Even though I was a child of the 80′s and saw most horror films via good ol’ VHS in the 8 plus years I rented from my local video store, some horror films passed by me. Sometimes it was because the title or the cover never interested me. Scott Spiegel‘s Intruder was a film that got knocked on both merits. The cover of the VHS looked like it was an alien film and the name of the film didn’t help prove me wrong. Even though it had “From the creators of Evil Dead II” on it, I just never gave it a chance.
Lucky for me some of these films are hitting DVD & Blu-Ray in restored versions. Synapse Films brings Intruder home in a Director’s Cut. The film was heavily cut during its VHS run via Paramount and after seeing the film, I’m kind of glad I waited and got to see the film for the first time the way it was supposed to be seen.
The night crew of a grocery store is closing up for the night and an employee, has a ex-boyfriend that keeps harassing her. After the employees of the store are informed the owners are selling the store, the workers need to slash the prices in half, but that isn’t the only thing that is getting slashed on this night.
Scott Spiegel was the co-writer of Evil Dead II and this is his debut feature. He had some help with his co-writer and producer Lawrence Bender, who would later become a producer of Quentin Tarantino‘s films, and his friend Sam Raimi, who also stars in the film. Spiegel crafts a unique film that rises above average due to some unique artistic shots. Spiegel litters his film with tons of point-of-view shots from shopping carts, phones and other things you wouldn’t expect. Spiegel is definitely a visual guy but that’s not to say that the whole film is filled with visual gags. The Director of Photography, Fernando Argüelles, crafts a fine looking horror film. The film definitely is a play on shadows and light as we see the killer make his appearances to kill sequences via introduction of his shadow cast on doors and walls. Also, there are well staged and framed shots dealing with light & reflections. There are a lot of little things on how this film was shot that makes the film a more memorable film than it should be. Most people will be interested in this film because of the ties to Evil Dead II with Danny Hicks, Scott Spiegel and Sam Raimi but also because it is KNB’s (Greg Nicotero, Robert Kurtzman and Howard Berger) first job and the effects are awesome. Intruder should be seen my every horror film fan out there.
Intruder is a gem of a horror movie because this is the first time the film has been released uncut and in a decent enough quality to actually watch. Previously released on VHS in a truncated, edited version which cut out all the gore and then later released, still edited, on DVD via a horrible transfer, Synapse really came to the rescue on this one. The film is overall a darker film which is probably why it has had such a troubled past with its home video transfers.
Synapse brings a 2K restoration of Intruder to a region free Blu-Ray & DVD combo pack. For those of you that haven’t made the jump to high definition yet (WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!?), you can still see the fabulous work that Synapse did via a DVD version of the film. The majority of the film is pretty clean. There are a couple of scratches but nothing too noticeable. The audio is presented in DTS-HD 2.0 Master Audio for the Blu-Ray and Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono for the DVD.
An odd thing I noticed is with some of the menus when watching the special features. Some of the special features do not feature the popup menu – this could be because some of the special features are not presented in 1080p (actually, I pretty sure this is the case).
Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Scott Spiegel and Producer Lawrence Bender – Spiegel and Bender use the 88 minutes to really just relive the film. There is very minimal information shared in the commentary but Spiegel and Bender have fun watching the film for the first time in a few years. One could have an interesting drinking game listening to the commentary by simply taking a drink every time Spiegel says “Good Grief”. It’s an entertaining commentary but like I said, not one full of tons of information that can’t be found in the other special features.
- Slashed Prices: The Making of Intruder – You know you are in store for a good “Making Of” when you see Red Shirt Pictures. Yes, Michael Felsher and his crew are behind this feature and they happened to round up the majority of the cast and crew – with exception of Sam Raimi – to ask them about the making of the film. Informative and entertaining, Slashed Prices is the heart of the special features on this presentation.
- Extended “Murder” Sequences from the Original Workprint – It is exactly what it says it is. Presented in 16:9 with raw audio – the director’s voice is heard in some of these sequences – it’s nice to see some of these scenes in a truly uncut format. However, these extended sequences definitely slow down the pacing of the film.
- Outtakes from the Now-Lost Short Film, NIGHT CREW – Spiegel lent the original 20 minute 8mm short film, Night Crew, to a friend and never saw it again. Night Crew was the basis of Intruder. It is kind of interesting to see some of these outtakes to see how this idea/story generated.
- The Slashing of “Intruder” with Filmmaker Vincent Pereira – A short featurette featuring a one-shot story of a fan, later turned filmmaker, who grew up reading GoreZone and Fangoria who found the film, like most horror fans, on the video shelves heavily cut. It’s a short feature but a cool story nonetheless.
- Original Cast Audition Footage
- Behind-The-Scenes Still Gallery
- Original Theatrical Trailer for Intruder
- Original Theatrical Trailer for Night Crew – This is not related to the previously mentioned 8mm short. Night Crew: The Final Checkout was an alternate title of the film. The trailer looks to be compiled from video, Synapse’s restoration and another transfer (specifically speaking of the dolly shot with one of the characters running on top of the checkout aisles which is darker than the restoration).
If you have previously seen Intruder, you will definitely want to check out Intruder: Director’s Cut as it is the most complete version of the film and Synapse’s restoration of the film brings to light (no pun intended) a gorgeous, albeit dark, looking film. If you have never seen Intruder and are a fan of 80′s slasher films, this is one that you need to pick up immediately!
*All screenshots are from the Synapse DVD version of this release not the Blu-Ray.