Siblings, Eric & his surreal artist sister Kay, her doctor husband David, her sister-in-law Brooke along with pilot Marsh become stranded on a rugged isle face off against a supernatural beast drawn to Kay who dreams of its killings.
While trying to understand a frightening reoccurring nightmare, a pledge is coaxed into breaking into her father's department store by her sorority sisters, where a deranged killer targets the girls and their boyfriends.
Three college girls on their way to a jazz festival crash their car in the isolated woods during a rainstorm, and are taken in by a mysterious family in an old mansion. Little do the girls know, the family has a dark, murderous secret.
The sequence with the fisherman was added as an afterthought. See more »
It's this place... It makes my skin crawl.
It's not this place, Kay, for Christ's sake. It's those damn dreams of yours!
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The version released on the Marquis video label is the full 81 minute version. The film was also released on a double-billed VHS cassette with Scalps by Continental home video, but the running time was shortened to 75 minutes. Interestingly, none of the violent scenes were altered. See more »
"The Slayer" follows a troubled avant-garde artist with psychic proclivities who travels to a remote island with her husband, brother, and sister-in-law in order to regroup. Immediately bothered by the atmosphere of the island, she insists something is amiss among the forests and derelict buildings— but the three dismiss her. Unfortunately, they're wrong.
An early entry in eighties horror that somehow got sidelined by history, "The Slayer" is shockingly good given its lack of notoriety. The set-up is straightforward, and the low character number means there isn't much in the way of the expected body count, but in its brisk eighty minutes, the film manages to achieve a dreadful atmosphere and also boasts some shockingly realistic and disturbing murder scenes.
J.S. Cardone, directed and co-wrote the film—it's his first picture, and he has gone on to work mainly in genre films over the years, giving us the marginalized 2001 vampire flick "The Forsaken" and 2006's "Wicked Little Things." Compared to those films, "The Slayer" is rather minimalistic, but there is a unique sense of foreboding in this film that is something that slasher flicks particularly don't always seem to achieve. The island locale is woodsy and populated with derelict buildings from when it was a resort years prior—an idyllic setting for a horror film. The film in some ways reminded me of a non-wintry "Ghostkeeper," another debased eighties horror picture. The score is quite elegant and ominous, and there are also high-caliber special effects throughout, which are on show during each death sequence, as well as during the monstrous reveal at the finale. Some have argued that the conclusion to "The Slayer" is a cop out. I don't know if I necessarily feel that way. It is rather abruptly thrown at the audience, but it also has narrative significance, linked to threads that are presented earlier on in the film. If anything, it's a somewhat bold move.
Overall, I was quite surprised by how well-crafted this film was. It's not a groundbreaker, but it's a sturdy exercise in dread that happens to be well-shot and eerie. Serious fans of stalk-and- slash movies may find it a bit slow, but it's worth holding out for the impressively jarring murder scenes and the wild card of a conclusion. 8/10.
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