I've decided to start a series of reviews based on retro horror flicks, in which I will have a fresh review of a film dating back from the 80s or earlier, most of the time. They will be reviews on movies that you may have seen, want to see, or just never heard of before. I am also always open to review requests as we are all enthralled by the genre, so have a fun read and enjoy my initial installment of Vintage Video: Slaughterhouse
There’s just something about having a slaughterhouse as a film’s main setting. It may be due to the macabre atmosphere that meat packing plants are stereotyped as, or posbly that I have worked in the meat industry before. But whatever its potential, it makes for an ideal place for morbid acts to follow where no one may hear you scream within the pale, blood-stained walls.
And such a setting couldn’t work any better than a film that sums it up in its title: Slaughterhouse.
With comic relief and parodies sprinkled throughout, Slaughterhouse (1987) pursues a group of a half-dozen teens looking to have a good time on their upcoming holiday weekend (as almost every horror film from the 80s outlines), and decide to shoot their own horror movie at an old rundown slaughterhouse. But contrary to their knowledge, they will be at the wrong place at the wrong time and greeted, with a not-so-warm welcome, by an obese, cleaver-wielding, pig-snorting Buddy Bacon (Joe Barton).
The film also follows three other individuals who are looking to possess and reincarnate the dilapidated slaughterhouse into a modern, mechanized meat packing plant. But that’s not going to be so easy as the current landowner, Lester Bacon (Don Barrett), is against the contemporary method of meat procesng and abides by his clasc “craftsmanship and sharp knives” approach.
In an effort to prevent his condemned slaughterhouse from making the switch, Lester and his son Buddy spare the hogs and decide to get their choice-cut chops from anyone who crosses into their boundaries. Looks like the old Bacon & Son slaughterhouse is up and running again, but this time hanging and aging a more “prime selection.”
Right from the film’s intro, director Rick Roessler sets the tone with the initial execution as a cleaver to the face that looks like a homage to the infamous axe to the face in the original Friday The 13th (or going back even further to Friday’s admiration from Mario Bava’s Bay of Blood), but of course with effects to a lesser extent. The film also features other slaughterhouse-esque kills, including one thrown into the grinder becoming crushed within the auger (which is probably the most grotesque), head crushing, several meat-hook hangings, but mainly it’s Buddy having a good time swinging away his overzed cleaver.
Above all, we must remember that this was produced in the 80s and, of course, it has its fair share of cheesy dialogue, cornstarch with red dye blood effects, and a Cao keyboard mucal score (although I did find the brass muc in the opening credits quite catchy). Having that said, Slaughterhouse still is able to present its audience with decent suspense building, a plot base, comic relief throughout its entirety, and some pretty effective slash scenes for its time (remember…80s).
It’s a film to have fun with and to enjoy the retrospect of a decade that released a different generation of horror that we look back on and love, in which we will sadly no longer see again in our new day and age.