must have seen and enjoyed the twist enough to
try a similar cinematic device.
SAVAGE WEEKEND deserves another look by those of you out there
who didn't get it, that is all of you who thought it sucked. The
movie predates the era in which it was finally released, there
are some memorable exploitation moments and same damned stupid
moments of padding that could make SAVAGE WEEKEND one of those
SHIT-TASTIC classics, I tell you what, I would watch it over almost
any Italian horror excrement purporting to be genius-level filmmaking,
which inevitably puts me to sleep 15 minutes in, with the honest
exception of a meager handful. But hey, I am a stupid American,
what in the fuck do I know.
|A little Bovine
love going on, Got Milk?
|Continuing on the
Got Milk theme.
|Boo! Gotcha didn't
Discuss this baby.
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