Blu-Ray Review: ‘Intruder: Director’s Cut’

'The restored print beautifully highlights every one of its gruesome set pieces.'

Devon Ashbyby Devon Ashby

Just in time for stocking stuffers, those sick, twisted f**ks at Synapse have unearthed and reissued Intruder, another forgotten abomination of ‘80s horror cinema for you to drink in with lustful eyes on your sofa amidst the holiday lights once all your nieces are finally in bed for the night. Intruder is now available in a pristine transfer on a Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack, packaged almost as luridly as one of those leering old school big box VHS tapes used to be.

Intruder is a pretty standard ‘80s slasher film whose gimmick is that it’s set in a supermarket after closing. Its original title was Night Crew, because the hapless victims getting chopped, slashed and crushed in meat grinders are an after-hours assortment of bored and mischievous teenagers, sneaking beer, talking trash, and hooking up behind the cash registers while their bosses aren’t looking. The film was originally conceived as a super-8 short by director Scott Spiegel, who was friends with the Raimi brothers prior to the success of the Evil Dead movies – Sam Raimi appeared in Spiegel’s original short, and he’s joined by his brother Ted in the feature adaptation. Intruder also features Renee Estevez from Sleepaway Camp 2: Unhappy Campers, and Bruce Campbell is in it for like two seconds at the very end, playing a cop.

Intruder’s biggest weakness is that the first half of the film feels padded out – the total running time is less than 90 minutes, and aside from a couple of offscreen teaser murders, people don’t really start getting properly axed until about 40 minutes in. The movie also suffers from an unfortunate lack of boobs, which was more disappointing to me personally than all the waffling and procrastinating at the beginning. The charmingly tacky supermarket décor and jaw-dropping concentration of sloppy, stomach churning gore effects more than compensate for these oversights, however. Intruder was cut down mercilessly for its original release on home video, and the missing scenes from earlier editions have been gloriously restored for Synapse’s Blu-Ray presentation, so once things get started, they don’t let up – the final two thirds of the film is pretty much just people getting chopped in half, brained in the head with meat cleavers, and pummeled with other people’s severed body parts.

I probably don’t have to tell you that Synapse has done their homework compiling the special features for this disc, which include a 40-minute making-of documentary with most of the original cast as well as a few behind-the-scenes contributors, including special effects technician Greg Nicotero (the doc includes a particularly funny bit with lead actress Elizabeth Cox, where she explains all the various types of screams she developed for the role). There’s also some extended and alternate gore sequences, cast audition footage, and outtakes from Spiegel’s original super-8 version of the movie, which now, tragically, is lost.

For a shoestring-budgeted genre film shot over the course of a few days, Intruder holds its own pretty admirably, and the restored print beautifully highlights every one of its gruesome set pieces. Despite its jerky and over-long setup, the film’s eventual extended pay-off makes it more than worth the sticker price.