Saturday the 14th (1981)

“Saturday the 14th” is kind of like the “Police Academy” version of a horror parody. I don’t mean that as a negative per se: I’m pointing to the movie’s generally witless, frantic attempts at slapstick comedy. However, where “Saturday the 14th” outperforms “Police Academy” is the success of its gags: There’s a veritable rat-tat-tat approach to visual gags that never really lets up, going from one gag to another with no room to breathe, and its good-joke-to-bad-joke humor ratio is much higher than “Police Academy.” In some ways it’s like a live-action version of a family horror cartoon not unlike “Tales from the Cryptkeeper” or “Scooby-Doo,” restrained by a limited budget but buoyed by a game cast that’s willing to deliver each gag or joke like each one is the movie’s best, all with the same urgency and energy of those aforementioned, spooky family shows. There’s a lot of plot going on throughout the movie but it’s all just an excuse to up-end a variety of horror movie conventions (everything from haunted houses to creature features to monster movies, etc) in the loosest way possible, and it’s all light, downright featherweight humor designed to make you chuckle throughout and forget all about it quickly.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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