I’m a little bit country, I’m a little bit rock and roll. Yeah, I like my movies gory and scary. As time passes, I’ve discovered a camp of moviegoers who find gore scary and sometimes prefer the sharp end of a blade to a shot of a bomb under a table, ticking away. Far be it from me to say that’s not right, horror is one of the most subjective genres going, and that’s awesome. Unfortunately, too many filmmakers thought gore always made up for what it lacked in story, hoping the audience would be more enamored with a decapitated head than the build up to a decapitated head. For viewers who carry a heavy heart over this, you can get the best of both worlds in an underrated movie called The Slayer.
For years, J.S. Cardone’s directorial debut floated around in many different, uncredited versions, which added a bit of mystery to the film when it first started popping up on video store shelves. It came out in different editions, including a double feature along with the far less scary Scalps, which is the version I have. I remember going into it blind and being simply enthralled by the atmosphere. I’m not sure if it was a conscious choice to make this film about adults that lends it an air of maturity, but this movie imbues a real feeling of dread, and at some points, hopelessness, even with the supernatural angle.
The Slayer is populated with unfamiliar faces and the setting is deliciously desolate. Ungodly pale Sara Kendall is perfect as the put-upon ‘protagonist’ whose nightmares just might be working their way into the real world. An interesting precursor to A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Slayer balances the supernatural elements against an all out slasher to great effect.
To say too much about the Slayer would be wrong, because it needs to be discovered and viewed without a sense of the rules of slashers. The Slayer bends every one as the film twists and turns into a downbeat surrealistic whirlpool.