September 2017


The Slayer
Arrow Films/MVD
Blu-ray Review By: Jaime Pina

Coming toward the end of the early 80’s slasher film cycle, The Slayer is an interesting little low budget film that strives to add some real craft to the genre. While the set up is similar to many other films of this nature, co-writer and director J. S. Cardone throws some different and eye catching ingredients into his grisly stew. In its own way The Slayer tries to tip its hat to Mario Bava instead of Herschell Gordon Lewis by assuming the viewer will appreciate a bit of a shake up in the “killer stalks isolated victims one by one” formula so often repeated in the genre.

Two couples decide to vacation on an island and upon arriving discover that the island is deserted. The charter pilot warns them that a storm is brewing and that to stay might be dangerous. They decide to stay and he flies away leaving them all alone. One of the vacationers is a female abstract artist who has had disturbing dreams since childhood. After discovering that a vacant building in the deserted town appeared to her in a dream influencing her to paint it she starts to become unhinged and then the murders start. Is there someone else on the island or is one of the four killing the others?

Because of the small cast the storytellers had some juggling to do to stretch out this bloody whodunit with only four characters to work with. The murder scenes are far between but are well done and satisfying on both suspense and gore fronts. The island is creepy and Cardone makes the most of the limited sets to stage his scenes. A mind boggling ending results in The Slayer being a real mind tripper and makes for some interesting end credits discussion.

The Slayer looks and sounds great in this new Arrow release. The night scenes during the storm are effective and the dramatic music score serves the scenes well. Arrow has included a new making of documentary, a featurette showing Tybee Island where the film was shot and footage of a screening of the film on the island.

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