Slaughterhouse… The mere mention of that word can strike up a lot of negative and ghastly connotations. It’s literally a housing for lives to be slaughtered (and it took quite a stretch for me to come up with that!), so a horror flick with that word as the title would indicate that it’s gory, bloody and disgusting. At least that was my first impression when I decided to watch and review the 1987 comedy/horror film “Slaughterhouse“. Does it live up to expectations? Read on to find out.
Slaughterhouse follows the story of the Bacons (subtlety is clearly not lost on the writers here), and their derelict old slaughterhouse. The local meat packing plant, owned by a former employee of Lester Bacon, wants to up production of the plant, and to do that they try to buy old Lester’s plot of land. The only issue is that Lester isn’t ready to sell, even while facing imminent foreclosure. He and his mentally underdeveloped son Buddy (played by Joe B. Barton) decide to take matters into their own hands by targeting the meat mogul, law enforcement officers and other assorted trespassers that come in contact with.
One of the big problems I have is right off the bat, this movie markets itself as a comedy, going so far as starting the movie off with some scenes of actual pigs being processed into meat with some whimsical, jazzy music. The rest of the movie attempts at being funny, either by making the idiot Buddy only communicate in brays, squeaks and squeals, or introducing some “teenagers” and I use that term loosely, as the comic relief. I mean you can’t just have a movie about killing cops and putting them on meat hooks right? You have to include some b-movie teenager tropes as well if you want a real slasher flick. So, if they were going for a comedy aspect, they sorely missed their mark.
The other thing is that this is supposed to be a horror flick, and while there are a few good grisly scenes with some blood being splattered, or getting put through the ringer of equipment you’d expect in a slaughterhouse, I ended up feeling pretty “meh” about the whole thing. I’ve seen much better and I’ve seen much worse.
Considering those shortcomings, the actors weren’t actually blithering idiots, which always helps. While looking through the cast list, a majority of the actors didn’t have more than just Slaughterhouse attributed to them. With that much inexperience, they did a really good job. I would even risk saying that if the director, Rick Roessler, had done anything more than this movie I would expect that he could have had a pretty good career in horror – just leave the comedy to the experts.
Slaughterhouse ends up being telegraphed from the beginning, and by the time the cliffhanger ending came it wasn’t a surprise. I had high expectations coming in, but the end result was slightly less than mediocre. Slaughterhouse gets 2.5 rubber masks out of 5.