Director: J.S. Cardone
Stars: Sarah Kendall, Frederick Flynn, Carol Kottenbrook
Reviewed by Brian M. Sammons
Maybe you have heard of Slayer, the epic thrash metal band that was huge in the 80s. Maybe you have heard of The Slayers, the armor-clad baddies from the epic 1983 fantasy flick, Krull. But I’m betting most of you haven’t heard of the 1982 supernatural (…maybe…) slasher The Slayer. I say that because most of the horror fans I’ve talked to never have. But if you are one of the few, consider yourself one of the cool, and rejoice because The Slayer is finally out on Blu-ray from the fine folks at Arrow Video. And if you haven’t heard of it, you should rejoice, too, because now you can catch up with an all-but-forgotten slice of 80s horror. That’s always a good reason to rejoice in my book.
A young woman is suffering from persistence nightmares, so her husband, her brother, and the brother’s wife decide to take a vacation on a nearly deserted island. What could go wrong with that? Well wouldn’t you know it, people start getting bumped off in a variety of gruesome ways. From the silly, like getting a head caught in a door, to the simple but well done pitchfork to the chest. As things go on there is a bit of mystery as to who is doing the killing. Is it some stranger? Is it the creepy pilot that brought them to the island? Or is it the bedeviled woman herself? After all, her brother does say she suffered horrible nightmares as a child, was initialized for years to get over them, and then there’s the thing that happened to her poor little kitty… Whatever you think is the answer, I bet you’ll still be surprised when the end comes.
Let’s move on to the extras and goodies that Arrow Video included in this new Blu-ray release. First, I hope you like different audio tracks, because boy does this have a few. First there is a commentary with director J.S. Cardone, production manager Eric Weston, and actress Carol Kottenbrook. Then there is a fan commentary with the slasher-rific podcast The Hysteria Continues. There is an isolated music score and an audio interview with composer Robert Folk. Last but not least there is a recording of the Tybee Theater audience, which is located on the island where the film was shot, watching the movie in case you want that almost live experience. Then there are the featurettes. There is a making-of doc that runs 52 minutes. There is a special look at the locations of The Slayer that is 13 minutes long. There is a video to go along with the Tybee Theater audio track and an accompanying Q&A that’s over 20 minutes. And of course there is a still gallery and trailer. That’s a sizable pile of extra for a movie most folks have never heard of.
The Slayer is a fun 80s throwback that trips the nostalgia trigger. It can be a bit slow and it doesn’t have a huge body count that some slasher fans may expect, but it does have a few juicy kills and it does something new with the slasher formula. I like it a lot and I can easily recommend it.