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Slaughterhouse

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    Ian Jane
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  • Slaughterhouse



    Released by: 88 Films
    Released on: February 27th, 2015.
    Director: Rick Roessler
    Cast: Joe B. Barton, Don Barrett, Sherry Leigh, Bill Brinsfield, Jason Collier, Dave Fogel, Jeff Grossi
    Year: 1987
    Purchase From Diabolik DVD

    The Movie:

    Shot for roughly $1100,000.00, Slaughterhouse (also known as Bacon Bits, which is a much cooler title in this writer's opinion) is a testament to the no budget school of horror movie making, where all you need is a camera, some friends, and a bit of fake blood to make it work.

    Borrowing more than a few ideas from Tobe Hooper's classic Texas Chainsaw Massacre and throwing in elements from Motel Hell, Slaughterhouse is the story of a strange reclusive old man named Lester Bacon (Don Barrett) and his idiot son Buddy (Joe B. Barton). Together these two men run a slaughterhouse that has seen better days. In fact, this place has recently been condemned and put up for sale by the county. It seems that old Lester has had a problem keeping his taxes paid up for the last few years.

    Anyway, to make things worse, idiot son Buddy has killed a couple of horny teenagers that he found down by the river one night. He's even gone so far as to put them on meat hooks in the cold locker. Lester finds their corpses and rather than scold Buddy or call the police, he tells him that he shouldn't have killed those kids… he should have killed the Sheriff, the lawyer and the man who runs the competing slaughterhouse instead. The family that slays together, stays together, right? Predictably, Buddy becomes inspired and decides that, yeah, this is a pretty good idea. From there he proceeds to do just that what his dad suggested. The old man makes a few phone calls to arrange for said victims to arrive at the old building for Buddy to do his work and we're off.

    But wait, there's more! More horny teenagers, that is. These guys and gals are lurking about making their own horror movie using the same property. After getting some footage they dare one another to spend an hour in the slaughterhouse after dark. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who is skulking about there, wielding a giant cleaver and looking to kill whatever he can kill…

    Sounds like a cool idea for a slasher, doesn't it? And it is, for the most part. Slaughterhouse does try too hard to be funny at times where you want it to be scary and it tries too hard to be scary at times when you might want it to be funny but the movie is nothing if not entertaining. Buddy keeps making constant pig snort and squeal noises, which doesn't really endear him to us very much, because it's annoying, but there are moments here where the filmmakers make it quite clear that he's not quite all there and very much a product of his environment. He treats the pigs at the farm like most would treat their dogs and he's obviously very loyal to his father, the only family it seems he has in this world. The characters who aren't Buddy or Lester are essentially just slaughter-fodder but we get to appreciate the quirkiness of the two leads enough that, annoying pig noises or not, we kind of want to see how this all plays out. Joe B. Barton plays his role well, grunting and squealing and throwing his considerable weight about in a big way to make Buddy an intimidating character. Don Barrett, however, is much more interesting as he plays the salty old coot perfectly. He's got some gravel in his gut and some spit in his eye, the type of stubborn old man who'd be right at home kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer. He's got that tough old white trash guy vibe to him and it's a kick to watch Barrett bring this character to life.

    If the movie had stayed away from the comedy and focused more on the moments of atmosphere that it was able to achieve (there are some genuinely creepy spots here and there), it would have been a lot more successful as a horror film. The slaughterhouse location is absolutely perfect - it's sordid and sleazy and rundown and just flat out dirty looking. The camerawork, as gritty and sometimes very dark as it is, captures this nicely and does a fine job of using shadow and light in a few scenes to create some genuinely atmospheric scenes. If you're an aficionado of 80s slasher films, particularly the low budget ones, Slaughterhouse will probably be right up your alley. It's filled with enough gore scenes and goofy one dimensional characters that it's hard not to at least appreciate it as a guilty pleasure if not a genuine horror classic.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Slaughterhouse arrives on Blu-ray from the UK's 88 Films in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition widescreen transfer framed at 1.85.1 widescreen. The framing here looks good and detail and texture are nicely improved over the previous fullframe US DVD release. Having said that, this is a low budget picture that takes place primarily in the nighttime so don't expect the most colorful or vibrant looking film you've ever seen. BUT… Slaughterhouse looks like Slaughterhouse here, and that's a good thing. We get the increase in detail, texture and color reproduction we'd want out of a Blu-ray but not at the cost of the film's grubby, gritty, low-budget feel. Expect minor print damage in the form of white specks and heavy grain throughout. There's no really major print damage at all, and black levels are solid. Shadow detail won't floor you but some of the dark scenes in this movie have always looked really dark -thankfully there are no issues with crush or compression artifacts.

