More Hometown Slasher Fun Starts On The Third Saturday in October Part V (CFF)
Title: The Third Saturday in October Part V
First Non-Festival Release: TBD
Director: Jay Burleson
Writer: Jay Burleson
Runtime: 89 Minutes
Starring: Kansas Bowling, Poppy Cunningham, Taylor Smith
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
This film’s review was written after its screening at the Chattanooga Film Festival in 2022.
PJ (Poppy Cuningham) is excited to spend the night with her awesome babysitter Maggie (Kansas Bowling) while her parents celebrate the annual Alabama Mobile University and Tennessee A&M football game. Maggie plans to spend the evening at next door neighbor Peter’s (Taylor Smith) house so she can catch the game with her friends. She ensures PJ has the option of a few rented vhs tapes, but the precocious child is determined to get her babysitter to take her to the best restaurant in town: Catfish Cabin. Amidst the hubbub and anticipation, a masked killer is breaking and entering homes in their town to carve up the townsfolk after seven years of lying dormant from killing on the infamous third Satruday in October.
Simply a good time, The Third Saturday in October Part V scratches the itch for a fun, dumb, and goofy slasher film with a 90s vibe.
Much like its predecessor (which is meant to be watched after this “sequel”), The Third Saturday in October Part V lives and dies by the nostalgia it is meant to evoke. Thankfully, this film does it even better than the supposed first in the series. Meant to mimic the experience of renting a film deep in an established series without any knowledge of the first one, The Third Saturday in October Part V plays like a dusty relic from 1994. The deaths are over-the-top, the story is more nonsensical, and the budgetary constraints look even thinner. All of this is done on purpose of course for the effect.
One area that this film does better than what it is satirizing is its acting. The cast is charming and suitable for their roles. Kansas Bowling truly embodies that X factor that most final girls have throughout cinematic history, and she has enough charisma to stand out. Poppy Cunningham is both a delight and a very realistic portrayal of a child, despite her having to lean into the precocious young girl trope often. The remaining cast appropriately hams it up to ensure that the film has the campy feel it needs.
They have plenty of material, as the cast is filled to the brim with as many paper-thin characters as it can hold in addition to its leading ladies. Each of these young ones are memorable enough to attribute at least a few traits to each person. Downer Sharon, whiny wheelchair user Lester, and stuttering romantic George are among the most notable. The leads suffer a bit from the bloated cast. Their characters aren’t as well developed as their relationships: one is in a love triangle, and one desperately wants to eat at her favorite restaurant. It isn’t awfully compelling, but it is true to form for these types of films.
Visually, The Third Saturday in October Part V is clearer than the 70s relic it is meant to follow, but the filmmaking is noticeably flatter. Again, this is entirely purposeful due to premise. Still, the film conjures up some memorable scenes that film well. The effects are less polished in this film on purpose. To be fair, not only is that the point of The Third Saturday in October Part V but it also has a higher bar to achieve considering that the deaths are more elaborate and drawn out than its lost sister film.
While it doesn’t read like an arthouse horror film, this slasher series has a clear vision that is well executed. Meant to be a quick and campy ride, it allows for its budget to show as part of the appeal not as a strike against it. It’s a love letter to all those films that get written off because they are just another part in a massive franchise and viewed to be cinematically lesser. What’s most fun about the film’s creation, however, is its score. The score in this film is less artfully conceived than its “predecessor” but is still enjoyable. Full of more heart and dynamics that come from similar entries in franchises.
Best enjoyed as a double feature with the other The Third Saturday in October film, this part five is a straightforward and enjoyable slasher without the frills. Beyond its gaudy kill scenes and unkillable killer, The Third Saturday in October Part V works because of its emotional center of gravity: Maggie and PJ’s relationship. Fans of direct to video franchise slasher entries will find much to enjoy here. Those who want something more artistic and subtextual will find themselves hungry by the end. Much like the big game every year, films like The Third Saturday in October Part V are best enjoyed with some great friends, good beer, and piping hot pizza: enough to melt in your mouth like a good slice should.
Overall Score? 6.5/10