Monday, August 21, 2017

Review: The Slayer (1982)

Arrow have a knack for seeking out all the most obscure little films from the eighties which flourished in the horror boom at that time. The Slayer is one of them.

Unfortunately time has not been kind to the film, and it plays today as being somewhat forgettable. A slasher movie in which there doesn't seem to be a killer, which is full of bland characters, and which, when you reach the end, you realise was all a dream anyway. Probably the worst plot 'twist' you could give to a horror film.

The plot is simple: two couples visit an isolated island for a holiday, and get killed off by an unseen killer. The main protagonist is Kay (Sarah Kendall), who has been suffering bad dreams all her life. So she and her husband David (Alan McRae), Kay's brother Eric (Frederick Flynn) his wife Brooke (Carol Kottenbrook) head away for a break. There's also a pilot, Marsh (Michael Holmes), who tries to warn them not to stay as there's a hurricane approaching ... Kay finds a deserted theatre at one point, and the deaths are gruesome and redolent with eighties gore.

It's surprising, none the less, that the film was classified in the eighties as a 'Video Nasty' and banned! It all seems way too tame for that ... But this alone probably elevates the film to something of a curio, and so fans of slasher horror should find something to appreciate here. I was interested to see in the extras, the makers explaining how it was the first horror film that any of them had made ... and on that basis it's not bad at all.

The transfer is good, and it's a fairly enjoyable watch and addition to anyone's growing library of horrors.

•        Brand new restoration from a 4K scan of the original camera negative
•        High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
•        Original Mono Audio (Uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
•        Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
•        Audio Commentary with writer/director J.S. Cardone, actress Carol Kottenbrook and executive in charge of production Eric Weston, moderated by Ewan Cant
•        Audio Commentary with 'The Hysteria Continues'
•        Isolated Score Selections and Audio Interview with Composer Robert Folk
•        'Nightmare Island: The Making of The Slayer' – documentary featuring interviews with J.S. Cardone, Carol Kottenbrook, Eric Weston, producer William Ewing, director of photography Karen Grossman, camera operator/2nd Unit DOP/still photographer Arledge Armenaki, special creature and make-up effects ceator Robert Short and 'Slayer' performer Carl Kraines
•        'Return to Tybee: The Locations of The Slayer' – featurette revisiting the shooting locations on Tybee Island, Georgia
•        'The Tybee Post Theater Experience' – join the audience of the Tybee Post Theater (one of the film’s key locations) for this very special home-town screening of The Slayer! Includes event introduction, feature-length audience reaction track and post screening Q&A with Arledge Armenaki and Ewan Cant
•        Still Gallery
•        Original Theatrical Trailer

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Lee Gambin

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