Intruder (1988) – By Duane L. Martin

Michigan’s Walnut Lake Supermarket is your typical 1980’s supermarket. It’s got aisles, carts, canned food, beverages, meat, fruits and vegetables, cleaning products, toilet paper, a staff of hard working young people, and two owners, one of whom is in love with the store, and another who sees the business realities and is pushing the other to sign the papers so they can finalize shutting it down and complete the sale that the employees were just informed of on this very evening.

Now, here’s the problem. One of the employees has a guy who’s obsessed with her, even to the point where he gets somewhat violent and threatening. When he’s thrown out of the store by the manager and the other employees, he continues to skulk around, calling frequently and making his presence known here and there. Then it begins. After a scuffle with one of the owners of the store in which the co-owner gets clocked in the head with a hammer, the employees and the other owner start getting offed one by one in a variety of gruesome, and sometimes comical ways. Now, with the store locked down for the night and no way out thanks to unbreakable plexiglass in the front doors, the remaining employees first have to realize what’s going on, and then try to survive long enough to figure out a way to get out of the store alive.

Intruder is one of those fun 80’s horror films that you just can’t help but enjoy. It’s sad really, because that sense of fun has been largely lost in the horror films of today, who all seem to be going out of their way to push the envelope rather than focusing on entertaining the viewer.

Fan of this era of horror films will undoubedly recognize some familiar faces in this film. Sam Raimi plays one of the store employees. His brother Ted, who always manages to have some kind of a role in Sam’s films, plays the employee who handles the meat section and the butchering. Now wherever Sam and Ted are, you know that Bruce Campbell is going to show up somewhere, because the three of them are joined at the hip. Sure enough, he does show up, but sadly it’s only in a bit part as a cop at the very end of the film. I would have loved to see Bruce have a bigger role as one of the employees, or even as the stalker boyfriend…or something. Any movie that Bruce is in is better for his presence.

Intruder goes so far out of its way to make you think that the stalker is the killer, that it quickly becomes obvious that he isn’t. So obvious in fact, that I don’t mind spoiling that little fact here. What isn’t obvious however, is who the killer actually is, and you don’t find that out until very late in the movie, which is actually really cool, because it adds to the suspense and keeps you guessing.

The killings themselves are very creative, and one of them in particular is one of the most twisted things I’ve ever seen in a film. I don’t want to reveal those here though because part of the fun of watching this movie, and especially watching it for the first time, is getting to experience the fun and shock of what happens to the employees as the killer hunts them down one by one.

Something else I’d like to mention is that aside from the bit part by Bruce Campbell at the end, he’s not the only recognizable star that had a bit part as a cop in this film. There were a pair of cops that showed up earlier in the film that any fan of the old TV show Green Acres are sure to recognize. The cops are played by Tom Lester and Alvy Moore, who played Eb Dawson and Hank Kimball on the show. I recognized Tom Lester right away, but Alvy Moore has changed with the years, and while he looked familiar, I didn’t realize it was actually him until I looked it up.

This new blu-ray + DVD combo pack release from Synapse is yet more proof that when you purchase a Synapse release, you’re going to get a quality product, without question. Here’s what’s included:

An all new 2K digital restoration of the original uncensored director’s cut.
Audio commentary with writer/director Scott Spiegel and producer Lawrence Bender.
Slashed Prices: The Making of Intruder – An all new featurette / retrospective.
Extended "murder" sequences from the original workprint.
Outtakes from the now-lost short film, Night Crew.
Original cast audition footage.
Behind the scenes stills gallery.
Original theatrical trailer.

Do yourself a favor and grab yourself a copy of this one. If you love the fun of 80’s horror, you’ll have a shopping cart full of fun with Intruder.

If you’d like to find out more about this release, or to pick up a copy for yourself, you can check out it’s page on the Synapse website here, or grab it over on Amazon here.