It’s hard to say which scene epitomizes Savage Weekend. Is it the moment when a woman gets aroused while pumping milk from a cow’s teats? Or is it the vignette of a gay man getting such a twisted thrill by watching straight people have sex that he grips barbed wire till his hands bleed? Although lots of vaguely provocative things happen in Savage Weekend, the movie as a whole is befuddling, dull, and even a little bit pretentious. Like most pictures with similar subject matter, Savage Weekend—also known as The Upstate Murders—contains many ugly episodes of violence against women, as well as a generally perverse fixation on brutality. Yet unlike, say, John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978), this flick isn’t made with sufficient aptitude to merit either close examination or righteous indignation. It’s just another hack job by folks who, conceivably, could have made something worthwhile if they’d pulled their minds out of the cinematic gutter. Oh, well. The plot involves a group of friends, all professional people well into adulthood, trekking from New York City to an upstate forest for a weekend getaway. As they play out various psychosexual dramas, a crazed killer with a penchant for weird masks murders them one by one. A generous viewer might say there’s novelty here, since the victims aren’t kids and one of the characters is gay, but such generosity seems wasted given that Savage Weekend is a shapeless compendium of gore and smut, none of it exciting to watch. But, hey, maybe you like the idea of seeing future Newhart star William Sanderson portray a rural psychotic. In that case, however, you’re better off watching him in 1977’s race-relations potboiler Fight for Your Life, which is even sleazier and a whole lot more coherent.
Savage Weekend: LAME