Saturday, October 20, 2012

Phil's Halloween Horrors Marathon, Day 15: Phil reviews INTRUDER (1988) Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Pack from Synapsis Films-October 15, 2012

INTRUDER Combo Cover (2011)
Starring: Renée Estevez, Elizabeth Cox, Dan Hicks, David Byrnes, Sam Raimi, Eugene Glazer, Billy Marti, Burr Steers, Craig Stark, Ted Raimi, Bruce Campbell
Screenplay by Scott Spiegel
Written by Scott Spiegel and Lawrence Bender
Based on the short film Night Crew by Scott Spiegel
Produced by Lawrence Bender
Directed by Scott Spiegel
Released by Synapsis Films

Here we are folks, Day Fifteen of Phil's Halloween Horrors Marathon! Now there was a plethora of horror film being released in the 1980's. Some were amazing while some were out-right god awful. And then there were those that fell through the cracks that some horror fans may have missed or didn't even knew that it excited. Some of these overlooked gems were discovered on VHS at their local mom & pop video store (because the evil mega-conglomerate Blockbuster refused to carry these fright flicks. Now they're closing stores all over. See, stocking horror films is good business). Now in the 21st century, new technology has given these films the love and attention they truly deserve. Once again, Synapse Films has given us another unsung classic with the release of director Scott Spiegel's 1988 horror film INTRUDER.

The film's premise is quite simple: The employees of Michigan's Walnut Lake Supermarket has just been informed that the store is closing next month and the crew begins to price down the store's inventory. Things are already bad for cashier Jennifer (Elizabeth Cox) as she is being harassed by her psycho ex-boyfriend Craig (Danny Byrnes), has just been released from prison for manslaughter. Just when things couldn't get any worse, it does. Soon all the night crew employees are being murdered viciously by a mysterious killer, who plans on saving Jennifer for last. All evidence points to Craig, but is he the real killer, or is it someone else?

Now for those who may not know, Spiegel grew up with both Sam and Ted Raimi and Bruce Campbell back home in Michigan and they all use to make 8mm horror films back in high school. Years later Spiegel would help write 1987's EVIL DEAD 2 with Raimi as well as be one of his "fake shemps" in the film. The following year, Spiegel meet producer Lawrence Bender who helped find financing for his new horror film, which was based on an old 8mm short film he made with Campbell and the Raimi brothers. The film also showcases the extreme gore and mayhem courtesy of the pre-KNB EFX Group (Greg Nicotero, Howard Berger, and Robert Kurtzman) who agreed to do the film if they'd get their names in the opening credits.

Original Poster w/Original Title (198
The film's casts were largely unknowns but you might recognize some of these actors and actresses. The first being both Sam and Ted having bit parts in the film and at the very end you'll see Bruce Campbell playing a cop (he'd again play a cop the following year in MANIAC COP). Linda was played by Renee Estevez (younger sister of Charlie Sheen and Emilo Estevez) who also appeared in other horror and low budget films like 1987's SLEEPAWAY CAMP 2: UNHAPPY CAMPERS and 1993's GOOD GIRLS DON'T and is now appearing on TV's The West Wing. Dan Hicks was seen in EVIL DEAD 2 as Jake and also had bit parts in MANIAC COP, DARKMAN, SPIDER-MAN 2 and MY NAME IS BRUCE. Bender has gone on to produce Quentin Tarentino's films such as PULP FICTION and INGLORIOUS BASTERDS. Spiegel's latest film is HOSTEL: PART III was just released on DVD in rated and unrated versions.

Also coming to their aid during production was Charles Band, who at that time had Empire Pictures (which was the company he had before he launched Full Moon Entertainment in 1988). Band agreed to help finance the film and distribute it. Unfortunately Empire Pictures was in dire straits and soon collapsed. Band rebounded with Full Moon Entertainment and secured a distribution deal with Paramount Pictures. Band was only allowed to take a handful of films from his old company and one of them was INTRUDER. The film was originally entitled "The Night Crew: The Final Checkout" but was changed by Paramount to give it a more marketable name (but the trailer for the VHS release has it as The Night Crew title). However, it would be a short victory for Spiegel and his film, as the MPAA literally ruined the film with their required cuts for it to be released on VHS. Bootleg copies and imports of the unedited film has surfaced for years, but the folks at Synapse Films have returned its original, unedited director's cut.

The Blu-Ray version looks incredible and is amazing to witness. The film boats an all-new 2K digital restoration and as a result the picture quality is unbelievable. The colors are vibrant and add that it's the director's cut, the blood and gore are just insane to see. The Blu-Ray contains a number of special features: Commentary by Siegel and Bender, which is very funny, informative and entertaining, Slashed Prices: The Making of Intruder featurette which most of the cast and crew members get together for, Extended Murder Sequences from the Original Workprint, Outtakes from the now-lost short film, Night Crew: the short film Spiegel made when he was a teenager, The Slashing of Intruder with Filmmaker Vincent Pereira, Behind-the-Scenes Stills Gallery, Original Cast Audition Footage, a DVD copy, as well as trailers.

Overall, this is an incredible combo release! INTRUDER is one of the best slasher films to come out of the 80's and thanks again to Synapse Films, you can enjoy this film once again in the unrated director's cut complete with all the bells and whistles that fans have been clamoring for! Folks, it doesn't get any better than this! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

INTRUDER Blu-Ray+DVD Combo Pack is currently available on the Synapse Films website. To purchase a copy, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the screaming!

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