“Is it a nightmare? Or is it… The Slayer?”
A.k.a. Nightmare Island
Director/Writer: J.S. Cardone / Writer: William R. Ewing / Cast: Sarah Kendall, Frederick Flynn, Carol Kottenbrook, Alan McRae, Michael Holmes.
Body Count: 5
Laughter Lines: “You’re spending too much time alone on these islands. What you need is a companion… A woman! …Or maybe a dog.”
I hated The Slayer when I first saw a dingy old VHS copy in 1999. It was cut, it was slow, it annoyed me. In the intervening years I was always perplexed by the love some people had for it, but continued avoiding a re-watch …until last month and now, look, three stars woo!
Perhaps if it had done a little better at the box office (an edited version ran as a double header with Scalps), there would have been more than a little credit pushed in its direction for it’s proto-Nightmare on Elm Street tendencies, as we’re dealing with a monster that’s dreamed into existence when kooky artist Kay, who dreams and paints the bloody futures of herself, her husband, her brother and his wife.
Taking up an offer of a week at a remote beach house on an uninhabited isle (“it’s surrounded by water!” gorps one of them) from a work friend, the two couples fly in and hike to the sexy homestead. Eric just wants to fish; Brooke wants to sunbathe; and David is worried about Kay’s mental well being. Sucks to be him when he goes to investigate ye olde strange noise coming from the basement and ends up with his head stuck at the center of storm shelter doors, in the film’s most creative demise.
The rest of runtime is dedicated the others looking for him, then trying to summon rescue before they are fishing-lined and pitchforked to death in effectively gruesome ways. The FX work is actually some of the best of its era and were the budget further north, perhaps this could’ve been something of a mini-classic, with nice photography, an unsettlingly secluded locus, and decent performances from the small cast.
Those looking for Friday the 13th-type thrills should be warned that this one really takes the concept of slow burn and runs with it slowly. Well, walks with it. Or crawls on all fours with it. Whatever, it’s a slowie.