The Slayer (1982)

Since childhood, Kay has constantly suffered from horrifying dreams, some of which are just frightening landscapes that leave her feeling uneasy and others that show loved ones being killed by a supernatural force. Those dreams have come and gone, but now they are happening more often, growing in intensity and impacting her work as an artist.

Worried that all of this stress may hurt her newfound success as an abstract artist, Kay decides to vacation on a small island, along with her husband David (Alan McRae, Three Ninjas), her brother Eric and his wife Brooke. As their pilot drops them off on the island, he mentions that a hurricane is on the way and he has to leave as soon as possible. Even stranger is the fact that the island — which they expected to be a resort town — is a deserted ruin. And not just any ruin, but the one in Kay’s dreams, leading her to feel that everyone is in danger.

David, Eric and Brooke are then killed one after the other. But who killed them? The film gives us three possible stories, each of which are plausible: the pilot never left the island and just dropped them off there to kill them (a theory that is somewhat proved when the pilot is seen later); Kay believes that a monster from her dreams can cross over into reality thanks to the island (which could be true, as the murders only happen when she is asleep) and finally, that Kay is really the killer, falling into a trance and acting out repressed resentment.

After everyone else dies, Kay locks herself into the beach house and tries to stay awake, even burning herself with cigarettes. But that night, the pilot makes his way into the house. She shoots him with a flare gun, killing him and sending the house up in smoke. As she tries to leave, a flaming skeleton is waiting for her.

But wait! It was all a dream, as Kay awakes on Christmas morning in bed. After telling her parents about the dream, they hand her a black cat to her horror. Huh? Supposedly Kay is killed by the Slayer and this is a flashback, but it certainly doesn’t seem that way.

Director J.S. Cardone says that he was inspired by H.P. Lovecraft and the idea of dreams versus reality, but the movie doesn’t have much to do with Lovecraft. That said, this movie looks way more expensive than its budget would lead you to believe, there are some good death scenes and it has a bleak atmosphere.

You can get the Arrow Video reissue at Diabolik DVD.

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