1989's Intruder is a mostly under known Slasher film that indirectly had a major impact on horror cinema (and the genre in general) at the time it was released. Intruder was originally unleashed on home video with a whopping five minutes of footage cut from the film to give it an R rating, and this was all done without director Scott Spiegel's knowledge whatsoever. All of the footage removed from the film consisted of incredibly graphic gore effects done by KNB, essentially leaving Intruder a shell of a film. A Slasher with no slash, if you will. This was an era when Horror VS the MPAA was a major battle and censorship of the genre in general was at its worst. Intruder made another censorship splash with its gore set pieces in different way, a way that is much bigger than the film ever was.
[The real] Goerzone magazine came out with their March issue, issue number 6 to be exact, and what would follow would greatly hinder the presence that both Gorezone and parent magazine, Fangoria, would have on store shelves. Issue 6 featured a publicity shot from Intruder, a shot that came from the film's best and goriest death scene. A man's face cut in half with a meat cutter. To say it is one of the raddest cover's of a genre magazine ever is an understatement, but parents and ultraconservative do-gooders certainly didn't feel the same way when they saw this face looking them in the face at convenience store.
Numerous complaints would quickly result in Gorezone being banned from the shelves of all Circle K stores, and with the chain being the second biggest convenience store in the country at the time, this meant a circulation drop of several thousand copies for the magazine. Gorezone editor Tony Timpone was told by the publisher that the future covers needed to be less violent, and if they were to be so, they should involve monsters and creatures, not humans. It's like the old adage that when a horror film's blood is green or black, you can get away with murder, as opposed to if it were actually red. We all know that red blood equals real, and it's the realism that frightens and harms our children, turning them into the future serial killers of America. Thankfully censorship keeps all of this from coming to fruition.
At the time this was all happening, I was the spry age of twelve and read about all the controversy through the pages of Goerzone and Fango. I was young, and I yearned for the gruesome stuff as at that ripe age during that period in horror, it was all about the gore. I had to see Intruder, and I cannot recall exactly how long it was before I finally did see it (though it wasn't too long afterwards), but even if the film was hacked to bits, I still thought it would be worth the time and there would have to be some trace of gore in the film. Well, as it turned out, there was hardly a gut to be seen, and when I did watch the movie, I was gravely disappointed in it.
At the time I didn't notice the cheesiness of most films, so that wasn't a factor, but I did find it to be somewhat boring, and the lack of great kills are exactly what would hurt this film for me. All the lead up only to have nothing more than a bad edit happen isn't any way to see any film. Sometime after seeing the edited version, I somehow came across the directors cut, but to be totally honest, I have no idea how that happened as coming across shit at a pretty young age in the tape trading days wasn't all too easy. Regardless, I watched the full Monty version of Intruder, and I certainly enjoyed it so much more than when I saw it sans the awesome death scenes. They certainly lived up to what was promised and more, and it was those five minutes of graphic slashing and slaying that made the film one that is worth a spot on any Slasher fan's list of must sees.
And now here we are, so many years later, and in 2010 with the advent of Netflix watch instantly, or, the second coming of the VHS boom, I found myself spending some much anticipated time with Intruder. The film had received a long awaited uncut US release in 2005 and, 95% of the time, Netflix will have the most recent release playing instantly. As I sat there watching - and waiting patiently for something gruesome - I started to wonder if I was watching the correct version or not. It took a good 40 or so minutes before I became weary, and when the film finally came to the point where the meat saw scene would make its bloody splash on the screen, I knew I had been duped.
I quickly checked the running time, which was 83 minutes, then, went on my smart enough phone and did a little investigating, only to see that the directors cut ran at 88 minutes, meaning I got played like Sega. I suppose that I could have checked in the first place, but I was an optimist in this case, and I didn't even think that there was even a remote chance that it would be the censored version that was available. Shame on me. However, I must say shame on Netflix for not having the full film on instant. I mean, in the big scheme of things, they do things so right, and I am constantly impressed with how the service has progressed in the near two years I have had it, but still, this is a flub that is pretty disappointing.
As for the film, it was very entertaining for the first 45 or so minutes, but when it got serious and there was less bad acting and cheese to enjoy, it got…well, a little boring, and I simply tuned out. If it has all of the death scenes, Intruder makes for a fun and totally on purpose B-Movie Slasher film with tongue firmly placed in cheek, and it definitely has that Raimi and company sense of humor written all over it. It may be worth a watch just to see Sam Raimi play a small role as a butcher - along with Ivan as the guy that works in produce - but I would still have to say, if your only option is seeing it rated, skip the prom and go straight to the after party...
In the end, I will always have a sort of odd nostalgia for Intruder with what it represented for horror at the time. It certainly had a slight influence on the rebel that I would grow to become as the years went on. The censorship of Intruder and that specific issue of Gorezone speak so much about the time in which they had come out, and while it seems like these aren't issues that we have to worry about as much nowadays, something like what happened with Hatchet 2 comes along and reminds us that we will never get what we want when it comes to entertainment. There will always be someone there trying to tell us what we should and shouldn't watch, and it's our job to tell them to go fuck themselves and do it anyways.
Power to the people.