Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Every horrorhound's favorite month is upon us, and to celebrate, I'll be dishing out a personal pick from the genre for every day in October. Some will be obvious and rather unoriginal (sorry that I like movies other people like), while some will be a little more oddball and off-the-wall. Some may even challenge your idea of what constitutes a "horror" movie. Regardless, I hope you enjoy the month with some good movies, even if they aren't ones I recommend!

Today's Pick: Intruder (1989)

So, here's what some might consider the more straightforward version of yesterday's pick. It's a slasher with a small cast of characters, a mysterious villain and some very memorable kills. But, there's a lot that separates Intruder from most of its peers. Not only is it from the same group of artists who brought the world the most ferociously original horror movie of its time, The Evil Dead, but it also features the very first gore effects by the now established masters of the craft, Robert Kurtzman, Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger, better known as K.N.B. EFX.

The plot of the film concerns a grocery store night crew preparing to close up shop, when an old flame of one of the cashiers shows up and starts causing trouble. After getting kicked out, we learn that he was just recently released from prison and isn't too happy about being dumped. While this is going on, the employees also find out that the store is shutting down and they'll all be losing their jobs. Things just can't get any worse, until a killer starts murdering everyone! Talk about severance pay! *insert Cryptkeeper laugh*

There are plenty of issues with the film. The acting is mostly mundane (with the exception of the insanely fun Danny Hicks), the pacing takes a little to kick into gear and the story is fairly basic. However, Intruder makes up for its few flaws with three incredible strengths: excellently over-the-top kill effects, inventive and dynamic camerawork, and a wickedly silly sense of humor (see the above screenshot for proof).

Scott Spiegel's directorial debut definitely takes some cues from The Evil Dead's visual language, but in all the right ways. There's a shot that is supposed to be inside of a rotary dial phone that is just the right balance of cool and ridiculous. The murders almost all get some great effect, including one halfway decapitation that has to be one of the best ever filmed. The best thing though is that all the extreme violence never feels mean-spirited. It's all goofy but in the most extreme ways possible. You can almost hear everyone behind the camera laughing with childishly macabre glee.

Compared to most slashers of its time, Intruder feels like the best version of a simple story. It's certainly held up a lot better than most of its contemporaries, and that's definitely thanks to the talent involved. If you've been looking for a worthy competitor to most of the Friday the 13th films, Intruder is up to the challenge. It's not a classic, but it's just too delightful to pass up.

Tomorrow, it's a double feature! Why? Because I can't choose between the original or its sequel, so I'm doing both!

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