This week's VHS is J.S. Cardone’s infamous 1982 slasher The Slayer.
Kay (Sarah Kendall) and her husband, brother and sister-in-law are stalked by an unseen monster after becoming stranded on an island off the Altantic coast.
Considering this is a fairly coveted title off Britain’s notorious Video Nasty list, it took me an unusually long time to watch The Slayer. I’ve had the Slayer/Scalps Continental double VHS for some time, but I guess the purist in me was holding out for a complete version. Then along came the Marquis version pictured above that, according to Imdb, is the complete version. At a stark eighty-one minutes though, who can say?
Gore aside – and I must admit my extremely muddy VHS copy didn’t help matters - The Slayer was a bit of a slog. Again, I must admit I zoned out at the beginning, but it seemed there was practically no setup. One scene there’s a couple in a bedroom and literally the next scene the foursome are landing on an island. What the heck?
|Sarah Kendall as Kay in The Slayer.|
Once the husband loses his head, a good majority of the movie is taken up by the rest of the characters wandering around looking for him. I sadly did a lot of clock-watching while viewing this. However, I do have to say Cardone did attempt to do something different with the slasher genre that would’ve been in full bloom at the time. A full two years before Wes Craven would introduce the world to Freddy Krueger, The Slayer plays like a very unpolished version of A Nightmare on Elm Street.
I don’t think Craven would’ve drawn inspiration from this picture, but it does have parallels, the most direct of which being a character trying to stay awake to stave off the creature manifested in her nightmares. She even goes so far as to burn herself with cigarettes just like Jennifer in NOES 3. Both films certainly share WTF endings.
Those coming for the kills won’t be disappointed though. It’s quality over quantity here with that classic pitchfork scene being top ten material. Cardone so relishes the impalement of Brooke (Carol Kottenbrook) it’s almost pornographic. I can only imagine the blue hairs at the BBFC must have shit themselves when they saw that back in 1982. The Slayer was pretty thin otherwise and definitely all their mustard behind its kills and the creature - when it finally shows up.
|She's as shocked as I am there are no GIFs of this online.|
After debuting with The Slayer, Cardone went on to become a hired gun in Full Moon’s early days working on Crash & Burn and Shadowzone and then more recently penning stale remakes of Prom Night and The Stepfather. Whatever, man’s gotta eat, right?
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