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 film features a repeated anti-Evangelical Christian theme. It was belatedly released in 1979 by Cannon Films.

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 as a sexploitation melodrama 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. Not to mention the copious amounts of awkward sexual situations.” 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, especially in the face of the sexual itinerary they’ve been forced to endure up to that point. 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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Savage Weekend is incoherent, illiterate and inept. It’s a shoestring show with bad sound, which is ironic, considering the regular appearances played by microphones.” Ed Blank, Pittsburgh Press, January 20, 1981

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

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Cast and characters:

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

Filming locations:

Hudson River Valley, New York, USA


Despite title changes, the international promotional images for this film had a familiar look:


Categories: 1970s, Blu-ray, religious horror, rural horror, serial killer, slasher

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