Slaughterhouse (1987) Blu-ray review

slaughterhousecoverSlaughterhouse (1987) Blu-ray review

Director – Rick Roessler
Starring – Joe Barton, Don Barrett, Sherry Leigh

Run Time – 92 minutes
Label – 88 Films

This corpse-ridden classic introduces one of the screen s most memorable madmen in Buddy a cleaver-wielding backwoods baddie who, along with his father Lester, doesn’t take kindly to trespassers. Buddy was brought up killing and packing meat, but now his rage turns to teens and market-capitalists seeking to buy-out his dad’s property. – 88 Films

Slaughterhouse is a fun and gritty 80’s horror flick that is a fantastic edition to 88 Films Slasher Collection. While it is horror-by-the-numbers it does it well enough for any predictability to be overlooked as the movie doesn’t test the viewers patience.

The opening credits have a rather zany and cheery track playing as the viewer is shown footage of pigs being killed and chopped up in an actual slaughterhouse. This perverse moment of humour is no doubt the directors attempt to show what will happen to the characters once his feature has finished (they’ll be slaughtered, geddit?!). It’s safe to say that some viewers might find this unsettling.

Thankfully the movie never goes as dark as this again, as it settles into familiar stalk-and-slash genre territory. There are the usual excitable group of teens that are all stunningly good looking, the isolated building where they will meet their fate and plenty of other characters that crop up just to be killed. Director Rick Roessler does make efforts to flesh out some roles but then has them suddenly killed off just as their characters become interesting, making it seem rather pointless (Deputy Dave being an example). The one role that needed a backstory the most, the murderous Buddy, doesn’t really receive one.

Slaughterhouse3However, Slaughterhouse is undeniably a fun and entertaining slasher flick that Roessler inserts several graphic kills throughout his movie to please the gorehounds. The use of a slaughterhouse as a setting lends itself to numerous bloody deaths involving sharp implements.

Joe Barton, as the features husky set killer Buddy, is good in his role. He doesn’t have any lines to say, his character is so mentally underdeveloped Buddy just grunts and squeals like the pigs he is so used to butchering. For a heavy set actor Barton is able to be very quick and agile in the moments when Buddy jumps out on the preppy teens. Barton’s career in acting didn’t last too long after this, with his CV consisting of mainly one off appearances as minor characters in a few TV series.

The HD transfer is not too great, the print used shows its age despite the clean up attempt on it. Not that it matters too much, it lends the image a gritty feel that matches Slaughterhouses atmosphere.

Special features.

Interview with director Rick Roessler – This is a great extra, Roessler comes across as a warm and genuine man as he details why he made the movie and its release. He even shows some props from the movie and encourages anyone thinking of getting into film making to do it.

Interview with Jerry Encoe (producer) – Jerry is a little sedate and dull compared to the lively Roessler, but he does offer an insight into the distribution side of Slaughterhouse’s history.

Buddy Meets the Public – This is hand held camera footage of Joe Barton, aka Buddy, doing some unique publicity for the movie while he is in character. He is shown at university campuses and shopping malls, creating a scene every time. The highlight is Barton storming into a screening of Slaughterhouse at a random movie theatre, with patrons watching the movie appearing a little confused (one man even offers ‘Buddy’ his soda).

slaughterhouse2There are also trailers, a commentary with Rick and raw footage of the film being made, but the extras detailed above are the best of the lot.

This is, simply put, a fun slasher that is rounded off with some hugely rewarding special features.

8 out of 10.

James Simpson (@JsimpsonWriter)

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James Simpson

About James Simpson

A freelance writer and lover of movies, James is a long term contributor to UK Horror Scene. He has a regular feature on UKHS, World of Horror, as well as reviewing and interviewing when he can. He also writes for Gore Splattered Corner and Space Monsters Magazine. He has previously written for Scream Magazine and Zombie Hamster. Twitter: @JSimpsonWriter