Savage Weekend (1979)

savage weekend movie poster 1979
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Early slasher, some interesting aspects

Feels desperately grindhouse

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Savage Weekend

Studio:  Upstate Murder Co.

Genre(s):  B-Movie/Horror/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  1979

MPAA Rating:  R

savage weekend mask killer

Michael stole my gig!

For Marie Pettis (Marilyn Hamlin), a weekend retreat seems like a good idea.  Headed to upstate New York with her boyfriend Robert (Jim Doerr), her friend Nicky (Christopher Allport), and her sister Shirley (Caitlin O’Heaney), Marie finds a vacation might not be as relaxing as planned.  As a strange man named Otis (William Sanderson) seems to watch the group, murders start occurring.  Marie and her friends are being targeted…but who is the killer?

Directed by David Paulsen, Savage Weekend is a horror slasher.  Going by the titles The Killer Behind the Mask and The Upstate Murders, the movie was actually shot in 1976 and is often seen as a precursor to horror slashers like Halloween (despite its later release date).

savage weekend gay character christopher allport

Wait, what’s happening here?

Savage Weekend is a low-budget grindhouse style film.  It has that dirty, gritty style of a ’70s movie that gives it some charm, but the movie isn’t quite as good.  It does have its moments tough.

The movie is a weird blend of something like Deliverance and Last House on the Left.  The mystery isn’t very interesting and everyone comes off as crazy through most of the movie so it feels a bit desperate.  It is kind of notable that the movie has one of its leads as a gay character (who despite being rather flamboyant also isn’t a complete push-over).

The movie is the film premiere of Marilyn Hamlin and also features an early appearance of popular character actor William Sanderson as the disturbed Otis.  Christopher Allport plays the gay Nicky and Re-Animator villain David Gale plays another character who is over-the-top in his role.  Witchblade star Yancy Butler also appears as a kid in the film.

savage weekend ending william sanderson chainsaw

Uh, it’s actually Monday so you don’t have to be so savage…

The movie does have some fun visuals.  I love this period of film, and the dirty, sloppy shooting of the movie does add to the creep factor (which of course must have a scary mask).  The movie faced some criticism for the violence and deaths, but of course that style of movie ended up ruling the ’80s.

Savage Weekend isn’t the best slasher film, but if you’ve run out of movies and can’t stand to watch Friday the 13th one more time, it could be the answer.  Savage Weekend making upstate New York seem a lot less classy and much more redneck.  The film is often found on multi-packs and is in the public domain so it can easily be found online.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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