A long time ago in a suburban backwater far far away, a gaggle of teen wannabe shemps spent their time messing about with their super 8 cameras making fun wee comedy shorts. Their destiny was inevitable as the motley movie fans were to become world famous for infamous delights such as the Evil Dead series and more recently blockbusters like the Spiderman movie. We all know about the ups and downs of high profile folk like Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell but what of the guy called Scot Spiegel.
Well, at long last (and long overdue) the DVD world is being treated to perhaps Speigel's most underrated and finest work - 'Intruder', a gorgeous low budget shocker that has long been one of the best kept secrets of the genre scene.
The simple plot premise sees the night shift staff of a convenience supermarket as they spend their last evening of employment marking down the store goods in anticipation of the impending closure of the store. The management has decided to call it a day and are selling up. Now where is the story there you may ask but read on...As the shift begins an intruder comes calling, it's the ex-boyfriend of one of the young workers fresh out of jail looking to rekindle his old relationship but understandably the interest is one way only. Irate with the cold response the ex-jailbird gets somewhat tetchy and it takes several members of the night crew to hold back the disgruntled lad and eject him from the store. But this won't be the last they here from him - well this is one determined guy! The team go back to their business but as the night progresses things start to go horribly wrong as one by one the hapless staffers get brutally murdered in a lovingly gory fashion. Who is to blame for the violent murders? Is it the peeved rebuffed boyfriend or is their an insane killer on the loose?
'Intruder' is perhaps one of the most simplistic but finest teen horror movies that has been unleashed in many years and it is bewildering to try comprehend why it has taken so long to make its rightful way onto the DVD format. The plot and murder scenarios truly are of the paint by numbers stylee but it is that fact that they are done so convincingly well that any budget limitations are completely irrelevant. First off Spiegel's direction is solid throughout and at times shows real class - little touches like the internal phone-cam shot (and others like it) show real quality in a low key Hitchcockian fashion. The small ensemble cast deliver a straight (and at times fun) performance with notable kudos going to the excellent demented psycho lead during the films finale (we won't mention names for the sake of spoiling the viewing pleasure for first time viewers!) Another key pleasure jolt for genre fans will undoubtedly be the excellent bloody death scenes with some showstopping stunning gory moments that will please even the most die hard of grue fans. And lest I forget to mention the other key factor for fans of the Renaissance gang, the cameo acting appearances by fan faves Sam and Ted Raimi as well as a blink or you'll miss it from SGM's fave ham Bruce Campbell. Perhaps Sam and Ted's performances are most noticeable for the goofball lack of acting skills (sorry guys) but they are obviously having a bundle of fun appearing in this production (as well as enjoying being knocked off in a bloody manner by their old friend). Ted thankfully went on to enjoy some success in front of the camera but perhaps thankfully Sam utilised his skills where they belong behind the directors chair.
'Intruder' is a great simple slice of genre fun that I have long believed to be one of the slasher sleepers that has too long been ignored and hopefully now this excellent DVD release will start to help get this film back in the spotlight where it truly belongs.
This special edition DVD from Dragon Films does this great movie no shame either with a lovely presentation that I doubt would be surpassed by any future potential releases. Some readers (like myself) will no doubt have picked up some time ago the old initial pressing of this film which was fair enough in a standard sorta way (you know, movie trailer, that's your bag) but this one should be a welcome addition to any fans DVD stockpile! First off the main feature has been remastered from the original release and looks very good indeed with a nice strong image (more so considering the vault print source) and good clear audio, so no complaints there. The extras though are what makes this release just that bit more special. First off there's the (by now expected) movie trailer with a bonus rough of the TV promo for the movie under its working title 'Night Crew' which ok is indeed rough looking (well its source looks like it came straight from a tape of a Box Office US segment) but welcome nonetheless. Next up though will be something of a wondrous treat for fans of the Renaissance teams work, it's the inclusion of two of the Spiegel's early super 8 shorts 'Tora! Tora! Tora!' and 'Attack of the Helping Hand' - the quality of both of these is indeed somewhat debatable and I'm sure the anally retentive DVD obsessive will balk in terror but let's be honest..these are old home movies filmed on super 8 that were never expected to see the light of day on a format like DVD but I'm absolutely thrilled that they have at last appeared (and I'm sure the Renaissance gangs fans will agree with me!) Laughs aplenty are the order of the day with these two fun shorts and if (like me) you're forgiving on the non pristine presentation then you'll find plenty to chuckle about also. Next up on the extras we are get two deleted scenes, these are in fact more snippets of extended gore from the original workprint of the movie - the first being the scene of Raimi being impaled on a hook (with a few additional frames of blood) and the second being the oft discussed head on the butcher saw scene which in the main print is shocking enough but this out-take takes it beyond that with slightly more crazy carnage! Finally (and as expected) there's the obligatory filmography pages, this time round we get Spiegel and Campbell's (which is strange considering he only appears in the movie fleetingly).
'Intruder' is pure unadulterated fun - you get teens in peril, some great gore, some laughs in an all round tasty package from the great Scott Spiegel. What more could you ask for? A coo, fun movie and a great package from Dragon Films whose output gets better by the day (did I forget to mention the cool digipack that the disc comes in too, whoops!) Highly recommended - check it out!
Review by Alan Simpson
|Released by Dragon Films|
|Directed by Scott Spiegel|
|Two Super 8 short films, deleted scenes, filmographies, stills gallery & Trailers.|