Intruder (1989)

Scott Spiegel is the great uniter of the 90’s film scene. When he first moved to Los Angeles, he shared a house with film directors Sam Raimi, the Coen Brothers and actresses Holly Hunter, Kathy Bates and Frances McDormand. Not content with that star-packed household, he later shared a house with Bob Murawski, the Grindhouse Releasing co-founder. This may be part of the explanation for how Sam Raimi came to use a shot from The Beyond, a film that Murawski helped bring to the US, in his first Spider-Man movie.

To top all of that off, in the early 90’s, Spiegel introduced Lawrence Bender to Quentin Tarantino. Together, they got Reservoir Dogs off the ground.

But before all that, Spiegel worked at the local grocery market across from Walnut Lake Elementary School back in Birmingham, Michigan. His teenage best friends? Oh, only Raimi and Bruce Campbell.

Drawing on that grocery experience — and based on an old Super-8 film he created called Night Crew — Spiegel and Bender would make this film. Paramount Home Video hyped up that Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi and Ted Raimi were the major stars, along with Renee Estevez. They’re all barely in it and Renee is the first — SPOILER WARNING — to die. Hell, the DVD art gives away the killer!

As a supermarket closes, the crew begins restocking the shelves. Craig and Jennifer are broken up, but they get in a fight. This upsets Linda (Estevez, who yes, is Charlie’s sister and was in Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers), who hits the panic button. Craig is chased away, the cops are called and then the bomb gets dropped — the store is getting sold and they need to do an inventory before the store changes hands.

As the night goes on, person after person is killed. Is it Craig? Or can it really all be that simple?

This movie is packed with gore, courtesy of KNB. In fact, five minutes of it was cut for its eventual VHS release. And look out — the police officers are Alvy Moore and Tom Lester, who played Hank Kimball and Eb Dawson on Green AcresIntruder then raises the bar even higher on cameos that only I would care about by having Emil Sitka, the fourth Stooge and the only man other than Harold Brauer to work with all six Stooges. He even says his famous line, “Hold hands, you lovebirds.” That same phrase appears on his tombstone.

Spiegel wanted the final shot go all the way down Jennifer’s throat and inside her body to her heart, where the film would stop on a freeze-frame of her heart as it stopped beating. I would have loved that!

The director has gone on to create films like Hostel: Part IIIThe TempleFrom Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood MoneyMy Name Is Modesty and the completed yet never released Spring Break ’83.

You can watch this for free on Tubi. Or grab the uncut version from Synapse!

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