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John’s Horror Corner: Intruder (1989), a worthy 80s slasher with some memorable death scenes and feisty shenanigans… and the Raimi brothers among many great cameos.

October 29, 2022

MY CALL: Want to watch an awesome bad movie? This is a solid choice. This flick is fun to watch, scratches your 80s itch in just the right silly spots, and keeps good pacing with gory death scenes and butchered body parts presented scary booby traps. MORE MOVIE LIKE Intruder: There are many 80s slashers of high quality. I’d recommend the earlier half of the decade with the likes of Maniac (1980), The Prowler (1981), Madman (1981), Pieces (1982) and maaaaaybe even The Slumber Party Massacre (1982).

It’s closing time at the local supermarket and the staff—including Jennifer (Elizabeth Cox; Night of the Creeps, The Wraith), Linda (Renée Estevez; Heathers, Sleepaway Camp II), Bill (Dan Hicks; Evil Dead 2, Darkman), Randy (Sam Raimi) and the produce guy (Ted Raimi; Evil Dead 2, Shocker, Darkman, Candyman, Wishmaster, The Grudge) among others—is preparing for their night stock and inventory duties when ultra-creepy ex-boyfriend and ex-con Craig (David Byrnes; Witchcraft VII, Witchcraft IX) wanders into the grocery store and harasses Jennifer. He’s dangerous and angry and he wants her back. After a big, clunky full-staff fistfight feeling like the stuff of “the best worst movies,” Craig becomes our primary suspect for the slasher flick to come.

Despite kicking him out of the store and calling the cops, Craig continues to skulk around outside and grocery staff begin to die off one by one. As the body count rises, so does the playful occurrence of randomly displayed severed body parts throughout the store. And while I’d not call this a horror comedy, the body part presentation is amusingly zany. Cheeky even. We also enjoy a good chuckle when the killer uses a severed head as a weapon to repeatedly bludgeon another man unconscious.

The death scenes are decent for a low budget entry of the era. Happening largely onscreen with a lot of blood and latex, there’s much for a classic 80s gorehound to enjoy here. The hydraulic head smash was my second favorite death, behind the obvious show stealer when a guy’s head is buzzed in half with a table saw in gloriously gory form. The aftermath of that kill is an iconic screen grab among 80s slashers.

Directed by Scott Spiegel (Hostel Part III, From Dusk Till Dawn 2) and produced by a young Charles Band (Prison, Dolls, Parasite, Meridian, From Beyond, Doctor Mordrid, Head of the Family, Castle Freak), this slasher classic is also a who’s who of before-they-were-huge actors and filmmakers. In addition to the Raimi brothers, we enjoy brief cameos by Bruce Campbell (Moontrap, The Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, Escape from LA) and Greg Nicotero (The Walking Dead).

This flick is fun to watch, scratches your 80s itch in just the right silly spots, and keeps good pacing about itself between gory death scenes and impish macabre displays of butchered body parts set up essentially as scary booby traps. A nostalgic romp for sure… but also sort of bad. But like, the good kind of bad.

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