I had the opportunity to check out a fairly obscure and not too well known (to most) film this week. I would probably call this one of the last great slasher films of the 1980’s. Dozens of slashers came out during the peak decade for the sub-genre. But as the ‘90s approached, horror movies as a whole were beginning to lose significant popularity at the box office. This film I believe may have suffered because of the dwindling support of our beloved genre. I think in a way, the over-saturation of slasher films almost killed horror. No pun intended. I mean, this is serious fucking stuff folks!
Today we check out 1989’s Intruder. The flick follows a group of overnight stockers at a local grocery store, who are in for a night they’ll never forget. As they are being stalked and hunted down by a mysterious intruder. The film was directed by Scott Spiegel, who co-wrote Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn with Sam Raimi. Spiegel returned a favor by casting Sam Raimi in one of the roles as well his younger brother Ted.
Intruder flexes it horror muscles with a few other genre actors as well. Along with the Raimi brothers, we have Renee Estevez (Sleepaway Camp II), Dan Hicks (Evil Dead 2) and even a small cameo from the KING himself, Bruce Campbell. Intruder also boasts an amazing group of special effects gurus. In 1988, fledgling SFX guys Howard Berger, Robert Kurtzman and Greg Nicotero started KNB Efx Group. If you’ve never heard of these guys, you’re not doing your late night movie homework. They have worked on a slew of horror films over the years, including Misery (1990), Army of Darkness (1992), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) just to name a couple and I could keep going at length. Currently their production company’s work can be seen on the mega-hit TV series, The Walking Dead. I may just write an entire piece on their production company for the Syndicate’s Horror Icons segment. That’s how much of an effect this team has had on the horror genre.
Get on with it!
Okay, on to the damn movie. All the aforementioned positives seem like they are too good to be true. Don’t they? Well, in a way they are. It is a very well done movie. With great camera work, capturing an immense feeling of dread. Obviously there were tremendous special effects. There were some really great death scenes in this one. The acting is very so-so and par for the course in the slasher genre. The heroine in particular was not well cast. Some of the pun-intended grocery store gaffs were amusing. Others felt forced. The killer was a bit of a surprise, although motive was a little lacking. This movie had all the ingredients necessary to be the greatest slasher of all time. But kind of fell short.
Don’t get me wrong. It is still a great film. Maybe it’s the over-saturation of slashers I mentioned, that is the cause of this one getting caught under the tide of monotony. But make no mistake, this is worth watching and is stocked full of great stalk and slash moments, pun definitely intended. This is a nice slasher send off to the 1980’s.
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