Slaughterhouse (1987)

Directed by Rick Roessler [Other horror films: N/A]

When I first saw this one some years ago, I went away with a vaguely lukewarm feeling. I didn’t hate Slaughterhouse by any means, but I wanted more from it than I got. Watching it again after all that time, I’ve come to appreciate the movie a little bit more, and while I could have done without some of the more overt comedic influences, I generally found this an enjoyable slasher.

One thing I really thought they got right was the setting, a disused slaughterhouse, and the simple, yet effective, design of Buddy (the main antagonist) is pretty solid. Joe B. Barton is just a hulking monster in this, and that humongous cleaver he carries around with him was another good choice.

Hell, even the story is mildly interesting, as many of the killings are a form of revenge by a man about to be kicked out of his home. It’s just unfortunate that some teenagers got mixed up in it, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but hey, at least we got some pretty decent kills (slit throat, and other galores). They even did a close up of a fingertip being sliced open, which looked damn painful.

I don’t think Joe B. Barton is the end-all be-all as far as casting is concerned here. William Houck is decent as the concerned sheriff, Sherry Leigh a solid final girl. Jeff Wright was even okay at times. Don Barrett, who played Buddy’s father, was way over-the-top at various points throughout the film, but I also felt somewhat sympathetic to him. I thought perhaps he was one of the more compelling characters here.

The problem, though, is the creeping comedic influence into the movie. You can tell during the opening credits, as we’re shown the process of butchering a pig (to be honest, that was a solid beginning, so no complaints there), but overlaying the graphic imagery was a hideously upbeat number that never should have been released. Later in the film, there’s just a silly moment with Buddy pretending to be a cop, and it was that type of stuff that rubbed me the wrong way.

Despite sometimes be labeled a ‘black comedy’ though, a lot of this movie was decently solid, and gave me what I was looking for. Great setting, solid kills, a memorable antagonist, so it’s mostly a rewarding affair.

I do have to give a shout-out to the deathgrind band Mortician – I know that much of their music isn’t particularly well-loved, but it was their song based off this film that first introduced me to this, and while, like I said, I didn’t like it the first time around, I wasn’t really that displeased with the final product this time around.

7.5/10

Slaughterhouse is one of the films that has been covered on Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen to Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss this one below.

Author: Jiggy's Horror Corner

Fan of the horror genre, writer of mini-reviews, and lover of slashers.

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