The Third Saturday in October is the story of serial killer Jack Harding and how his grisly tradition began. Harding is set to be executed eleven years after he has committed a series of murders. When the electrocution goes off without a hitch, the people of town are elated – with the exception of Ricky Dean Logan (Darius Williams) whose worst fears prove to be true.
As is often the case with the first part of any installment, this has a more serious atmosphere than its sequel. There is just as much gore, but none of the kills have a ridiculous feel to them. Essentially, no one has been burned out on the premise or characters yet. There is no need to be over the top and no opportunity for self-parody. The Third Day in October is very much a what you see is what you get situation, which is the vibe it should go for.
It was a wise decision by writer-director Jay Burleson to make this more of a homage than a comedy. The Third Saturday in October feels like it is a love letter to slashers instead of making fun of them. This makes it more enjoyable. Plus, some of the comedy falls flat. Most glaringly is a running joke involving characters meowing that is barely amusing the first time and becomes increasingly irritating as it happens more.
Much like Part V, there is little of note in the body of the film. There is an attempt to get to know the characters, but there is nothing that is engaging. The subplot sees Ricky Dean Logan and Vicki Newton (K.J. Baker) racing across the state to confront Harding. Again, it seems like the idea is to give depth, but it feels more like filler than anything else. (This is where the lack of fun hurts.)
The Third Saturday in October works hard to match the tone of the slashers of the early 1980s. There are some bright spots – the setting is perfect – but it also does little to stand on its own legs. None of the characters are offensively bad, but they also do not leave an impression. Watched as a double bill with Part V it works well; on its own it is forgettable.
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