This late eighties slasher
is notable for introducing a wealth of behind-the-scenes talent, and as an
alleged influence on
Quentin Tarantino. Quality-wise it isnít much, but does contain some
The ultra-low budget INTRUDER (1988; a.k.a. NIGHT CREW) was the directorial
debut of Scott Spiegel. At the time Spiegel was known for co-writing
2 and THOU SHALT NOT KILL...EXCEPT. Heíd go on to co-script the 1990 Clint
Eastwood programmer THE ROOKIE, direct FROM DUSK TILL DAWN 2 and MODESTY BLAISE,
and mentor a young Quentin Tarantino. In this instance the presence of Lawrence
Bender, Tarantinoís future producing partner, was particularly notable.
INTRUDER, a claustrophobic piece shot almost entirely inside a cramped
supermarket, marked Benderís first-ever producing credit, and was apparently
quite influential on Bender and Tarantinoís RESERVOIR DOGS--the two films,
youíll find, share many similarities.
Other behind-the-scenes talents were the KNB Group of make-up artists
Robert Kurtzman, Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger. Look also for Spiegelís EVIL
DEAD cohorts Sam & Ted Raimi and Bruce Campbell in small roles, as well as GREEN
ACRESí late Alvy Moore.
BTW, until Wizard Entertainmentís mid-00ís DVD release, it was difficult if
not impossible to view this film in its intended version. Its initial
distributor Paramount promised to release the film on video in both R and
unrated versions, but ultimately reneged on the deal, only putting out an R
rated cut with all the gore--INTRUDERíS sole reason for existence--excised.
Outside a just-closed small-town supermarket one night, check-out girl
Jennifer spots her deranged ex-boyfriend. Heís clearly looking for trouble, and
finds it upon entering the store and violently confronting Jennifer. An
altercation ensues between Jennifer, her BF and several hunky night crewmen, and
the psycho is thrown out.
At this point the establishmentís manager Danny delivers some devastating
news to his employees: heís going to close down the store for good. All are
upset but valiantly go about their duties, unaware that Jenniferís deranged BF
still lurks outside. One by one the storeís crewmembers are killed off in
various gruesome ways: by hook, knife, meat cleaver, hammer, hydraulic press,
stiletto and table saw, with scattered body parts later turning up in unlikely
places. Jenniferís none-too-better half is the obvious culprit, although it
increasingly seems that somebody else is committing the murders (especially
since Jennifer appears to inadvertently kill her BF long before the end) for
reasons that may have something to do with the storeís closure.
In most respects INTRUDER is a pretty standard film of its type, complete
with poor staging, stilted acting, a one-note script and uniformly crummy gore
effects, all standard eighties slasher movie shortcomings. What the film has in
its favor is a puckish sense of humor, evident in the discovery of a guyís torso
in a garbage can with a 1/2 Price sticker affixed, as well as the many severed
body parts that turn up in unlikely locations (an eyeball in a pickle jar, a
severed hand in a lobster tank and pair of severed feet placed beside a
toilet). Thereís also a fun severed head gag near the end, with the head used
to fake out the heroine--and later as a battering ram!
Unfortunately Scott Spiegelís sense of humor also
entails quite a few irritating inanimate object POV shots (a turning doorknob, a
phone dial, a booze bottle) that do noting but call attention to themselves and
lessen the suspense. Correction: what suspense? Thereís little to be
had in this silly stalk Ďn slash flick, and even the bloodletting, allegedly so
extreme it had to be excised from the filmís initial VHS version, never goes
beyond the level of a FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH movie. But at least INTRUDER,
unlike most of its brethren, is fully conscious of its inherent absurdity and
isnít afraid to have fun with it.
INTRUDER (DEATH CREW)
Director: Scott Spiegel
Producer: Lawrence Bender
Screenplay: Scott Spiegel
Cinematography: Fernando Arguelles
Editing: King Wilder
Cast: Elizabeth Cox, Danny Hicks, David Byrnes, Renee Estevez, Sam Raimi, Eugene
Glazer, Billy Marti, Burr Steers, Craig Stark, Ted Raimi, Alvy Moore, Tom
Lester, Emil Sitka, Bruce Campbell, Lawrence Bender