The “Third Saturday in October” is the name given to one of college football’s fiercest rivalries, the Alabama–Tennessee game historically played every year on – you guessed it – the third Saturday in October. While the date of the game was fluid for a period of time, schedulers have attempted to rectify this as often as possible in recent years. The Third Saturday in October is also the title of a new franchise masquerading as a “lost” franchise from the classic slasher cycle era. With Part V released first and the “original” film released right on its heels, the two films are best viewed as a pair, which is exactly what Make Believe Seattle did on Saturday evening.
The Third Saturday in October Part V
A love letter to the lesser sequels to popular 80s slasher franchises. An unstoppable killer stalks and butchers the occupants of multiple homes across the stretch of one lone country road as the residents prepare to watch the yearly college football showdown between the Alabama-Mobile Seahawks and Tennessee A&M Commonwealth.
While this horror nerd will admit that the vibe of the the next film in this pairing works more for his personal aesthetics and tastes, starting with a fifth installment in a series is a bold choice. The film does a great job recapping the story to get us to the events events of this sequel, as well. So, by the time this story really starts to roll, the viewer is as caught up as they need to be.
At its best, this film hits its peaks with the fun kills and the homage to slasher sequels. The dialog is clunky and the aesthetic is oddly a bit too nice looking to feel low budget and too messy to feel big budget… so, while it harms the appeal for this reviewer, it also lines up with the goal of equating to the lesser sequels of the classic slashers – which is, of course, its intent.
Mostly, what it does best is whet one’s proverbial whistle for the main course, the origin and backstory told by the franchise’s “lost” original film… the second in the double feature.
The Third Saturday in October
A lost slasher film from the golden age of the genre. Years ago, Ricky Dean lost a child at the hands of a spree killer. As the killer escapes Death Row, Ricky Dean throws himself in the line of fire to stop him from killing again.
Fully realizing the gimmick and concept of this series, this film hits all the sweet spots. It tells the origin well, embraces the early slasher cycle look and feel, and has some sweet kills. While it most certainly can stand alone, watching it back to back with Part V really highlights how it fits into the classic slasher mold and how it’s designed specifically as a love letter to the subgenre – and the genre on the whole.
The Third Saturday in October is certainly also likely to play particularly well for fans of the actual teams in the rivalry and residents of the Alabama-Tennessee area. The love letter extends beyond the genre, but also to the region and the culture. A great deal of love and care went into these films… and that is clear. There’s zero “phoning it in” and even the most cynical genre fans should be able to appreciate that.
In other words, this is a double feature well worth your time, even if slashers aren’t always your thing. The ideas and overall concept are extremely strong, even when the execution falters. It’s easy to see that the filmmakers here love horror film and love what they’re doing… something that is always highly infectious for a true horror nerd like this one right here!
The Third Saturday in October Part V and The Third Saturday in October played at the first annual Make Believe Film Festival in Seattle. Check out more about the festival at makebelieveseattle.com.