THE SLAYER (1982)
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Another abscure 80s slasher that I caught up with recently. This one tells the story of emotionally troubled artist Kay (Sarah Kendall). She’s been having bad dreams and translates her visions into her art. She goes on a vacation with her husband David (Alan McRae), brother Eric (Frederick Flynn) and sister in-law Brooke (Carol Kottenbrook) to a deserted island house…which in a horror film is a sure sign of trouble. Obviously, she sees things on the island that echo her dreams and soon those nightmares may become reality as someone…or something…is stalking her and her companions with deadly intent.
As directed by J.S. Cardone (Wicked Little Things), this slow paced horror resembles a 70s flick more than the type of horror associated with the 80s. There is some atmosphere, but since William R. Ewing’s story has a small number isolated on the island, the kills are few and far between. There is a lot of dialog as Kay feels something is very wrong and her husband and brother continue to doubt her. Even when one of their number disappears, they still blow her off. This makes for a slow moving 80+ minutes and when we finally get to the confrontation at the end, it’s over far too quickly and with a final scene that elicits groans more than chills. There is some decent gore, but again too little of it to make that a focal point and the acting is mediocre at best, so it’s not like we have some dramatic intensity to liven things up. Aside from atmospheric locations and the sporadic splashes of gore, there really isn’t much going on here.
Overall, 80s completists might want to take a look to satisfy the need to see everything horror from this prolific decade. Otherwise, aside from some atmosphere, creepy locations…why does a private island need a theater anyway?…and a few gory kills, there is not much to recommend to those looking for scares, gore or even some good nostalgia. Robert Folk’s score did remind me, here and there, of Piero Montanari’s score from the 1988 GhostHouse but, that was the only curiosity that really caught my attention.