Slaughterhouse Blu-ray Review
Written by Joel Harley
Blu-ray released by 88 Films
Written and directed by Rick Roessler
1987, Region B, 85 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
Blu-ray released on 23rd February 2015
Joe B. Barton as Buddy Bacon
Don Barrett as Lester Bacon
Sherry Leigh as Liz Borden
Bill Brinsfield as Tom Sanford
Jason Collier as Ronnie
Dave Fogel as Disc Jockey
When the local government conspires to put his titular slaughterhouse out of business, friendly neighbourhood butcher Lester Bacon (really) doesn't take too kindly to the news, setting his enormous, childlike yet thoroughly dangerous son Buddy upon those he deems responsible. It's all a bit like that terrible Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake prequel, except it has the excuse of the late 1980s for its being somewhat rubbish.
Bundled in with Don't Go In the Woods... Alone and Mother's Day as part of 88 Films' slasher collection, I had expected great things from Slaughterhouse, loving the former two as I did. Alas, it looks as though I watched the collection in the wrong order, unwittingly saving the most disappointing until last - this late eighties slasher lacks the sense of character the rest of the collection has in spades, being a mostly tepid affair, lacking in the scares, gore or wit one might have hoped for. It starts out well with an enjoyably jaunty credits sequence (not one for vegetarians or the squeamish) but quickly settles down into its predictable, clichéd story, barely pausing for the rest of its running time.
Lester's vendetta with his peers doesn't bode well for the local youth contingent, partying on his foreclosed property. While his son's murdering of the kids wasn't necessarily part of the plan, he soon gets into the spirit of things in a manner Drayton Sawyer himself would have been proud of (including a finger-slitting moment very reminiscent of Tobe Hooper's Chain Saw Massacre). Otherwise, however, the film has much more in common with cult classic Motel Hell than it does, you know, the genuine cult classic. There's the same kooky characterisation, a not entirely successful sense of humour and plenty of passable action. But where Motel Hell pulls it off with charm, a chainsaw and a pig's head, Slaughterhouse is clunky and ill-judged in its tone and pace.
Aficionados of 80s slasher horror should have a relatively fine time with Slaughterhouse, but this is no lost classic – even judged on its own retro standards, it's by-the-numbers and predictable, lacking in scares or a sense of fun.
Video and Audio:
As with the rest of 88 Films' slasher collection, the film looks better than it has in years, its bright colours impressing in snazzy HD, master scanned from the original negative by director Rick Roessler. It sounds fine too, if a little unmemorable.
The many extras include a making of documentary, deleted scenes (you're not missing much), an audio commentary and an entertaining pair of featurettes in which Buddy goes on tour in a series of hidden camera skits. It comes neatly wrapped up in a reversible sleeve with an accompanying booklet by Calum Waddell.