Another large difference in the Mexican Evil Dead 2 edit is the vortex scene in Evil Dead 2 was altered by showing pictures of art and photos reflecting different time periods in history as Ash was going back in time. However the very beginning of this barrage of photos are specifically photos from the main crew. Among these pictures some are from Camp Tamakwa, the productions of It’s Murder and The Happy Valley Kid, and the premiere of The Evil Dead (billed as Book of the Dead).
Scott Spiegel’s Intruderis a slasher film from the golden age of slashers that just doesn’t seem to get the love it deserves. With its unique supermarket setting, its incredible (and incredibly violent!) special effects, and its decidedly genre cast and crew which both include several Evil Dead series alums, I’m surprised this movie isn’t more widely recognized as the ‘80s horror gem it is.
Intruder is the story of a group of supermarket night crew employees getting picked off one by one by a mysterious… well, intruder. Or so they think. The story is simple and uninspired, but it’s forgivable here because the grocery store setting is refreshing and it’s not like people watch slasher films for their excellent writing anyways. An unobtrusive story is often the best story for a slasher, one of horror’s most primal subgenres where the blood and guts of it all are typically the selling point. And I’m happy to tell you that the blood and guts are where Intruder succeeds in spades. The film’s special effects were done by the then newly formed KNB EFX Group, who have since gone on to do effects work for… oh, just about every film and television show in the last twenty five years. Robert Kurtzman, Greg Nicotero, and Howard Berger (the K, N, and B in KNB, respectively) had become big names in the genre after their work on Evil Dead 2 but needed more credits to really solidify KNB in the film industry at large; they agreed to work on Intruder to have another name for their resumes and to use the film’s kill scenes as a demo reel for their effects. And work they did, turning Intruder into one of the ‘80s most visceral slasher films in the process. The goriest stuff ended up on the cutting room floor thanks to a very uptight MPAA but what remained still stands as some of the most detailed, creative, and gruesome visuals you’ll see in any slasher movie.
But to only discuss the effects would be to do a disservice to Intruder, which has a great cast who deliver a variety of quirky performances, lending the film a humorous quality. My favorite members of the night shift crew are Evil Dead director Sam Raimi and his oddball little brother Ted, who meet their inevitable ends in suitably grotesque and hilarious ways. That said, the best performance in Intruder belongs to its villain. I won’t name them here because it spoils the “twist” in the third act, but know that when that twist happens you’ll be introduced to one of my favorite villainous portrayals in all of horror cinema. It’s not a subtle performance, and again I’d like to stress that Intruder didn’t quite grab any Academy Awards for its writing, but the villain is soooooo fun to watch. Slasher film antagonists are too often saddled with the silent killer trope, but the villain in Intruder is anything but. This killer is conversational, sassy, and emotive in exactly the best ways for a film with the tone this one has. If there’s anything bad I can say about Intruder, it’s that I’m disappointed we don’t see more of the killer hamming it up in delightfully disturbing fashion.
If you’re into slasher films or simply ‘80s horror in general, absolutely dig up a copy of Intruder and give it a go because it’s lovely. Sure, high art this one ain’t, but who ever said horror films needed to be high art?