"From the creators of EVIL DEAD II comes INTRUDER.
IF THIS MOVIE DOESN'T TERRIFY YOU, YOU'RE ALREADY DEAD!
Its 10pm. The night before the supermarket closes its doors forever. The owners and night crew have a long shift ahead of them ... longer than they think.
Ace checker Jennifer (played by "Lethal Weapons Renee Estevez) (sic)
has a crazed ex-boyfriend who's fresh out of prison. When he appears at the
store, weird things start happening ... the 'phone lines are cut and people
start dying ... one by one ... in the most gruesome ways imaginable. A web of
suspense traps all the staff as terror and fear spread throughout the store
... but who is the killer and what has possessed him to start the mindless killings?""
The late 80s weren’t the golden age of the slasher movie. In fact, by 1987 the subgenre was well and truly mired by straight-to-video stigma, which wasn’t surprising as, bar the big name sequels, film had been swapped for low-grade video and the budgets were a mere shadow of their former selves. However, there were a few films that bucked the trend, and one of those was Scott Speigel’s INTRUDER.
The night crew at Walnut Lake Market, a run down urban supermarket, have set about their daily (or more exactly, nightly) duties – and, to his credit, Speigel portrays supermarket work as the drab, mind-numbing bore it is (I’ve been there, done that). However, tonight is going to be a little different. Firstly, Jennifer (Elizabeth Cox) is being menaced by her ex-boyfriend Craig (David Byrnes), who is demanding an explanation as to why she dumped him. Things turn nasty, and Craig punches Jennifer before being jumped by her co-workers. What follows is a fight two parts BATMAN (complete with intentionally over-the-top fight noises) and one part THREE STOOGES, which hints at where Speigel was partly aiming at with this movie.
Craig manages to evade capture and disappears into the store, which leads to all the night crew wandering off investigating strange noises in dark nooks and crannies (as you do). Craig manages to sneak up on Jennifer and confront her again. Once again, her co-workers confront him and he’s finally ejected from the store. However, this isn’t the only shock of the night: the owner of the store, Danny (Eugene Robert Glazer), along with his co-owner, Bill (Dan Hicks), tell the night crew that he’s decided to sell the store and they will all be out of work within a month.
Naturally dejected, the workers set about pricing all the stock up at half-price. Jennifer starts getting silent phone calls, which she thinks must be from Craig; Bill tries to cheer her up by telling her he’ll put in a good word for her at another supermarket he knows. Linda (Renée Estevez) (who earned her slasher stripes the previous year in SLEEPAWAY CAMP II: UNHAPPY CAMPERS), finishes her shift, but when she leaves for the night she is attacked in the car park and stabbed to death by an unseen assailant with a bloody great butcher’s knife. Pretty soon, in the store more than the prices will be slashed …
INTRUDER is one of those films that divides its audience. Obviously taking its cue from Sam Raimi’s EVIL DEAD movies with its visual trickery (and no surprise, both Sam and Ted Raimi appear as ill-fated store workers, and director Spiegel was also involved in the first and second of the series). You either wow to the wacky shots and inventive angles or it is merely an annoying distraction to what is happening on the screen. The mix of humour and horror, which is always tricky, is not as successful here as it was in the EVIL DEAD films. Having said that, Speigel successfully steers the film away from the THREE STOOGES pratfalls toward some altogether darker humour, and although the killer does crack a few arch one liners (ala the bane of Freddy) they seem less forced and fit well with the totally over the top Grand Guginol zaniness of the second half of the movie.
INTRUDER is famous, or, perhaps, infamous would be a better term, because of its gore (or in some prints lack of). I, like many other gore hounds I shouldn’t wonder, were won over by the splattery mayhem splashed across the pages of the long defunct magazine Gorezone. The cover itself showed some poor unfortunate having his head cut in two by a bandsaw. However, if you’ve been around the block more than once you’ll know that the pics you see in Fangoria won’t necessarily translate into what you’d see on video after the censors have got their scissors out! For years, the only way to see the film the way Speigel intended was the German release from Dragon, but it has recently finally got its long overdue uncut Region 1 DVD release. The film was also released on video in the UK in two different versions (both of which gave away the identity of the killer on the cover!): one was pre-cut by the distributors but not actually BBFC approved; that was recalled before an even more butchered version was released. Rumours also persisted of a totally uncut release in Ireland.
In its uncut state INTRUDER more than delivers on the grue. After the high blood marks attained in the early 80's, when the splatter reigned supreme after FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980) got the gory ball rolling, censorship and changing times meant that bloody fx were watered down or made more fantastical. However, INTRUDER, whilst remaining a fun popcorn slasher flick still managed to push the envelope as to what was acceptable gore wise (or, as we saw, what wasn't acceptable).
Ultimately, with or without the gore INTRUDER takes the tried and tested slasher movie format and has fun with it; sending it up whilst knowing when to turn the fright and gore volume up to 10. It benefits from a likeable cast, and a good old-fashioned spunky final girl, who does what final girls do best when they find themselves all alone with a psychotic killer. One regret is the fact that they decided to go with with the altogether more generic INTRUDER title (especially as it's essentially, if not a cheat, is a misdirection), meaning that it will forever be mixed up with a whole slew of similarly titled flicks. The original title: NIGHT CREW: THE FINAL CHECKOUT was far wittier, and fit the film like a glove.
BODYCOUNT 8 female:1 / male:7
1) Female killed with butcher's knife (offscreen)
2) Male has head chopped with butcher's knife
3) Male stabbed in the gut with knife
4) Male has head crushed in hydraulic garbage disposal
5) Male has throat forced onto meat hook
6) Male has head cut in two with bandsaw
7) Male stabbed in the back with butcher's knife
8) Male has eyeball pierced on letter spike and then decapitated