Monday, January 2, 2012

#504. Intruder (1989)

Directed By: Scott Spiegel

Starring: Elizabeth Cox, Renée Estevez, Dan Hicks

Tag line: "If this one does not scare you, you're already dead!"

Trivia:  The film was originally entitled "The Night Crew", but distributors felt that the film would be more marketable if it was given a more generic slasher movie title

Most '80s slasher flicks follow a similar story line: a group of teens, usually gathered in a secluded location, are stalked by an unknown killer, who finishes most of them off before being out-witted by one or two survivors. 

Where these movies get a chance to differentiate themselves and stand out from the crowd are in their kill scenes, and the crazier and more inventive these sequences are, the better. 

Well, despite showing up late to the game (it was released in 1989), Intruder still managed to conjure up some very creative kills, earning it a place as one of the decade's better slashers.

It's been a busy night at the Walnut Lake Grocery Store. For starters, Craig (David Byrnes), the spooky ex-boyfriend of cashier Jennifer (Elizabeth Cox), stopped by right at closing time to ask why she hadn't returned his calls, only to be confronted by a number of employees and thrown out on his ear. 

Then, co-owners Danny (Eugene Glazier) and Bill (Dan Hicks) announce that they've sold the store to the city, and everyone will be out of a job come the first of next month. 

But the bad news doesn't end there, because as the staff is busy pulling an all-nighter to change prices, someone sneaks into the store, and this stranger has more on his mind than just shopping!

I give Intruder points for its setting; instead of shipping its potential victims off to camp (a la Friday the 13th) or holing them up in a college dorm over Christmas break (like in Black Christmas, or even The Dorm That Dripped Blood), it has them working the overnight shift at a grocery store, preparing the place for a big sale. Director Scott Spiegel even let his imagination run wild with the point-of-view shots, and while we do get plenty of chances to peer through the killer's eyes, we also look up from a few shopping carts from time to time (though he does occasionally go a bit too far, like when he places his camera inside a telephone as Linda, played by Renée Estevez, is talking to her boyfriend on it). 

And then we have the kill scenes, and they are a messy bunch, with the filmmakers taking full advantage of the dangerous items you'd normally find lying around in a grocery store, such as butcher's knives, cleavers, meat hooks, and even a cardboard baler. Along with finishing its victims off in neat and interesting ways, Intruder makes use of their severed limbs as well. A hand is dropped into a lobster tank, and a couple of sawed-off feet, still inside their shoes, are put on the floor of a bathroom stall, to make it appear as if it was occupied. Then there are the heads, sliced and diced in a variety of ways, which pop up on occasion. With bodies - and body parts - strewn across the store, Intruder is a bloody mess, and a bloody good time.

Intruder does generally stick to the formulas laid out by many of its predecessors, but if you love '80s slashers as much as I do, you won't mind a bit!

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