CULT CLASSIC CUTIES: ELIZABETH COX as JENNIFER in INTRUDER!

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Cult Classic Cuties are characters from some of our favorite cult classics and midnight movies who captured our hearts and/or actresses who got our attention, but sadly never returned to these type of flicks. They’re femme fatales and final girls whose sexy stars shined only briefly, not quite achieving scream queen status. And this installment’s cutie is…

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ELIZABETH COX as JENNIFER in INTRUDER (1989)!

Intruder is a fun 1989 slasher that has the night crew of the Walnut Lake Market being stalked and killed one by one by a mysterious assailant. One of the employees is adorable cashier, Jennifer, as played by pretty Elizabeth Cox. Jennifer is currently being staked by her delinquent ex-boyfriend (David Byrnes), but does he want her back bad enough to kill all her friends? You’ll have to watch Intruder to find out and if you love 80s slashers, that shouldn’t be a problem, especially with this Cult Classic Cutie as our valiant final girl!
Elizabeth Cox fits the Cult Classic Cuties profile perfectly as she had a relatively short career on camera from 1984 to 1989 before disappearing from movies. The Chicago born actress had her first part as a student in the John Hughes classic Sixteen Candles before performing in small roles in not one but two cult classics in 1986, The Wraith and Night of the Creeps. She had another small role as a student in the Susanna Hoffs headlined comedy The All-Nighter, before her first and sadly last, starring role in this cult classic slasher. Too bad, she made a cute and resourceful final girl that we’d liked to have seen more of!

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(click on the poster for a full review)

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Stalked by her ex, about to lose her job and the target of a killer! Rough night at work!

Soon, collecting shopping carts will be the least of her worries!

Something is very wrong at the Walnut Lake Market!

Trapped between breakfast cereal and a serial killer!

Will help come in time for poor Jennifer?

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Elizabeth Cox may have left movies after only a few flicks, but seems to have kept very busy with wildlife conservation, news anchoring, magazine editing, working for the El Paso Zoo and having a family. She has a BA in Broadcast Journalism from USC, so this cutie is no dummy! Whatever Liz is doing now, we will always remember her Jennifer in this fun, supermarket set 80s slasher!

A recent photo reveals she’s still a beauty!

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Be sure to check out our Cult Classic Cuties (click right here on the link) section to see more crush worthy ladies from cult films and midnight movies!

-MonsterZero NJ

source/ IMDB

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TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: THE WRAITH (1986)

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THE WRAITH (1986)

“Roadblocks won’t stop something that can’t be stopped!”- Sheriff Loomis (Randy Quaid)

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to other reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

If there ever is a flick that screams “80s”, it’s Mike Marvin’s The Wraith. From it’s delightfully 80s fashions and hair, candy colored cinematography and heavy metal soundtrack (tracks listed below), this film is a ton of fun simply for the nostalgia alone. The story takes place in a small Arizona desert town were a thug by the name of Packard Walsh (Nick Cassavetes) rules over a vicious gang of car jockeys. Aside from racing, their hobbies are stealing cars, bullying townspeople and even murder when it comes to anyone even looking at the object of Packard’s twisted attention, Keri (Sherilyn Fenn). But Packard starts to lose his grip when mysterious stranger, Jake (Charlie Sheen) comes to town with eyes for Keri…and a mysterious car shows up as well, that starts taking out Packard’s gang. Are this stranger and this car connected?…and what do they have to do with the death of Keri’s previous boyfriend, Jamie (Christopher Bradley)?

Written and directed by Mike Marvin, this is a goofy…though taken fairly seriously…flick that is a mix of The Car, The Terminator and The Crow, though it predates the latter, with it’s protagonist avenging his own murder, by three years for the graphic novel and twelve for the film. It’s basically a series of fast paced car chases set to blasting heavy metal with each contest ending in flames and twisted wreckage. The film is a lot of fun, if you can get past the awkward performances from some of the supporting cast and the cheesy dialogue, such as the snippet above. There is never an explanation as to how Jamie is able to return…in a blaze of cheesy 80s animations effects, no less…and why he looks like Charlie Sheen or has a pimped up Dodge. There are some other very strange elements here that are never explained, such as the victims being dead yet showing no bodily damage, as one would in a car crash, and whenever The Wraith claims a victim, one of his metal arm or leg braces disappears…WHAT? Who cares as long as we’re entertained and The Wraith does that, scatterbrained plot or not. When we are not getting heavy metal blasting on the soundtrack, there is a perfectly 80s electronic score by Michael Hoenig and J. Peter Robinson and that candy colored cinematography is photographed by Reed Smoot. An almost perfect example of the kind of low budget flick that dominated the mid to late 80s and could still be seen in a theater where flicks like this belong!

The main cast is fun and give their parts their all. Charlie Sheen is suitably mysterious as the handsome stranger that comes into to town to woo Keri. As The Wraith, the character is in a suit of space-aged armor, so Sheen is only on screen sporadically in the scenes with Sherilyn Fenn and Matthew Barry, who plays Jamie’s brother Billy. Fenn is a little wooden, but looks incredibly hot as Keri. She claims not to be Packard’s girlfriend yet is too frightened to walk away from him…until dreamy, mysterious Jake shows up. She and Sheen do have a bit of chemistry on screen. Cassavetes is a perfectly slimy, psycho villain and we can’t wait till he and the avenger with the futuristic Dodge meet on the highway to Hell. Randy Quaid is fun as the tough guy Sheriff, who is the only one who stands up to Packard, as is Clint Howard a hoot as one of Packard’s eccentric goons. As for the supporting cast, here is where some of the acting gets really shaky and provides some unintentional laughs. 80s horror fans can also keep a look out for a familiar face, as there is also a small role from Intruder and Night Of The Creeps star Elizabeth Cox as the girlfriend of a guy who loses his car to Packard in a race.

