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eighties horror you might have missed

BLU RAY: INTRUDER (1989)

If you're at all a fan of the Evil Dead trilogy, then you need to see Intruder. It's directed by Scott Spiegel, and was made shortly after he co-wrote Evil Dead II with Sam Raimi. Sam and his brother Ted both appear in the film, as does Bruce Campbell, although it's more of a cameo. The entire film takes place in a grocery store after hours (the original title was "Night Crew"), and the location is used to it's absolute fullest (including the Meat department, naturally). The characters are killed off in a variety of inventive (and often hilarious) ways, anticipating the Final Destination films that would come over 10 years later. What's interesting, though, is how much Intruder shares the crazy, jokey visual style of Raimi's classics. There are POVs from every conceivable perspective; there's even a shot through a rotary telephone dial. The gore effects are amazing, too, and that's because this is the first film that Greg Nicotero, Bob Kurtzman, and Howard Berger worked on after forming their own effects shop, KNB Efx. Some really interesting music editing here and there, as well.

Last month, Synapse released a blu ray of Intruder, which I immediately pre-ordered after finding out that the first 500 copies shipped would include a DVD-R of an alternate workprint provided by the director. I haven't watched the workprint yet, but the other special features are great. The Making Of  featurette has Elizabeth Cox (who plays the main character) demonstrating the catalog of screams she developed for the film, while producer Lawrence Bender describes how expired and dented groceries were used to fill the store's empty shelves before making their way to a local food bank (apparently the store had recently closed and the former manager was paid to let the crew use the space each night until the owner returned from vacation). The commentary track has more great stories told by Bender and Scott Spiegel, and it's clear that they're having a great time revisiting the film. Other special features include cast auditions, outtakes from the "Night Crew" short that Intruder was based on, and selected extended-gore scenes from the workprint (for those who missed out on the limited-edition DVD-R).