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Saturday 22 September 2012

Burl reviews The Deadly Intruder! (1985)

Hi, it’s Burl here to review a slasher picture that I never thought of as really a slasher picture at all! I saw The Deadly Intruder many years ago, probably at my friend Dave’s house after we’d rented it from the local 7-11! Ha ha! And I remembered it as being a pretty boring picture that never quite delivered whatever it was that Dave and Doug and I and my other horror-loving friends were hoping for!
Well, watching the picture again recently, I’m not sure why I didn’t think of this as a slasher picture! It most definitely is, although of the mystery slasher variety, a bit like a country-fried version of Too Scared To Scream! We never see the face of the killer as he’s doing his deeds, and as the movie progresses we’re presented with two possible candidates: a red herring (bright siren red, in fact) and the guy it probably is instead!
The action takes place in and around Midvale, a great name for a slasher-beset town! I’m surprised they didn’t go with Haddonvale or at least Midfield, as all their other efforts seem directed towards aping Halloween as closely as possible! Midvale is home to Jesse, a young woman who lives alone in a ranch house and likes to give dinner parties! A twitchy, greasy fellow in an army jacket is hanging around asking for sandwiches and chopping wood with the axe Jesse leaves lying around: why, could this be the killer?
Jesse’s dinner guests include none other than Danny Partridge, who runs Midvale’s most exclusive fashion boutique! He brings along his wife and also his newest employee, a handsome fellow who claims to be a Canadian magazine writer (for the "Canadian Star," ha ha) who takes retail jobs as a way to move freely amongst the common people he likes to write articles about!
In the meantime, the population of Midvale is being reduced in a random and rather sadistic fashion! The murders, which are mostly crowded into the first half of the picture (one way at least in which it’s unlike Halloween) aren’t very bloody, and there are next to no Special Makeup Effects to be seen unless they were hiding somewhere in the gloomy photography; but they’re kind of mean-spirited, like when the friendly and trusting garage mechanic is slowly crushed under the car he’s working on! There’s also a guy stabbed in the eye with a screwdriver, a lady whose face is pushed into a running car engine and a sink drowning featuring a loose nightgown; and, in what may or may not have been intended as some sort of meta-reference, Danny Partridge gets his head rammed through a TV screen!
This is not a very good movie! No suspense is generated, the script is terrible, the photography (early work from the same guy who shot Witchtrap), or at least the video transfer, is often very murky, and the second half of the movie, in which Jesse gets kidnapped by the greasy hobo, is boring! Also, though the heroine does survive, the open, cynical ending recalled that of The Dorm That Dripped Blood! Ha ha, I’m going to have to watch a slasher picture where the killer gets his just desserts at the end, just for a little taste of catharsis!
It was nice to see that old veteran Stuart "Crazy Mama" Whitman as the fearsome, bearded sheriff, and I guess there’s some genuine 1980s slasher atmosphere on display here, but there’s not much else I can think of to praise this picture for! I’m going to give The Deadly Intruder one extraordinarily obvious body double!

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