With a title like The Slayer, you think you’d be dealing with, well, a slasher flick. But in this case you would be wrong (mostly). Thankfully, Arrow Video has brought this title to blu-ray so we can get a good look at just what it is. Let’s dig in and see what there is to see.
The Slayer starts out with a perfect setup for a gory slasher classic. Two couples are flying to the island that belongs to one of their bosses for a weekend getaway. Of course, shortly after they land and get settled, they discover that the weather has taken a turn for the worst and they will be left on this island without any outside contact. Oh, and did I mention that they will be staying in an old fort?
So we have the perfect setup for a slasher, and we have a creepy old island where it all takes place. So why do I say that it isn’t really a slasher? Now don’t get be wrong. People wind up getting killed, and their deaths do seem like the work of some dastardly villain who is on the island with these people. However, Kay, an artist who is struggling with depression and having nightmares involving the murders, is adamant that she is seeing these deaths and that it is her dreams that are causing people to turn up dead. I say that this isn’t really a slasher because the bulk of the tension in this film takes place inside of her dreams. However things begin to blur between dream and reality, especially when her closest friends don’t take her word for what is happening.
While this film may not fulfill my requirements for a typical slasher film, it certain was a surprise to me at how effective it was at creating a suspenseful thriller environment. I thoroughly enjoyed this film, and was happy that it kept my guessing as to whether or not there is a ‘real’ killer or if Kay is right and something supernatural is happening to the group. The big reveal at the end was something that I had considered, and some might find it a bit of a cop out, but I enjoyed it regardless.
As per usual, Arrow did a fantastic job of restoring life to an older, more obscure film such as this. They did a restoration from original 35mm elements, making this the best looking version of this film, and it shows. I was quite impressed with the clarity throughout the film. There were some spots that got a bit less impressive, and there’s shots with excess grain, but nothing to be overly critical of.
The mono audio track is perfectly suitable here, there were no noticeable issues with it. It sounded quite good overall.
- Nightmare Island: The Making of The Slayer – a fun feature, with interviews with several cast and crew.
- Return to Tybee: The Locations of The Slayer – a return to the island with present day location viewing
- The Tybee Post Theater Experience – they screened this film on the island, with a Q&A included
- Still Gallery
- Audio Commentaries with J.S. Cardone, Eric Weston, Carol Kottenbrook
- Audio Commentary with The Hysteria Continues
- Isolated Score and composer interview
- The Tybee Post Theater Audience Track
Not surprising for an Arrow release, there are a lot of goodies here to go through. The shots on Tybee Island were particularly interesting to me, as I definitely enjoy revisiting old set locations in present day. Anyone who enjoyed the film will likely find something interesting here to supplement the movie.
As always with Arrow packaging, we get the blu-ray and DVD in a nice clear case with attractive art on the discs and a reversible cover art. Also included is a 34 page booklet with even more content and lots of pictures.
While not what I was expecting based on the title alone, I was very pleasantly surprised with this Arrow release. It definitely doesn’t show it’s hand too early, and regardless of what you think of the ending, it is definitely a fun ride. I definitely recommend this one.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.