The Slayer (film)

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The Slayer
The slayer 1982 vhs video.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by J. S. Cardone
Produced by William R. Ewing
Eric Weston
Anne Kimmel
Written by William R. Ewing
Starring Sarah Kendall
Frederick Flynn
Carol Kottenbrook
Alan McRae
Music by Robert Folk
Cinematography Karen Grossman
Edited by M. Edward Salier
Distributed by 21st Century Film Corporation
International Picture Show
Continental Video Inc.
Marquis Video
Planet Video Inc.
Release date
  • October 1, 1982 (1982-10-01)
Running time
80 minutes
86 minutes (uncut)
Country United States
Language English

The Slayer (also known as Nightmare Island) is a 1982 horror film directed by J. S. Cardone. Set on a small island near the Atlantic coast, the plot concerns two couples upon visiting the island get trapped there due to an oncoming hurricane. As one of the women knows the island is dangerous from her plaguing nightmares, they begin to get killed by something unseen over the next three days. The film is notable for gaining notoriety and being classified in the United Kingdom as a video nasty in the 1980s.

The film is unique among slashers for its arthouse style ambiguity; part of the film is told out of chronological order, leaving it unclear as to which scene is the actual climax, and three mutually-exclusive interpretations of the films' events are offered, with the narrative providing evidence in favor of each.


Kay (Sarah Kendall) is an abstract artist who has been plagued since childhood by a series of disturbing dreams. The intensity and frequency of the dreams have fluctuated over the course of her life, as has their content; some of her dreams are simply of glimpses of desolate locations that leave her feeling dread upon awakening, while others feature the gruesome deaths of her friends and loved ones at the hands of a supernatural force. Recently, her dreams have become more frequent and disturbing than ever, resulting in a shift in the quality of her work. Afraid that the dreams are aggravated by stress, and fearful that her newfound success may be slipping away, Kay's family and friends plan a vacation for her to a small island off the coast of Georgia. Accompanying Kay are her husband David (Alan McRae), Kay's brother Eric (Frederick Flynn) who introduced her to David, and Eric's wife Brooke (Carol Kottenbrook).

As the couples' plane prepares to land, their pilot, Marsh (Michael Holmes), informs them that he's just received notification that an Atlantic hurricane has shifted course towards the island. Marsh hurriedly drops the couple off, telling them that he has to leave the island before he's stranded there. The couples discover that, against expectations, the island is deserted, and populated largely by derelict buildings and the ruins of a once-thriving resort town. Kay informs the rest of the quartet that the island is the place she has been dreaming about since childhood, and that they are all in danger if they stay there. Unnable to leave due to the hurricane, Brooke, David, and Eric try to assuage her fears.

Over the next three days, David, Eric, and Brooke are murdered one by one. With each subsequent killing, alternate possibilities as to the motive for their deaths are offered; Eric believes that Marsh never left the island and brought the couples there to kill them, a supposition that is granted some support when Marsh is later seen on the island. Kay believes that the island has allowed her dreams to cross over into reality, and that the creature from her nightmares is responsible - a theory supported by the fact that the deaths only occur when Kay is asleep. Additionally, it becomes apparent that Kay herself may be the killer, murdering in the throes of a somnambulistic trance out of repressed resentment towards her loved ones.

With everyone dead except for Kay, she barricades herself in the beach house and struggles to stay awake. As night falls, Marsh attempts to gain entry into the house, Kay shoots him with a flare gun which kills him and setting the house on fire. Kay discovers a flaming, skeletal creature waiting for her at the front door.

The film jumps to a scene of Kay as a child being woken up on Christmas morning by her parents. Kay tells them that she had a nightmare and describes the events of the film; it is unclear whether the scene is a flashback or if the film itself was merely a nightmare. After telling her parents about the dream, Kay's father presents her with a black cat, and Eric enters the room. Kay looks at the cat and becomes visibly frightened.


  • Sarah Kendall as Kay
  • Frederick Flynn as Eric
  • Carol Kottenbrook as Brooke
  • Alan McRae as David
  • Michael Holmes as Marsh
  • Paul Gandolfo as Fisherman
  • Newell Alexander as Kay's Father
  • Ivy Jones as Kay's Mother
  • Richard Van Brakel as Eric (as a child)
  • Jennifer Gaffin as Kay (as a child)
  • Carl Kraines as The Slayer


Critical reception[edit]

Allmovie wrote "The Slayer boasts some effectively eerie atmosphere and a dark, downbeat attitude. Unfortunately, sluggish pacing eliminates the tension that might have been established between the minimal cast and the sinister deserted-island setting."[1]

Home Video[edit]

The film has been released on VHS and DVD format. The Slayer was released in the U.S. on double feature video format by Continental Video alongside another feature - Scalps. It was cut by five minutes or so, in order to make room for the second feature, but all the gruesome scenes and violence are intact.[2] The film has never been made available on DVD in the U.S.

In the UK, the film has had several releases. It was initially released in the UK on VHS uncut from Vipco before being banned when it became one of the several films to appear on the video nasty list in October 1983. It remained on the list before being dropped in April 1985. It received a new release in 1992 by Vipco, with 14 seconds cut by the BBFC. However, in 2001 the film was released once again by Vipco on VHS and for the first time on DVD and was passed uncut by the BBFC. The same DVD version was released in 2010, uncut by Cornerstone Media, but it is only the outer packaging that is new, the disc is from Vipco's release. The extras include trailers and filmographies. Both DVD's have an aspect ratio of 4:3 full screen.[3]

As of 2017, the film has not received a remastered DVD or Blu-ray release. All known official copies of the film available contain only the cropped 4:3 VHS transfer, as a version containing the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio has not yet been released.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fred Beldin. "The Slayer (1982)". Allmovie. Retrieved 18 June 2012. 
  2. ^ Ziemba, Joseph A (September 1, 2005)"The Slayer (1982) VHS review". Retrieved 5 November 2010. 
  3. ^ "Re-Slayed...Recent re-release of the video nasty: The Slayer". Retrieved 5 November 2010. 

External links[edit]