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January 8, 2012

Movie Review: Intruder (Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack)

One of the better issues of Fangoria's sister magazine Gorezone featured a very cool, detailed look from Video Watchdog’s Tim Lucas at the censorship on a slasher film that was yet be released at the time called Intruder. The late 80's saw a painful end to the glory days (and gory) of the slasher film, so as a fan of that subgenre, even though I had yet to see this very intriguing film - I was mortified. Subsequently, Scott Spiegel's film came out in a neutered version by Paramount that was minus literally all the money shots created by the FX wizards at KNB studio.

Intruder was released a few years ago by producer Charles Band - it was uncut, barebones and with a transfer that a lot to be desired. Synapse Films are no stranger to putting quality releases out of 80's slashers - look at their Dorm That Dripped Blood Blu-ray - so it was only natural that they'd tackle one of the finest slashers of the 80's, and give it the red carpet treatment to boot on Blu-ray.

The plot of Intruder is really pretty basic as it follows the Ten Little Indians template, only instead of a campground, sorority house or college our hapless characters get picked off one by one in a grocery store. Elizabeth Cox plays the lead damsel in distress who’s trying to avoid any further confrontation with her violent ex-boyfriend roaming the parking lot. To round out the cast we have Michigan’s number one son,  Sam Raimi (Evil Dead, Spiderman) and his brother Ted who work meat and produce along with Martin Sheen’s daughter Renee Esteves taking on cashier duties, Raimi regular Bruce Campbell as a cop and the highly enjoyable Danny Hicks as Bill Roberts.

The real “stars” of Intruder are without a doubt the balls-out explicit gore FX by KNB. Each of the FX truncated for the R-Rated version are here – including the ghastly saw death. Even 23 years later, this particular gore effect holds a place in many splatter fans’ heart for its realism. It really can’t be a surprise that the KNB guys went on to win Academy awards for their work. Aside from the splashiness of the blood, I did like Spiegel’s use of POV. At one point we get a floors point-of-view! It’s pretty amusing.

Synapse Films has done an exceptional job with their extra features as you get plenty of stuff to plow through once you’re done watching the Director’s cut. During the commentary featuring Spiegel and Producer Laurence Bender, the gentlemen do fine job in rapid-fire fashion recalling interesting anecdotes of the production. Much of it's very fresh to Bender since it’s been years since he watched the movie.

There are some great featurettes that include more with Spiegel, Elizabeth Cox, Danny Hicks and Bender. The main one Slashed Prices sharing some memories. Not surprisingly, we get plenty of MPAA talk as well as chatter about Raimi, Tarantino and the origins of Intruder that started with the short film, Night Crew. Slashing of Intruder is a nice touch, as we get to hear filmmaker Vincent Pereira talk about a letter he wrote as a teenager to Gorezone and how an uncut VHS of the film landed on his doorstep.

My favorite bonus feature has to be the extended scenes from the workprint and the remaining footage of Night Crew. You get to see a little more gore here - Sam Raimi's hook death gets some alternate juicier angles - but you can also kind of get the idea where it was wise to make the cuts. Sometimes when scenes go on too long, they lose their realism. A still gallery, an original trailer and casting footage round out what is really a heaping dose of quality extras.

Intruder is the last of the great slasher films of the 1980’s and I'm happy to say that it has gotten a superb release from Synapse. With a much improved picture over the dark Wizard/Full Moon release and a treasure trove of fun extras, this is a no-brainer...Buy it! Highly Recommended!

                       (Screencaps for Intruder courtesy of Rock! Shock! Pop!)

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