Lawrence Bender and Scott Speigel
Elizabeth Cox as Jennifer Ross
Renee Estevez as Linda
Danny Hicks as Bill Roberts
David Byrnes as Craig Peterson
Sam Raimi as Randy
Eugene Glazer as Danny
It’s nighttime at Michigan’s Lake Supermarket and pretty cashier Jennifer (Elizabeth Cox) is being harassed by her psycho ex-boyfriend, Craig Peterson (David Byrnes). Those who work at the supermarket look for him, kick him out, and call the cops. With everything back to normal, they find out that the store is closing permanently soon and by the beginning of next month they will be jobless. As a result, they will need to markdown the prices. Regardless, they go about their work. Soon, though, a deranged killer is stalking them and taking them out one by one in the most grisly ways possible.
This graphic slasher flick first caught my attention back in the late 80s when I saw the bloody cover of the now defunct horror mag Gorezone, which featured an image of a bloody bisected head. The cover caused some controversy. I would see Intruder some time after on video, albeit in a terribly truncated and butchered R-rated version from Paramount video which lost five minutes of splattery FX footage. Years later it would hit DVD finally unrated, but I never saw that version as it was said to be a very subpar release. It is only now that Synapse Films has given this movie it’s just due by putting out an amazing Blu-ray/ DVD combo release. And, while it was good in the R-cut, uncut it is amazing and a must see!
While Intruder follows much of the slasher film formula, it truly stands out from the ilk of that time for many reasons, the first being Speigel’s amazing style. As one of the guys behind the first twoEvil Dead movies, Director and co-writer Scott Speilgel brings that same kinetic look to this movie. There are some crazy angles and snake-like movements, including some of the most innovative POVs, you’ve ever seen. Ever wonder what it would be like to see the POV of a bucket, telephone, or floor? Well, you’ll see it here. Add in the tight and ingenious editing and you have a movie that is technically superior to many of the stalk and slash that were out at that point in time.
Speigel knows how to build up the tension. Intruder takes it’s time setting up the place, situation, and, more or less, the characters. The climax is pretty exciting and highly suspenseful. The ending is a cool little shock/ twist, which I definitely enjoyed.
Intruder also has some mostly likable characters, which works well, as for the most part they are not the usual cardboard, stereotypical ones that appear in films like this. The acting ranges from pretty decent to good. Evil Dead fans should take note as both Raimi brothers are featured in this one, and Bruce Campbell has a cool cameo at the end. Also doing a cameo in that scene is co-writer and future Pulp Fiction/ Tarantino producer Lawrence Bender. Slasher fans should also be pleased that Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers’ cute Renee Estevez, sister to Emilo Estevez and Charlie Sheen, is in the movie as well. But, it’s Cox that is the main character here and the one we spend the most time with. She is likable and fairly resourceful, even if she spends a good amount of the film screaming her ass off. I won’t reveal who plays the killer; except to say that he is really fun in the role. He is totally insane and highly entertaining to watch. By the way, try not to watch the trailer to this one, as it stupidly reveals who the killer is.
Really, though, it’s KNB’s make-up FX that are the real stars of the movie. This was the first flick they worked on, as they were trying to get their own make-up company going. Speigel knew them from their work assisting Mark Shostrom on Evil Dead 2. Their ultra-gory FX are absolutely topnotch and stomach-churning here. While, upon the film’s release most of the gore was cut out, it is now here in all its’ bloody glory! This is a flick whose splatter content is far more graphic than a lot of the slasher movies coming out at the time were. Witness the spike through the eye, brutal stabbings, and other acts of bloody mayhem that will make your jaw drop. The two best effects have to be the head crushed by hydraulic press and the incredible head bisection by band-saw, that in its uncut version rank as one of the best kills in any horror film. Interestingly enough most of the deaths are met out to men; and in fact they get killed the worst ways. This movie can never be accused of the misogyny that some liked to point the fingers to when it came to movies like this.
I found Intruder to be a thoroughly enjoyable tour-de-force of gore and violence. If you have only seen it in the R-cut, you need to do yourself the favor of seeing it uncut. If you made the mistake of buying the crappy looking earlier DVD release, don’t waste any time and upgrade to this version, which features a rich and stunning transfer. And, if you’ve never seen it, then see it now! This is a truly awesome cinematic experience for slasher fans and gorehounds alike.
***The Horror Czar’s Note: The recommendation to view the uncut version is MORE than a recommendation, it is a necessity. The cut versions without the great gore only leave everything else in this film, and it’s a disaster. Horrible. Get uncut and get the great gore, but pass by at all costs otherwise, IMHO.