Savage Weekend – USA, 1976

‘All they wanted was fun… what they got was terror… mayhem… murder!

Savage Weekend is a 1976 American slasher horror feature film written, produced and directed by David Paulsen as The Upstate Murders and initially marketed as Killer Behind the Mask. The movie stars Christopher Allport, Jim Doerr, David Gale and Devin Goldenberg.

Dov Seltzer provided the soundtrack score for this film, plus Night Terrors and The Mummy Lives.

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Two rich stockbrokers and their partners, plus their camp gay friend, leave New York City and head upstate to the country to watch a boat being built. Unfortunately for them, they are stalked by a psychotic murderer wearing a ghoulish mask…

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On September 29, 2015, Savage Weekend was released on Blu-ray in the US by Kino Lorber with a brand-new HD transfer. Blu-ray, packaging, and extras are all produced by Walt Olsen (Scorpion Releasing).

Special Features:

  • On camera interview with star William Sanderson
  • On camera interview with star Caitlin O’Heaney
  • On camera interview with star Jeff Pomeranz
  • Original Theatrical Trailer


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“The chief problem is everything being lazy from the drag-ass editing, absent acting, and a story that could have been condensed into fifteen minutes or less that still wouldn’t have quite made sense […] One couldn’t care less about the yuppie meatbags as they bounce into each other trying to provoke inane intrigue.” Basement of Ghoulish Decadence

“With its upstate setting, neurotic New Yorkers and kinky bed-hopping antics, the first two thirds of the narrative plays […] similar to an Andy Milligan film such as Seeds of Sin or The Ghastly Ones (aka Blood Rites) … On the other hand, the final third of the film predates the ‘slasher’ movie formula with a masked killer dispatching a group of people in a rural setting using a variety of makeshift weapons … ” Hysteria Lives

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“The horror elements are in place and well accounted for, including a few gritty sets and somewhat effective cinematography (Gus Van Sant with no talent, maybe?). Unfortunately, it takes an hour of wading through dreary nonsense, bad continuity, and a truly hideous score to get there.” Bleeding Skull

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“Most of the actual blood and gore happens away from the camera, a detail that will most assuredly frustrate those desperate for a little crimson output […] Granted, a gimmick involving bad wiring, a light bulb and a woman tied to a table saw, is far more clever than it should be — and will probably garner a chuckle or two from even the most jaded of horror fan.” Cranked on Cinema

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legacy of blood jim harper critical vision


“The most important aspect about Savage Weekend is the fact that it was shot in 1976, two years before Halloween, and therefore is an important precursor to the slasher boom. Sadly, everything else about the film is amateurish, boring and predictable.” Jim Harper, Legacy of Blood: A Comprehensive Guide to Slasher Movies, Critical Vision, 2004

Cast and characters:

  • Christopher Allport … Nicky – Jack Frost and its sequel
  • Jim Doerr … Robert Fathwood
  • David Gale … Mac Macauley – SyngenorRe-Animator; The Brain; Pulse Pounders
  • Devin Goldenberg … Jay Alsop – The Last Horror Film
  • Marilyn Hamlin … Marie Sales Pettis
  • Caitlin O’Heaney … Shirley Sales – He Knows You’re Alone; WolfenLate Phases
  • Jeff Pomerantz … Greg Pettis – Retribution
  • William Sanderson … Otis – Mirror, Mirror; Sometimes They Come Back; Stageghost
  • Yancy Butler … Little Girl – Lake Placid vs. Anaconda; Rage of the Yeti
  • Adam Hirsch … Jeremy Pettis
  • Don Plumley … Pool Player
  • Ben Simon … Lumberman
  • Geraldine Chapin … Woman at Bar
  • Rae Chapin … Lumberman
  • Claude Dickison … Waitress at Bar
  • Robert T. Henderson … Bartender

Filming locations:

Hudson River Valley, New York, USA

Promotion and release:

Despite title changes, the international promotional images for this film had a familiar look. It was eventually released in 1979 by Cannon Films.


British censors the BBFC passed the film with cuts at 83m 17s on 16 October 1978 for release by Entertainment Film Distributos Ltd.


Image courtesy of Basement of Ghoulish Decadence

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