Released by: 88 Films
Released on: January 16th, 2017.
Director: Scott Spiegel
Cast: Elizabeth Cox, Renee Estevez, Danny Hicks, David Byrnes, Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi
Directed by Scott Spiegel, co-writer on Evil Dead II, and produced/co-written by Lawrence Bender, who would later produce Pulp Fiction, 1989’s Intruder also features performances by horror movie royalty such as Sam and Ted Raimi, Bruce Campbell, Danny Hicks and Elizabeth Cox. If that doesn’t peak your interest, the film features some early work from Robert Kurtzman, Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger – the now legendary KNB Effects guys.
The story is a fairly simple one – the crew working the night shift at a supermarket is burning the midnight oil long past closing time to stock the shelves, price new items and clean up after the day’s work. As they’ve just learned that the store is to be closing down for good soon, they’re getting ready for the impending sale, sort of a last hurrah. Things are going fine until one of the cashiers, Jennifer (Elizabeth Cox), gets an unexpected visit from her crazy ex-boyfriend, Craig Peterson (David Byrnes). Having just gotten out of jail, he decides it’s time to pay his old flame a visit but the rest of the night crew eventually kick him out and call the cops on him.
So with Craig out of the picture and the cops having been called, you’d assume things would be fine for the rest of the night, right? Well, it wouldn’t make for much of a horror movie if that were the case. Soon enough, someone gets into the locked store and starts slaughtering members of the crew one at a time – chopping off limbs, carving through heads and generally just making a big, bloody, gory mess of things. But who is it? Is it Craig…? Is it some random psycho? Or is it one of their own?
Bruce Campbell might only be in the movie for a couple of minutes (he and producer/co-writer Bender play cops) but the Raimi’s and the rest of the cast make up for that, even if Cox as the female lead is a bit vapid. Highlighted by a really fun cast (Sam and Ted Raimi are great as a few of the grocery store workers and Danny Hicks is his always reliable self), Intruder may not earn high marks in the originality department but it manages to make up for that with some decent black comedy and some relentlessly gory kill scenes and splatter effects. Heavily trimmed when originally released on VHS, the director’s cut as presented here really gives the KNB guys a chance to strut their stuff and show off what makes them some of the best in the business. Made on a low budget, the film nevertheless really excels in the gore department and stands as a textbook example of how creativity and brains can overcome a lack of funds and really steal the show.
The supermarket setting is used well in the film. If the picture takes a little while to hit its stride it does manage to build some suspense with some clever camera angles that keep us guessing as to who is in the building with the employees. The characters may be paper thin and there may not be a whole lot of depth to any of this, but it sure does make for a fun slasher film.
Intruder arrives on Blu-ray from 88 Films in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer touted as a ‘new HD widescreen transfer from original 35mm elements.’ The movie is presented on a 50GB disc with the feature taking up approximately 22.5GBs of space. There is a fair bit of grain here and there and some scenes look a bit softer than others, but the movie has always had this look to it, anyone who has seen it before will know that. As to how this transfer compares to the Synapse release from a few years ago, here’s a quick comparison. Screen captures from the 88 Films release are up top and caps from the Synapse Films release are on the bottom:
You can see the that colors differ quite a bit between the two discs, the Synapse disc looking a bit subdued compared to the brighter and bolder 88 Films transfer. Detail is pretty solid here and the colors look good. Black levels are decent and compression artifacts are minimal although they do appear in spots. There’s no obvious noise reduction to note either.
The only audio option for the movie is an LPCM 2.0 Mono mix, in English, no alternate language options or subtitles are provided. Clarity is good here, the score sounds fine and the dialogue is always easy to understand. The levels are well balanced and there weren’t any issues with hiss or distortion noticeable at all during playback. All in all this is a very clean and clear sounding mix.
Extras start off with an audio commentary with director Scott Spiegel moderated by Calum Waddell that does a fine job of detailing the history of the picture starting with Spiegel discussing the involvement of Lawrence Bender in getting this picture made. Spiegel, who sounds like he was recorded over the phone, has a really sharp memory and has no trouble at all keeping this track going. He is quite blunt about what works about the picture and what doesn’t, he tells some great stories and about working with the Evil Dead family in the early eighties. They talk about the mystery element of the film, where Spiegel’s inspiration came from, having to bring the movie in on budget in two weeks, shooting on location in the grocery store, the film’s enduring popularity and more. Spiegel is really manic here, but he definitely keeps the conversation going, even if it occasionally goes off in random directions!
Also included on the disc is Slice And Dice: The Slasher Film Forever, a seventy-nine minute documentary that looks back on the history of slasher movies. This is mostly made up of interviews and clips – be on the lookout for input from Adam Green, Corey Feldman, Fred Olen Ray, Emily Booth, Jeffrey Reddick, Mick Garris, Tom Holland, Scott Spiegel, Norman J. Warren, Tobe Hooper, Kenneth J. Hall, Kevin Tenney, Felissa Rose and more. As a sort of ‘Slasher Films 101’ this is decent enough. It won’t likely give hardcore fans a whole lot of information that they’re not already aware of, but it covers the origins of the genre starting with Psycho then traces its evolution through Black Christmas and then of course Halloween and then the Friday The 13th movies, the Nightmare On Elm Street pictures and touches on one-offs like Toolbox Murders, Madman, Motel Hell, Terror Train, The Boogeyman, My Bloody Valentine and plenty more.
Rounding out the extras is the film’s theatrical trailer, menus and chapter selection. Included inside the red Blu-ray keepcase is an insert booklet containing an interview with Scott Spiegel by Waddell entitled Genre Marauder where they discuss the film’s history, gore quotient, his early days working with Raimi and Campbell and more. 88 Films has also supplied some nice reversible cover art for this release. None of the extras from the North American Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack release from Synapse Films have been ported over to this release (a commentary with Spiegel and Bender, a making of featurette, some interesting extended scenes and workprint footage and some interesting bits and pieces).
The Final Word:
If Intruder won’t wow you with startling plot twists or amazing performances, it’ll definitely impress with its gore and its kill scenes – it’s a fun watch. 88 Films gives the movie a solid release with a good transfer and some decent extras.
Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!