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Slaughterhouse (1987)

DVD Cover (Program Power Entertainment)
Genres:
Hixploitation, Horror, Slasher Film
Director:
Rick Roessler Rick Roessler
Starring:
Joe B. Barton Joe B. Barton
Don Barrett Don Barrett
Sherry Leigh Sherry Leigh
Bill Brinsfield Bill Brinsfield
Jason Collier Jason Collier

5.4 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: May 12, 2005
In this late eighties horror entry, we find out that Lester Bacon (Don Barratt), the owner of the local slaughterhouse, is pretty far behind on his taxes. As a result, the county is going to take over his slaughterhouse and kick him out on the streets. Harold Murdock (Lee Robinson) offers to purchase the property from Lester, and Lester's lawyer-friend Tom Sanford (Bill Brinsfield) advises Lester to take the deal... however, Lester objects to Murdock's fancy modern way of doing things, and believes that the old-fashioned methods of slaughtering pigs is the better way. Thanks to his pigheadedness, Lester refuses to sell the property to Harold, which leaves Sheriff Borden (William Houck) no choice but to put up an eviction notice and give Lester thirty days to get off the property. Meanwhile, a couple of kids shooting a horror movie near Lester's slaughterhouse come face to face with Lester's retarded son, the mountain-of-a-man Buddy (Joe B. Barton). It seems that Buddy isn't too fond of these teens coming around and upsetting his pigs, so he dispatches both of them with the cleaver that he carries around with him. When Lester finds out that Buddy murdered these two teens, he's just a bit upset with his son... however, he then decides to invite Sanford and Murdock over to renegotiate their deal, and have them meet his son while they're there. On the other side of town, the sheriff's daughter Lizzy Borden (Sherry Bendorf) and the rest of the movie-shooting teens are planning to go back to the slaughterhouse to finish up the movie, where unbeknownst to them, their friends are currently hanging from meat hooks. Buddy certainly has his work cut out for him on this stormy evening, indeed.

Anyone who has spent any amount of time on this here site will have likely realized that I'm a fan of horror films. When it comes to horror films, the slasher sub-genre is one of my favorite types of movies, and this particular entry is definitely one of the better eighties slashers. We're given a pretty simple plot, a good chunk of stupid teens to pump up the body count, a great villain, and plenty of gory kills. The formula has been tried and true in slashers throughout the years, and it works out especially well in this one. While there are definitely some similarities to a certain other movie to be found in the plot and kill methods here, it never comes off as being too much of a blatant rip-off, and there's certainly enough original ideas to warrant a viewing of this one.

As I mentioned in the beginning of the last paragraph, this is definitely one of the better films in the eighties slasher genre. However, it doesn't quite turn out to be "one of the best" films in the eighties slasher genre, which is no doubt due to this being the first (and only) film for writer / director Rick Roessler. There's a good number of amateur movie-making mistakes to be found here, mistakes that are much too common for first-time directors... and these mistakes tend to run a bit long, damaging the overall enjoyment of the movie. By far the worst of the mistakes is the constant cuts to the teens who are out and about on the town doing, well, teenager stuff. There's at least twenty minutes of watching these kids dance, eat french fries, talk to each other in bad eighties slang, screw around with monster masks, and other assorted nonsense. While I realize that Roessler was attempting to give the characters some fleshing out here, he messed up in two ways with this. One, the actors aren't exactly award-winning in the acting department. This would normally be perfectly acceptable in this type of film, as the characters really don't have to do much other than run around, scream, and play dead for the camera. When you try to throw actors and actresses of this skill level into a rather large amount of scenes aimed at developing their characters, it really doesn't work out too well. The second problem is the fact that this was shot in the eighties, so what seemed cool and hip back then really comes off as being lame now. While I'm sure that watching Michael Jackson / Pat Benatar lookalikes dance around for ten minutes was quite exciting for the movie-going audience of 1987, it really doesn't stand the test of time. Had these scenes been shortened, I'd have had no problem with it... but as is, they run for much too long, and really pull the entertainment level down with them.

With all that said, this is still one of the better slasher films once you get past those amateur mistakes. The ending of the movie leaves plenty of room for the planned sequel, although the producers of the film didn't receive their payments for putting out this movie in enough time to really cash in on the sequel (as is explained in depth during one of the bonus features). It's sad, really, because seeing Buddy hacking his way through another set of fresh-faced teens while being directed by a slightly more-experience director would have definitely tickled my fancy.

Overall, if you're a fan of slashers, this is definitely one to check out. 7/10 from yours truly, but my standard disclaimer applies here - knock off two or three of those points if you're not a fan of eighties slashers.
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Crispy #1: Crispy - added 05/13/2005, 09:37 PM
This movie related to the old video games?
Chad #2: Chad - added 05/14/2005, 02:45 AM
Nope, but I'd certainly plunk down some cash to see a movie based on that.
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