Sleeper, The (DVD)

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The Sleeper on DVDStarring Brittany Belland, E. Ray Goodwin Jr., Jason Jay Crabtree, Joe Bob Briggs

Directed by Justin Russell

Distributed by Gamma Knife Films

Just like everything else in this world, what was once old in horror eventually becomes new again. There’s no doubt Eighties slasher flicks hold a very special place in the hearts of genre fans everywhere. Back then they were as mean and violent as they were fun and campy. Logic was thrown out the door. Effects were practical and gooey, and there was none of the glossy Hollywood sheen bullshit that seems to be found everywhere. The killers and how they dispatched their victims were the stars of the show, not the hot young vomit-inducing pretty cast.

Yep, there was certainly a lot to like back then. Over the years filmmakers have been trying to recapture that now vintage feel with varying degrees of success. Indie filmmaker Justin Russell not only captures it but nails it to a degree that would make anyone (who didn’t know any better) think they were watching a movie from the desired era. Simply put, The Sleeper oozes authenticity.

The story, as you may have guessed, is wonderfully flimsy. Sorority Alpha Gamma Theta is putting on a bash for its new pledges. One that will be memorable not for the girls who show up but for the milky-eyed killer who comes along with them. A madman who stays just out of sight studying our students – when he’s not placing deliciously vile phone calls to the dorm that is. Of course he eventually hunts down each chick one by one with a claw hammer being his chosen implement of doom.

Once we get going, eyes are gouged, heads are lopped off, boobs pop out, and all manner of mayhem ensues, including an obligatory disco dancing sequence. What’s not to like? As previously stated, the movie is meticulous in its pursuit of recapturing that bygone era. From the soundtrack by Gremlin to the editing and look of the movie, everything is completely spot on and right now stands as the best homage to early Eighties filmmaking since Ti West’s amazing The House of the Devil. It will fit nicely on your shelf with Black Christmas, The House on Sorority Row, The Prowler, and the like.

Once you’re done chilling in your time machine and resisting the urge to tease your hair up really high, there are some quality special features on tap. Things kick off with a very lively commentary with director Justin Russell, in which his love for the genre totally shines through, and from there we have an hour long making-of, Joe Bob Briggs’ hilarious “Drive-In Total” of the flick, and a couple of trailers. Really good stuff that’s not to be missed.

With The Sleeper director Justin Russell has created something special. It’s a movie that revels in the glory of being what it is: a balls-out and bloody good time. Sleep with one eye open. You’ll probably have to considering your other eye will likely be gouged out via claw hammer by then. Highly recommended!

Special Features

  • Director’s Commentary
  • Shooting a Nightmare in 13 Days (Hour Long Featurette)
  • Joe Bob Briggs’ Drive-In Total
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • Lost Trailer Series: Don’t Go in the Attic


    4 out of 5

    Special Features:

    4 out of 5

    Discuss The Sleeper in our comments section below!

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  • Steve Barton

    You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.

    Get Your Box of Dread Now
    *US Residents Only .
    • lorettalbecker59

      I watched this one time and never did again watched it. It was so horrific that I forgot that it was just a movie. All in all I gave it two thumbs up!

      Loretta L. Becker

    • nonserviam03

      It feels like an 80s slasher movie, but it kind of feels like one of the mountain of forgettable 80s slasher movies out there, rather than any of the ones people actually care about. Without any kind of gimmick like a unique setting, holiday backdrop, or memorable killer, it just sort of has a “been there, done that” vibe. It’s solid, don’t get me wrong, but I doubt this one will stick with me. It just needs SOMETHING to set it apart.

      I liked it, but I wanted to like it more.

    • Masked Slasher

      This DVD cannot come in the mail soon enough.

      I’m not sure there’s anything I like more in this world than sitting down with a new 80s slasher. And since I’ve seen the majority of them this is the next best thing.

    • nazo

      I hadn’t even heard of this one. Seems like it could be good, even if I wasn’t exactly anxious for a companion piece to House On Sorority Row.

    • Shambling_in_Bandages

      The claw hammer is an underrated mode of dispatch.

    • kiddcapone

      Cool, it’s an entire half-knife higher than The Devil Inside. I’m sold!

      Well, 80’s slashers hold a special place in my heart and I’d love to see some new film recapture that magic. I thought it would happen after reading The House of the Devil review but apparently I was wrong. That retro-wannabe managed to be worse than 80’s cheese and worst of all, painfully DULL. I’m as confused about why people love that piece of shit as Steve is confused to why the TDI lacked a climax and pay-off conclusion. BUT OTHER FILMS ENDED ABRUPTLY TOO…..

      Lol, anyway, I’ll add this to my Netflix queue…We shall see…

      • Uncle Creepy

        Beat a dead horse much? LOL! We usually are in agreement on movies so I’ll be interested in your opinion on this one.

        • kiddcapone

          Haha, usually! It’s just so much fun poking you in the eye with TDI since we DO have very similar tastes in movies. Hell, we even both watch American Idol (and I too get shit for this all the time from my friends).

          I tried to add The Sleeper to my queue but it’s no where to be found on Netflix ??? It’s not even listed as a save for future release? So, I dunno…

          • Uncle Creepy

            It hits DVD on Tuesday. BTW the absence of freakish auditions on Idol is really bugging me. That’s what I watch it for. Although that Cyclops guy was the shit!

            • kiddcapone

              Since Simon left they greatly reduced the amount of freakish auditions…it’s my biggest complaint. Who the hell wants to see all the people that get through? We get enough of them after the auditions, right now I want to see train wrecks.

              I know damn well the cyclops guy was a plant by the producers but it was still fucking hysterical. When they played the Incredible Hulk music as he walked away I was in tears…

    • Vanvance1

      This does sound fun in a Hatchet kind of way.

      I’m sold.

    • James Coker

      Cant wait to watch this one