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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Intruder (1989)

I’ve been digging up some less than stellar examples of slasher movies, so I think it is about time to reward myself with an old favorite that I’ve not covered here at the site. That movie is Intruder, a little gem of a flick set in a grocery store and directed by Scott Spiegel with some appearances from his friends. I’ll have more on that later.

The night crew has been called into the Walnut Lake Market to start marking down everything in preparation for the store closing. The owners have sold it to the town and are pulling the plug on the business as well as the jobs of their employees. One of those employees, Jennifer, has a crazy ex-boyfriend who shows up and starts some trouble. Excellent we have a suspect for what is to come! After kicking him out they lock the doors and get to work. But someone isn’t about to let them have a peaceful night. One by one the employees are stalked and killed in brutal ways. But who is the killer and why are they picking on this one store? No spoilers here other than to say that they are “Just Crazy about this store”.

Here we have a movie that hits just about every requirement that the slasher subgenre requires. You have an isolated location, victims setup for the slaughter, some mystery as to who the killer is, and of course excellent gore. The one thing that fans might notice is the lack of nudity. Honestly with the setting and the fact that things take place over what seems like a couple of hours that doesn’t bother me with Intruder. In fact, it might have felt a bit forced and spoiled some of the fun if it was shoehorned in. The quick pace and constant action also helps since so much is being thrown at you as a viewer you probably wouldn’t notice. This is an excellent script that leans heavily into creative kills.

Anyone else remember those generic beer cans? Good times.
This movie was made on a lower budget, around one hundred and thirty thousand, which isn’t as much as it sounds. They put every penny on the screen by minimizing costs. The entire movie takes place in one location, which really helps with cost. Spiegel also managed to find some effects guys named Kurtzman, Nicotero, and Berger who were starting a new company and trying to get their feet in the door. Of course, this was the beginning of the legendary KNB. He was also able to get some of his friends to help out and play characters. It is fortunate that Sam and Ted Rami as well as Bruce Campbell are your pals! It all comes together and makes for a decent slasher flick. Probably one of if not the best of the latter ones to be released.

The special effects work is stellar. We get a solid eight kills, all on screen and all very bloody. There are a couple stabbings, a knife thru a chest that punctures some beer cans, a meat hook thru the chin, a cringe-worthy gag with a desk spindle thru an eye, and the gooey head smashing in the pneumatic cardboard crusher. Anyone who has ever worked at a grocery store has had that nightmare. But the signature kill and the one that everyone remembers is the band saw thru the head complete with teeth being dislodged as it cuts is merry way along! Be warned there are some cut versions of Intruder floating around and I’d recommend the Blu-Ray release put out a few years ago. It is restored in its bloody glory.

With the recent passing of Danny Hicks, who plays assistant manager Bill Roberts, I thought it was time to dust this Blu-Ray off and give it another look. I love Intruder and normally watch it every October, but somehow missed it last year. I’m so very pleased to cover this one for the slasher marathon as it is a movie that everyone needs to check out. If what I’ve stated above doesn’t convince you, we even get a Three Stooges connection as their longtime straight man Emil Sitka shows up and drops his famous line “Hold hands you lovebirds.”

What isn’t to love about Intruder? It is an excellent low budget horror movie with great kills and many familiar faces. Plus no one could tell a severed head story like Danny Hicks! I highly recommend that you give this one a chance if you haven’t already.

© Copyright 2020 John Shatzer

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