If you’re into ‘80s slasher flicks and you’ve never seen Intruder, stop it! It’s so good. Set in a supermarket for what ends up being a literal graveyard shift, it’s gory and tense, but more surprisingly smart and funny.
It’s also a chance to see oodles of legit 1980s groceries in their natural habitat!
From what I can gather, Intruder was shot in a California grocery store that had closed down before filming began. To stock the shelves, the crew worked with a company that specialized in expired foodstuffs.
(Expired food was doubtlessly cheaper, and probably the only hope for such a low-budget production to effectively stock an entire supermarket.)
Intruder was filmed in early 1988, and the food sure proves it. Some of the snacks are such deep cuts that even I’d forgotten about them, and I’m the guy who spends six hours a day obsessing over dead cookies.
Below are five ‘80s junk foods seen in Intruder:
Intruder is loaded with ‘80s cereals, to the point where I could easily do a whole separate article just about those. Maybe we’ll cross that bridge next week.
If I had to pick just one to feature, it’s gotta be Fruit Brute, which was kind of the Big Dick Dudley of the Monster Cereal family.
What’s interesting is that Fruit Brute’s original run ended in 1982, many years before this film was shot. Those shelves were stocked with expired groceries, yes, but not that expired.
….which leads me to believe that someone involved with the production deliberately brought a “collectible” box of Fruit Brute to the set, simply out of werewolf respect. (Keep in mind, this was years before Tarantino orchestrated Fruit Brute cameos in his movies!)
Planters Cheez Balls!
When you look at most brands of cheese balls, you’ve got these too-dry and mostly-flavorless rocks dusted with powdered cheese. By contrast, Planters Cheez Balls were sweatier and a bit softer, with a punch that stayed cheesy to the core.
It’s hard to convince people who never had Planters Cheez Balls that they were really so much better, but I swear on all things holy, it’s a fact.
Plus, they came in those neat canisters — the ones that every person even remotely close to my age used as coin banks. You’d cut a slit in the plastic lid and then spend months fishing out cheese-dusted quarters.
We didn’t have iPhones back then.
Barely visible yet indisputably there were several packages of Choco-Bliss snack cakes, aka the most indulgent things Hostess ever put out.
Each cake was actually two cakes, separated by a creamy filling and then topped with icing. Literally chocolate covered in chocolate surrounded by chocolate.
I’m surprised that they didn’t last, given how hard Hostess used to push ’em. Maybe it had to do with the fact that you couldn’t eat one without immediately morphing into post-infraction Violet Beauregarde.
Nabisco Mystic Mint!
Jeez, I’d completely forgotten about Mystic Mint cookies before spotting them here. If I have it right, they were basically Oreos covered in a minty, messy fudge.
Course, the real draw with Mystic Mints was that they were called Mystic Mints. That name might’ve fit in when the cookies debuted in the early ‘70s, but it seemed altogether alien by the mid ‘80s.
How do you turn down a cookie called MYSTIC MINT? In what universe does a name that good not outweigh all other considerations?
(The jade green boxes further hinted at metaphysical superpowers.)
These clearly weren’t food, but can you blame me for including them? What, you’d rather read about some old bag of Wise chips?
Battle Beasts were those teensy animal/warrior figures with team-designating rubsigns. Soldiers from Team Water easily beat those from Team Fire, but lost handily to those from Team Wood. It was like Rock-Paper-Scissors, but way cooler since you got to mess with nutty animals who all dressed like Captain Freedom.
Back then, supermarkets really did sell Battle Beasts and similarly lightweight big brand toys. (And sometimes not so big brand. The reason so many of us remember knockoff He-Man figures is because grocery stores always carried them.)
Big thanks to my pal Nicole V., who noticed the old food and correctly assumed that I’d want to perform a frame-by-frame inspection. Honestly, this was the most fun I’ve had in months. (I should probably think about that.)
The next (or first) time you watch Intruder, keep an eye out for ancient groceries. I’ve barely covered a tenth of them here!