Sunday, June 12, 2011


Scott Spiegel, 1989
Starring: Elizabeth Cox, Renee Estevez, David Byrnes, Dan Hicks, Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi

Sometimes you stumble across a movie that makes you do a double, triple even quadruple take. You ask yourself a series of questions, such as: How have I not seen this before? Where was this hiding? How is it so ridiculous? What?

I recently had the opportunity to see Intruder (aka Night of the Intruder, a much better title in my opinion), which blew my mind enough that I felt the need to share. In 1988 Scott Spiegel, co-writer of Evil Dead 2, corralled a bunch of his friends and associates like Sam and Ted Raimi, Bruce Campbell, and Lawrence Bender to work on his first and most memorable film.

Jennifer (Elizabeth Cox) is closing up at the grocery store she works in, goofing off with her coworkers, and getting ready to stock the shelves. Her crazy ex-boyfriend Craig (David Byrnes) harasses her and fights with her coworkers, who attempt to protect her. Everyone is spooked by Craig and depressed by the sudden news that the store will be going out of business soon. As they close up, clean, and restock, someone begins picking off the employees one by one. Is it Craig? Will they find out in time to save themselves?

Though Intruder gets off to a slow start it pulls out all the stops about a third of the way in, so give things a chance to unfold. There is a relentless amount of violence with clever effects borrowing style from some of the best ’80s horror -- a lot of them actually reminded me of Day of the Dead and City of the Living Dead. But unlike more accomplished directors like Fulci or Romero, Spiegel has no concept whatsoever of pacing and shifts gears rapidly between cheesy ‘80s teen dialogue and a sudden onslaught of gore. I’m not going to give anything away, but wow. Also, prepare yourself for the insane POV shots and crazy film-student angles that almost every scene includes.

Sam Raimi, usually behind the camera, is surprisingly good in front of it. He’s charming and funny, eventually dying with gusto, while his brother Ted plays the same type of comic/pathetic role he’s always given. Bruce Campbell is there so briefly you’ll miss him if you don’t pay attention, so keep your eyes on the cops in the film. Speaking of, Lawrence Bender -- the producer of almost all of Tarantino's films -- also has a small cameo as the second cop.

Night of the Intruder is a perfect late night, drunk movie to watch with your friends, particularly other people who love gory slasher movies from the '80s. It would make a great double feature with Black Christmas or Happy Birthday to Me, though it is neither as chilling or as strange as those efforts. Make sure you get the uncut version -- skimping on the violence would be a waste of time

Update: This has finally been released on a glorious, uncut, special edition Blu-ray.

Watch the trailer below:

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