Saturday the 14th Strikes Back (1988)

Recently I watched the Australian superhero satire The Return of Captain Invincible. I mention this because it happened to be an unfunny comedy that suddenly and inexplicably turned into a terrible musical 20 minutes into its running time, so when I was 15 minutes into Saturday the 14th Strikes Back and the peroxide blonde vampiress who looked just like an ’80s New Wave porn star started singing about how much she misses vegetables, I was hit by a profound case of the what-the-fucks.

Luckily, this scene turned out to be an aberration, and none of the other characters felt compelled to burst out into song over the hour that remained until the movie limped along to its merciful conclusion, but the constant threat that they might at least managed to inspire the kind of tension the rest of Strikes Back sorely lacked.

Written and directed by Howard R. Cohen, the auteur also responsible for the original Saturday the 14th, Strikes Back was clearly made for a young audience, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that it is neither funny nor scary. The cast is game and there are some potentially amusing surreal touches (such as the mother’s strange aversion to serving healthy foods), but they are all so poorly timed and executed that none of them stick.

It doesn’t help that the film includes several shots from Allan Arkush’s Rock ‘n’ Roll High School during its inexplicable climax, painfully reminding you of a much better way you could have spent the previous 80 minutes of your life. —Allan Mott

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