Friday, September 22, 2017


J.S. Cardone's THE SLAYER (1982) is one of those curious, almost-but-not-quite cult horror movies from the early-eighties which found a bit of local popularity thanks to its release on the infamous Palace Explosive label, though it didn't attain the same notoriety of some of the other PE titles like I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, BLOODSUCKING FREAKS, THE KILLING OF AMERICA and CANNIBAL APOCALYPSE. I only ever hired THE SLAYER out once or twice at most at the time, my main familiarity with it being the trailer which appeared on many of the other Palace Explosive releases.

I've never owned a copy of THE SLAYER on VHS, so the recent Arrow Video Blu-ray release of the film has given me a perfect chance to give it another watch. It's a strange film and it has a lot of problems but it also has a few very positive things going for it. It can't decide if it wants to be a straight slasher or a more surreal, Lovecraft-esque horror, but this schizophrenic tone actually helps enhance the dreamy subtexts which the film's narrative explores, as do the desolate and highly atmospheric locales where it takes place (the movie was filmed on Tybee Island in Georgia). Slasher die-hards might find the pace of the film to be a bit lacking, but it does offer up a couple of pretty inventive killings, and lead actress Sarah Kendall has a strange, haunted look to her that makes her character unusual and interesting to watch.

A pretty good Blu-ray release from Arrow, with the 4K scan retaining quite a bit of film grain in many of the darker shots. Extras include a making-of documentary that runs for almost an hour, a visit to the Tybee Island locations today, trailer, audio commentary (with writer/director J.S. Cardone, actress Carol Kottenbrook and production executive Eric Weston) and an illustrated booklet featuring writings on the film by Lee Gambin and Ewan Cant.