Saturday the 14th

Saturday the 14th is a 1981 American comedy horror film starring real-life husband and wife Paula Prentiss and Richard Benjamin, co-written and directed by Howard R. Cohen and produced by Julie Corman.

Saturday the 14th
Saturday the fourteenth.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byHoward R. Cohen
Produced byJulie Corman
Screenplay byHoward R. Cohen
Story byJeff Begun
Music byParmer Fuller
CinematographyDaniel Lacambre
Edited byKent Beyda
Joanne D'Antonio
Distributed byNew World Pictures
Release date
  • August 14, 1981 (1981-08-14)
  • November 20, 1981 (1981-11-20) (Los Angeles)[1]
Running time
76 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$4 million[2]

Despite the implications of the film's title, it is a spoof of classic horror movies and not a parody of the Friday the 13th series or slasher films of that type.[3][4] It was followed by Saturday the 14th Strikes Back in 1988.


An all-American family inherits a deceased uncle's house. John (Richard Benjamin) and Mary Hyatt (Paula Prentiss), together with daughter Debbie (Kari Michaelsen) and son Billy (Kevin Brando), move in, but Waldemar (Jeffrey Tambor), a vampire, and Yolanda (Nancy Lee Andrews), his wife, want desperately to get into the rundown house because it contains a book of evil.

Billy finds the mysterious book. He reads of a curse hanging over the date of Saturday the 14th. As he turns the page, a monster is unleashed and with each turn, another disappears from the page and is materialized within or outside the home. The house is soon swarming with monsters.

Strange things start happening: eyes appear in John's coffee, sandwiches are mysteriously eaten, the television tunes into The Twilight Zone only, dirt is found in Mary's bed, dishes get done by themselves, neighbors disappear. As this is happening, neither John or Mary suspect anything, completely oblivious to the spooky occurrences around them.

Waldemar gets into the house by turning into a bat. Mary keeps hearing noises at night, which she thinks are made by owls, but are actually the sounds of Waldemar in bat form. John hires an exterminator to get rid of the bats. The exterminator turns out to be Van Helsing (Severn Darden), who is also after the book of evil.

John and Mary begin planning a housewarming party for Saturday the 14th. Guests arrive, but they cannot leave. When they try, a thunderstorm appears outside the door. As the night unfolds, the monsters begin to kill the guests one by one.

Eventually a duel between Van Helsing and Waldemar and Yolanda erupts, where it is discovered that Van Helsing wants the book in order to rule the world and Waldemar and Yolanda were only trying to stop him from getting his hands on it. Good triumphs over evil, as Van Helsing and the monsters are defeated.

The Hyatts end up in an upscale new home, while Waldemar and Yolanda keep the original house as their own.



The film was given a limited release theatrically in the United States by New World Pictures on August 14, 1981, opening in cities such as Des Moines, Iowa[5] and Alexandria, Louisiana.[6] It premiered in Los Angeles on November 20, 1981.[1]

Critical responseEdit

Variety called the film "a pathetic farce which will seem frail even on TV, for which it should probably have been made in the first place...As usual with recent New World productions, the special effects and, in this case, the monster get-ups are actually pretty good, but they exist in a vacuum of inspiration as to what to do with them."[7] Vincent Canby of The New York Times dismissed it as "an unfunny horror-film parody."[8] Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune gave the film one star out of four and labeled it "a feeble comedy with a husband-and-wife star acting team mugging in front of the camera. Comedies don't need stars. They just need jokes, and 'Saturday the 14th' doesn't have many."[4] Tom Shales of The Washington Post wrote that the film "merely resurrects a passel of haunted-house wheezes so antique that even the Bowery Boys would be driven to groans by them." He thought that children might enjoy it, but "that's really not enough to base a movie on."[3] Linda Gross of the Los Angeles Times wrote that it was "not a laugh riot, but a silly spoof of horror movies whose appeal probably will be limited to younger people who haven't been exposed to making fun of Dracula for as long as the rest of us."[9]

The film has an approval rating of 10% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 10 reviews, with an average score of 3.4 out of 10.[10]

Home mediaEdit

It was later released on VHS by Embassy Home Entertainment.

The film was released on DVD by New Concorde Home Entertainment in 2001. This release is currently out of print, although Netflix currently has some copies available to rent and Amazon Prime video has it available for its members.[11]

Scream Factory announced a Blu-ray release of the film for release on January 15, 2019.[12]


  1. ^ a b "Saturday the 14th". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Los Angeles, California: American Film Institute. Archived from the original on January 8, 2020.
  2. ^ Christopher T Koetting, Mind Warp! The Fantastic True Story of Roger Corman's New World Pictures, Hemlock Books. 2009. p. 200
  3. ^ a b Shales, Tom (November 23, 1981). "Stiff 'Saturday'". The Washington Post: C2.
  4. ^ a b Siskel, Gene (September 1, 1981). "Saturday the 14th". Chicago Tribune. Section 2, p. 12.
  5. ^ "Theater Clock". Des Moines Tribune. Des Moines, Iowa. August 13, 1981. p. 36 – via
  6. ^ "Mixed bag awaits theatergoers". The Times. Shreveport, Louisiana. August 14, 1981. p. 2-F – via
  7. ^ "Saturday the 14th". Variety: 20. November 25, 1981.
  8. ^ Canby, Vincent (January 16, 1982). "Film: 2 Horror Movies". The New York Times: 12.
  9. ^ Gross, Linda (November 25, 1981). "'Saturday' Spoofs Evil In Eerie, PA." Los Angeles Times. Part VI, p. 6.
  10. ^ "Saturday the 14th". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  11. ^ "Saturday the 14th (DVD)". Retrieved 2011-04-13.
  12. ^ "Saturday the 14th (Blu-ray)". Retrieved 2018-10-01.

External linksEdit