Mike’s Review: Third Saturday in October Part IV (2022 Popcorn Frights Film Festival)

★★  out of ★★★★★
Written and Directed by Jay Burleson.

We all know the rule. Sequels are (read: mostly) awful. Always (read: most of the the time). The further you get in to a franchise the sequels will GROW proportionally more awful. Two might be passable, but by the time you get to Part IV you’ve just purchased a non-refundable one-way ticket to Stink Town. Population: suck. 

After watching the slasher party the Third Saturday in October it was fairly clear that the Third Saturday in October Part IV was going be a raucous and retro 1980s throwdown. Sadly, it doesn’t hold much of a candle to the first Third Saturday in October. 

If you’re lost that might just be writer and director Jay Burleson’s clever scheme. There’s a very real possibility that Burleson planned it this way. While both films are loving homages to slasher fare of yesteryear, both have been released in 2022. Mind you, there’s no Third Saturday in October Part II or III. Nope he just jumps straight to Part IV with a clever bit of narrative exposition at that explains the “franchise” history. 

By moving from a pretty decent throwback to a barely passable film it’s clear that  Burleson might not just be telling us that sequels suck, but he’s actually making this case in the context of entire film!

Part IV uses the same plot device as the first film in the “series.” It’s the weekend of the big rivalry game with the Alabama-Mobile Seahawks and Tennessee Commonwealth. The community is focus on the big game and everyone is passively ignorant about slasher Jakkariah Harding’s whereabouts. 

While the first film focuses entirely around the Alabama-Mobile Seahawk fans and their community, the second (nay, fourth) film begins with a Tennessee Commonwealth family getting ready for the game.  Initially it appeared the Burlseon was going to flip the entire film by switching the focus from Alabama to Tennessee, but instead it becomes a mishmash of fans and you have no idea what city they’re actually in.  Funny enough Burleson uses stock footage of a University of Oregon Ducks and Oregon State University Beavers Civil War rivalry game as the stand in for Alabama-Tennessee. 

ATMOSfx! Woo!
Look out! Jakkariah’s behind you!!!

The film is almost entirely set in a house where a group of friends have gathered to watch the big game. Most of the characters are cookie-cutter archetypes, but there are a couple characters and performances that standout, including Taylor Smith as Peter the psycho-jock, and Bart Hyatt as Lester the carbon copy of whiny wheelchair-bound Franklin from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. 

Harding eventually appears and lays waste to the entire cadre of football enthusiasts. Peter the psycho jock gets his comeuppance, but not before a series of funny run-ins where Harding has tied him up and amputated his toes. Each person that comes in to find Peter tied up begins to help him escape but fails miserably and comedically leaving the lascivious Peter to roil in his pain.

There’s funny bits here and there, but the film is devoid of the pitch perfect creativity, set designs, and costuming of the original. There’s a couple items and bits of ephemera here and there that yell late 1980s, but certainly nothing like the original. And maybe that’s the point. 

If Burleson really was hell-bent on making the point that the original Halloween was pure brilliance and Halloween IV was utter and unnecessary garbage, then he made the point and them some. If, however, Burleson had a couple extra bucks lying around and free weekend to plow through Part IV, then it shows.

Like many Part “IV”s floating around in the underbelly of the horror universe, the Third Saturday in October Part IV is not really worth your time. Skip Part IV and go re-watch the original. That’s always a far better game plan.  

Third Saturday in October is definitely Rated R and currently playing at horror festivals everywhere.

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