Thursday, January 30, 2014

SAVAGE WEEKEND (1979)

I like how the back of the box practically gives away the end of the movie.

Directed by David Paulsen
Written by David Paulsen
Starring Christopher Allport, Jim Doeer, David Gale, Devin Goldenberg, Marilyn Hamlin, Caitlin O’Heaney, William Sanderson, Yancy Butler

Let’s do the plot first before we get into the meat an potatoes here, because I really, really remember the first time I saw this thing.
The movie starts with a scene from the end out of context. It makes you think one thing, but it’s something else altogether. You’ll see.
Marie (Marilyn Hamlin) is going to the country with her new boyfriend, Greg (Jeff Pomerantz) He has someone working on a boat for him, but Otis (William Sanderson) is a slacker so Greg is bringing his buddy Jay (Devin Goldberg) out to help on the boat. Marie is bringing her sister, Shirley (Caitlin O’Heaney) along and, for no other reason I can think of than they needed a flamboyant gay man along for the ride, they bring Nicky (Christopher Allport).
Once they get out there it is obvious that Otis is insane. Shirley lets Jay have his way with her and Greg and Marie rut around when time permits. Handyman/Lumberjack Mac (David Gale) makes eyes at Marie and she wants to let him, but stops herself.
Then the killer shows up. Wearing work gloves and a crummy rubber mask he cuts a bloody swath through the city folk. One of the more imaginative deaths is Nicky who gets a hat pin through the ear into the brain. Another one involving a table saw with faulty wiring is actually a little funny when we get to the payoff.
In the end, the killer is revealed. It’s no big surprise and the remaining survivor is left with a giant plate of mental scarring.
I remember watching one of my favorite slasher flicks, HE KNOWS YOU’RE ALONE (1980) My brother and I went to see it at the theater and there’s the scene in the beginning where the girl gets stabbed in the movie theater. Yeah, we looked behind us. Yes, there was a guy sitting behind us and, yes, we changed seats. Go ahead, laugh. I do everytime I remember this.
Anyway, I really liked the lead in the flick, Caitlin O’Heaney so, when I saw this movie at the mom and pop rental store I knew I had to try it. Imagine my surprise when we get a lot of her naked in this film. The ladies in the film are pretty sparse so we get as much naked as they can give us. Sure there is the flashback scene where Otis brands his woman’s chest with an H because she’s a whore, Otis can’t spell, but that scene is a little gruesome. There are a few gore scenes that work pretty well in here. Besides the branding there is a chainsaw ripping through flesh that looks pretty good.
And we get to see David Gale as a lumberjack, compete with handlebar mustache. How cool is that. And for all you sharp eyed folk that spotted Yancy Butler of Witchblade fame up there in the credits. Yeah, she’s Mac’s little girl and has one scene. She’s six.
This is a movie of it’s time. Slasher flicks were just starting and the video store movement helped get this thing out there. The more I think about it the more I might have actually seen this in a theater first. I haven’t watched it since the 80s and it has remained etched into my brain better than much more important things.
Weird how that works, isn’t it?
Final thing. Christopher Allport played Nicky like the perfect gay caricature of a man and he was fun to see in the movie. His career spanned decades from things like TO LIVE AND DIE IN LA to those God Awful Jack Frost movies. Not the Michael Keaton one, the psycho killer snowman ones. Anyway, I saw that he died and I was a little sad. Then IMDb was kind enough to list cause of death.
Avalanche.
Really???
Avalanche???
That is a unique way to check out and he was always good in whatever I saw him in. He will be missed.

SAVAGE WEEKEND is something for all slasher fans to make sure they don’t miss. Go see it for Nicky. You’ll be glad you did.  

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