Review: The Slayer

Blu-ray & DVD: The Slayer (1982)

Troubled artist Kay (Sarah Kendall) suffers with disturbing dreams and visions, which she also incorporates into her artwork. Her husband Eric (Frederick Flynn) decides to take her on holiday to a remote island to relax, along with her brother David (Alan McRae) and his wife, Brooke (Carol Kottenbrook). Once on the island, Kay believes that an evil force is stalking them all, and her fears just may well be true as the holidaymakers begin to disappear one by one in mysterious circumstances.

Released during a golden period for slasher movies, The Slayer ticks all the usual boxes: couples in a remote location, nudity, an unidentified killer, and of course the always anticipated (and much cheered) inventive kills. Previously only available on home video in either cut or full screen versions, this new release from Arrow Films showcases a brand new 4K transfer of the original camera negative and their usual host of amazing special features.

I have to admit that I prefer other movies from the slasher genre to The Slayer; The Burning immediately springs to mind (also available from Arrow Films), though that is not to say that The Slayer is in any way a poor movie. It does a good job of allowing time to build some empathy for the characters and set the scene at the remote island; which is featured in a couple of the special features…I’d definitely like to visit Tybee Island.

My main gripe is which the character of Kay. Sarah Kendall portrays her as what I can only describe as ‘a wet lettuce leaf‘; all simpering looks off into the distance and in a constant state of ‘oh poor me‘. I’d have loved to have seen a bit more fire in her character…especially towards the finale when she has numerous opportunities to ‘tool up’ and battle her demons.

Other than that it is very atmospheric and makes great use of its locations, which once again is the subject of another fascinating special feature where the movie makes its debut on Tybee island.

The kills are enjoyable without going too over the top, but are few and far between. This is more of a slow burn horror movie where the impending doom far overshadows the bloody payoffs of each kill.

Finally released in a version that fans of The Slayer have been waiting far too long for, it is a good evenings entertainment for all horror/slasher fans.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

•        Brand new restoration from a 4K scan of the original camera negative
•        High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
•        Original Mono Audio (Uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
•        Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
•        Audio Commentary with writer/director J.S. Cardone, actress Carol Kottenbrook and executive in charge of production Eric Weston, moderated by Ewan Cant
•        Audio Commentary with The Hysteria Continues
•        Isolated Score Selections and Audio Interview with Composer Robert Folk
•        Nightmare Island: The Making of The Slayer – documentary featuring interviews with J.S. Cardone, Carol Kottenbrook, Eric Weston, producer William Ewing, director of photography Karen Grossman, camera operator/2nd Unit DOP/still photographer Arledge Armenaki, special creature and make-up effects ceator Robert Short and “Slayer” performer Carl Kraines
•        Return to Tybee: The Locations of The Slayer – featurette revisiting the shooting locations on Tybee Island, Georgia
•        The Tybee Post Theater Experience – join the audience of the Tybee Post Theater (one of the film’s key locations) for this very special home-town screening of The Slayer! Includes event introduction, feature-length audience reaction track and post screening Q&A with Arledge Armenaki and Ewan Cant
•        Still Gallery
•        Original Theatrical Trailer

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Lee Gambin.

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Review by Dave (co-host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Arrow Films via Fetch Publicity.