The Wraith is a blast of 80s fun and while it wasn’t a big hit back in the day, it has earned a following as a cult classic. Sure the script is a bit on the goofy side and a lot of things are never explained, but the film is entertaining enough to get passed all that, especially now with the delightful and bountiful 80s nostalgia. The film is a remembrance of the type of flick they don’t make anymore…outside of some recent homages…and is a real good time especially when accompanied by some of your favorite brews.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 nostalgically fun wraiths.

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Track Listing from the Soundtrack CD

1. Where’s The Fire – Tim Feehan
2. Those Were The Days – Honeymoon Suite
3. Hearts Vs Heads – Stan Bush
4. Hold On Blue Eyes – LaMarcha
5. Young Love, Hot Love – Jill Michaels
6. Secret Loser – Ozzy
7. Never Surrender – Lion
8. Bad Mistake – James House
9. Wake Up Call – Ian Hunter
10. Matter Of The Heart – Bonnie Tyler

Songs featured in the film but not on the CD

1. Smokin’ in the Boys Room – Mötley Crüe
2. Addicted to Love – Robert Palmer
3. Scream of Angels – Nick Gilder
4. Power Love – Lion
5. Rebel Yell – BillyIdol

 

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…and Clint Howard, just because…

 

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TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: INTRUDER (1989)

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INTRUDER (1989)

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to other reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

 Intruder is a fun and delightfully gory late 80s slasher that perfectly exemplifies the direction the sub-genre took from the more somber and intense early 80s entries. These flicks now had a sense of humor about themselves and were far more ‘self-aware’ than the ones that were inspired by Halloween and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. These films were more colorful, focused far more on bloody body count and were made knowing there was a slasher/horror savvy audience watching and openly acknowledged the films that came before them.

This film takes place at the Walnut Lake Market where the night crew is closing up and getting the store ready for when it reopens the following morning. But the mood is somber as the employees have been informed that the store is being sold and they soon will be out of jobs…that and pretty cashier Jennifer’s (Elizabeth Cox) thug ex-boyfriend Craig (David Byrnes) is out of jail and is harassing her at the store. But soon the night shift becomes a nightmare as someone is stalking the employees one by one and slaughtering them in the most gruesome ways. Is it the spurned ex-con Craig?…or is there someone else out there with a grudge against the market and demented enough to kill them all. Will any of them escape The Walnut Lake Market alive?

Written and directed by Scott Spiegel from a story by he and producer Lawrence Bender, this flick is a whole lot of slasher flick fun. The proceedings are taken seriously, but the film is written and directed with a wink to the audience that the filmmakers know they are watching and know what to expect and they are going to get it, covered in buckets of blood. The film is not very suspenseful, but does have some nice atmosphere, thanks in part to Fernando Argüelles’ cinematography and a cool score by the great Basil Poledouris. It’s made with the understanding that you know who’s getting it and when and now it’s the anticipation as to see which gruesome manner it should be…the ban saw, the butcher knife, the trash compactor…or all of the above? And we get those gruesome kills with some delightfully nostalgic prosthetics and gallons of blood. The film knows that the premise that no one notices they are being offed one by one, or hears any of the screams is ridiculous, but goes with it, yet, never makes a joke out of it. Spiegel takes a likable bunch of young working stiffs and decimates them effectively in the setting of the empty grocery store and has a good time doing and so do we. The slasher formula is followed well and the film never insults us by assuming we haven’t seen it all before. In fact, the nods and winks to the genre make this ooze with nostalgia all these years later as, it is both slasher and slasher homage all in one.

Getting back to the likable bunch of employees/victims…Elizabeth Cox makes a solid lead. She’s pretty, perky and when she finally realizes what’s going on, she is a resilient heroine as is part of the slasher tradition. Sam and Ted Raimi have small parts as butcher and produce workers respectively and the tools of their trade make the killer’s job a lot easier. Craig Stark is fine as Tim, a potential love interest for Jennifer and pretty much the male lead. David Byrnes is appropriately slimy as Craig who is obviously, as dictated by the formula, being set up as our #1 suspect. The rest of the supporting cast are also lively in their cliché roles which includes fun cameos by Spiegel, Bender and horror icon Bruce Campbell.

I had a real blast with this film. I love the 80s era horror and this flick not only is one, but it’s self-aware tone sets it up as a homage as well, which makes it a fun nostalgic viewing all these years later! In fact, I will go as far too say that it probably works far better now as homage than it did back then, at a point when the slasher genre was burning itself out. It’s got plenty of inventive and very gory kills and while it concentrates more on killing off it’s cast than trying to generate any real tension, it gets away with it by being obvious about it’s intentions and having fun with the fact that it respects that this is not the first horror flick we have all seen. A fun, deviously gory slasher flick that all these years later now works as a nostalgia filled homage, as well as, a fun horror flick. A very underrated and entertaining 80s slasher.

3 and 1/2 butcher knives.

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