The Third Saturday in October: pair of retro slashers gets May release from Dark Sky

Dark Sky Films will be releasing the retro slashers The Third Saturday in October: Part I and Part V in May!

I primarily associate distributor Dark Sky Films with Adam Green’s Hatchet / Victor Crowley slasher franchise – so it seems very appropriate that the company is now home to the old school style slasher franchise The Third Saturday in October! The two Third Saturday in October films have been making the festival rounds in recent months, and today Dark Sky Films has announced they will be giving them a VOD and digital release on May 5th!

The titles of these slashers are The Third Saturday in October: Part I and The Third Saturday in October: Part V… and if you think it’s confusing that we’re jumping right from one to five, here’s a little more information on exactly what these films are:

What if a lost horror franchise made during the peak of the slasher genre was unearthed today, but only two of the films could be restored? Filmmaker Jay Burleson imagined just that with The Third Saturday in October.

A double feature of terror, The Third Saturday in October: Part V sees unstoppable killer Jakkariah Harding once again stalking and butchering the football-loving residents of a small Alabama town, this time finding a treasure trove of victims after he chances upon a football watch party. And then get ready to see how the horror began in The Third Saturday in October: Part I, which tells the story of Harding’s death row escape and ensuing slaughter as two survivors of his initial attack hunt him down.

Aiming to recreate the by-gone video store days when horror fans might have had to watch a franchise out of order, the filmmakers intended for viewers to start with Part V and then go back to Part 1.

Twice the scares, twice the laughs, and a world-building start of a franchise that’s as outlandishly clever in its deception as every gore set piece it throws on screen, The Third Saturday in October films are a red-blooded American slice of southern gothic infused with a deliciously twisted sense of humor.

Here’s the individual synopsis for The Third Saturday in October: Part V:

It’s Part V. Unstoppable killer Jakkariah “Jack” Harding is back in town after seven years, as he stalks and kills at random before chancing upon a football watch party. The game is, of course, between longstanding rivals the Alabama-Mobile Seahawks and Tennessee A&M Commonwealth. Chaos ensues, in increasingly ridiculous fashion, with inventive murders and multiple love triangles. Hearts are broken and appendages are torn.

The film was written and directed by Jay Burleson and produced by Frank Crafts and Ian J. Cunningham. It stars Kansas Bowling (Christmas Bloody Christmas), Poppy Cunningham (The Death of Dick Long), Taylor Smith (Angels on Earth: The Light of Faith), Bart Hyatt (The Nobodies), Autumnn Jaide (Deathless), Tom Hagale (Dormant), and Parker Love Bowling (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood).

Here’s the synopsis for The Third Saturday in October: Part I:

A lost slasher film from the golden age of the slasher genre. October 1979. Ricky Dean is a man on a mission. Years ago, he lost a child at the hands of a psychopathic killer named Jakkariah Harding. When Harding escapes Death Row, Ricky Dean throws himself into the line of fire to stop him from killing again as Harding preys upon a group of friends gathered to watch a college football game.

Burleson again wrote and directed, and producers Crafts and Cunningham were joined on this one by Lauren Musgrove. The film stars Darius Willis (Benched), K.J. Baker (The Starling Girl), Allison Shrum (Ozark), Lew Temple (The Devil’s Rejects), Antonio Woodruff (He Got Away), Casey Aud (Love Incidental), Kate Edmonds (Root Letter), and Veanna Black (Single Drunk Female).

Here’s the fake history the filmmakers put together for the franchise: The long lost slasher franchise The Third Saturday in October is back! Red Corpses LLC and Sleep Creature LLC are proud to announce they have partnered with Dark Sky Films to restore and release two entries in the long running slasher saga.

The series began in 1979 as a quick cash-in on John Carpenter’s Halloween. Series producer Frank Crafts, an Alabama native, believed he had a great idea for a horror film with Southern roots – what if Halloween were set in the South, and instead of a traditional holiday, it centered around a Southern institution: college football. Thus, The Third Saturday in October was born, a small-town slasher film revolving around a group of friends watching an annual football match between the Alabama-Mobile Seahawks and the Tennessee A&M Commonwealth. Unfortunately for them, an unstoppable killer named Jakkariah Harding shows up to murder them one by one.

The original film garnered little national attention but birthed multiple low-rent sequels throughout the 1980s before the franchise flamed out when the trashy fourth installment ran the series completely off the rails. Borrowing a page from the Halloween playbook, Crafts doubled down and attempted to resurrect the saga with an unrelated spin-off in 1990, but the series returned to the Jakkariah Harding storyline in 1994, utilizing a comedic approach to hopefully win back its audience. The series officially ended in 2000 with Part VI: The Last Third Saturday in October, but the series ultimately fell victim to what producer Ian Cunningham refers to as “The Third Saturday Curse”, as the films slowly vanished off the face of the earth after a series of unfortunate events, including internal feuding, bankruptcy, a warehouse fire, and cheap VHS manufacturing leading to unplayable tapes.

With the assistance of Dark Sky Films, the creators of the saga have unearthed two of their lost films: the original offering from 1979, and the 1994 sequel The Third Saturday in October: Part V.

The official website for the franchise can be found at THIS LINK.

I have already had the chance to watch both of the Third Saturday in October movies, and as a slasher fan I found them to be a total blast. I’m very glad that more fans are going to have the chance to watch these movies starting next month… and here’s hoping it will be a successful release, because if these movies are well-received we might see Burleson fill in the gaps and make the other entries in this “lost franchise”.

The trailer for The Third Saturday in October: Part V can be seen at the top of this article, and the trailer for Part I is right here:

The Third Saturday in October: Part I

Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/the-third-saturday-in-october-dark-sky/

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