Intruder (1989): Bruce, Sam, and Ted Meet the Supermarket Creep

Hello everyone and welcome back to Instant Terror Tuesday. Today, I wanted to delve back into slasher films and after milling though many good choices I landed on the late Eighties flick Intruder. The name that caught my eye first was Renee Estevez, who I love as Molly in Sleepaway Camp 2, but clicking through I found names like Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi, and his brother Ted. Plus, it was directed by their buddy Scott Spiegel. Needless to say I was already sold, but a quick little trip to IMDB turned the film into pure gold when I found the alternate title, Night Crew: The Final Checkout. (The generic name was apparently slapped on by producers who wanted a harder hitting “slasher” type title.) I’ve seen slashers at camp, in the snow, in a toy store, creeping around old houses, or sleazing around in big cities, but I had never seen a maniac go to supermarket.

Just as the Walnut Lake Market is getting ready to close for the night, cashier Jennifer’s (Elizabeth Cox) ex-con ex-boyfriend Craig (David Byrnes) busts in the place trying to make trouble for her. The night crew there to stock the shelves ejects him from the store, but when people start going missing, Craig is the first suspect. With news of the store’s permanent closing in the air, perhaps someone has another motive for murder. Everyone from Randy the Butcher (Sam Raimi) to Produce Joe (Ted Raimi) to co-owner Bill (Dan Hicks) has to watch their backs or they’ll end up like new low, low prices…. slashed.

Synopsizing Intruder is kind of difficult because for the first half of the film not much happens, but then after the 45 minute mark the bodies start falling fast and furious. Speigel front loads his film with an array of interesting camera angles (the menacing POV shot from within a grocery cart is my favorite), stock character development, and a few bright spots of comedy mostly thanks to the brothers Raimi. When the blood started flowing, I expected the film to get a real boost, and it probably would, just not on Netflix. For all my glowing praise of their Instant Watch catalog, they went and did me wrong. The cut available to stream runs 83 minutes, which is apparently the original running time, but a 88 minute director cut was released later. What was cut you might ask? All the good bloody bits. Doing some reading about this film, I was quite distraught to find out that I missed out on meat hook murders and a head being sawed in two. I already had a suspicion something was up because every time it was about to get good, and it was maddeningly frustrating to watch.

The lead actress, Elizabeth Cox, ranks up there with one of the least engaging final girls out there, and it’s a shame that Emilio’s little sister was relegated to a supporting role. The bright spots in the film really come from Ted, who is always such a good understated comic actor, Sam, just because it’s Sam acting, and Dan Hicks (Maniac Cop, Evil Dead II, My Name is Bruce) who shines as the distraught co-owner. While the box art and posters for Intruder often tout Bruce Campbell as a headlining star, the reality is that he and producer Laurence Bender show up as cops in the last two minutes of the film. For some, that will be the highlight cameo of the film, but not for me. The first set of cops that comes to investigate the disturbances at the supermarket are played by Alvy Moore and Tom Lester, both veterans of the classic sitcom Green Acres.

Intruder came late in the slasher cycle, and it is one of the lesser entries in the genre. That being said, the marquee cast and (apparently) grisly murder scenes, thanks to the boys from K.N.B Efx house, will keep people looking in on this one for years. My advice is to check it out, but if you can see it somewhere other than Netflix Instant, then you might want to take that option. That’s just how it goes sometime when you dial up Instant Terror. Sometimes it will come out a little under-time and under-cooked. That about wraps it up for this week, but I hope you’ll come back next Tuesday to check out another Instant selection. Later this week, I’ll have another Jowderowky film coming up on Thursday, and then I’ll be taking off a few days for the city of Cincinnati for Horrorhound Weekend!

Bugg Rating


  1. The film does play out so much better uncensored...the gore is pretty incredible and gives the movie the thing it needs to be better than what you watched.

    I recently got played by the instant watch version of Intruder and was pretty bummed about it. You should check south the article I wrote about the censorship of the film and the infamous Gorezone magazine cover that got it banned from stores. Very interesting the history of that movie...more so than the movie itself. Plus I have a video with all of the deaths on there, which will show you what you missed out on!

  2. Oh that would have been so much better with the gore. Folks should really check out your review for all the reasons you mentioned as well as the great personal story you have with the film. Thanks for the comment, and I will see you in just a couple of days, sir!

  3. To the Mattsuzakave!

    I'm of the same mind on the Instant version Bugg. Okay, not awful, occasionally suspenseful but nothing extraordinary. Eh.

  4. jervaise brooke hamsterNovember 10, 2010 at 5:46 PM

    Will there be lots of naked girls at the Horrorhound weekend?.

  5. There will be a lot of naked guys, namely me, at Horrorhound weekend, Hamster. Keep an eye out if you go.

    I meant to mention this in my other comment, and it should be appreciated by both Emily and Bugg. How great is that fight scene?! The perfectly choreographed moves are to die for and that is certainly the highlight of the uncensored film for me!

  6. Breaking News: I've just found out that the only people at Horrorhound Weekend that are allowed to be nude will be Mr. Suzaka and anyone who is British. Malcolm McDowell will be attending, so I'm just saying... this could be epic.

    Speaking of epic, I can't agree more Matthew. since I've pieced together all the scenes in my mind. I could easily see this getting a three or maybe a three and a half. It's a really good example of how 5 minutes can change a film.

  7. the sneering (homo-phobic) snobNovember 10, 2010 at 9:07 PM

    Thats bad news because i prefer gorgeous sexy naked young girls who are all aged between 18 and 22 at the absolute pinnacle and peak of their physical attractiveness and desirability who would all be ready willing and able to cater and pander to my every sexual whim and desire at any given mo-girl-t. By the way, Malcolm Mcdowell is a worthless piece of garbage simply because he is British.

  8. Totally rewatch this in its uncut form. The KNB gore is great, especially when the dude's head gets sawed in half. I thought it was pretty good overall though, even before the blood flowed.


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