    The only audio option for the feature is an LPCM track in English, there are no alternate language or subtitle options provided. The audio quality is decent enough, but the low budget nature of the movie is obvious here as the mix is a bit flat - it sounded that way on the previous DVD release too, so this won't surprise or upset fans of the picture. Aside from that, dialogue is perfectly easy to understand and there aren't any problems with hiss or distortion. Is this a fancy mix? No, not at all, but it suits the movie just fine and sounds like a pretty accurate representation of the source material.

    Extras start off with a commentary track from wirter/director Rick Roessler and producer Jerry Encoe. It's basically a scene specific walk through of the history of the movie, as it talks about the locations used, the casting of the picture, and the slaughterhouse set as well. They talk about how they used different cameras for the handheld footage, shooting it silently and adding the sound effects later, and they make some observations about the lighting and camerawork featured in the movie. They note how Buddy's hair changes in length in the movie, how and when to use a turkey-baster in a horror film, the type of cleaver Buddy uses in the film, how to make it look like you're slamming a guy's hand in a door without really doing that, casting family and friends in the dance scene, how the finger slicing scene was done and quite a bit more.

    Roessler also shows up in a video interview that runs about fifteen minutes in length. Here he talks about his screenwriting career, where he got the inspiration for Slaughterhouse and how he wanted to 'break in' with a horror movie. He then talks about what he tried to do with the story to make the movie stand out from the rest of the slasher movie pack. From there he talks about what went into getting the movie made, casting the picture, shooting and editing the film, going back for pickups to shoot scenes to give Buddy a bit more personality and more. This covers some of the same ground as the commentary but it's a fun watch and Roessler proves here more than once that he's got a pretty good sense of humor.

    Jerry Encoe pops up next, for an interview that lasts just over ten minutes. He talks about how he and Roessler got their start together doing training films in the navy and decided to then collaborate on a feature. Horror, low budget horror in particular, was big at the time and from there they created Slaughterhouse on a limited budget of $110,000.00. From there he talks about getting the most out of 'a very professional crew' over the twenty-one day shooting schedule, reception to the initial trailer and how it sold the film in foreign territories and complete the film, the film's sound mix and other interesting little bits of trivia related to the movie. Encoe is a lot more talkative here than in the commentary, which makes this worth checking out for sure.

    The disc also includes eleven minute of raw on-set footage shot on a camcorder presented here with time code over top. It's essentially an outtake reel, complete with clapboard sounds in the background and people laughing off camera. Interesting and amusing to see.

    But the highlight of the extra features is some absolutely bizarre footage of Joe B. Barton in his full-on Buddy persona out promoting the film in a bit called Buddy Meets The Public. This twenty-five minute section is highlighted by some hilarious footage of him all dressed up and running around various locations in character. He appears on the street, in the theater - all over the place, meeting and greeting and signing autographs for people and posing for pictures too. Noticeably confused patrons look on not sure what to think. It's really strange footage to say the least, but it's interesting none the less and was for me the highlight of the disc.

    Rounding out the extras are a trailer for the feature, a few TV spots, and an amusing No Smoking Trailer featuring the two main characters from the film. There's also a bonus trailer reel containing spots for Puppet Master, The Pit And The Pendulum, Demonic Toys, Bloody Birthday, Two Moon Junction, Doll Man, Bloodsucking Freaks, Puppet Master II, Puppet Master III, Tourist Trap and Castle Freak. Animated menus and chapter selection are also included.

    The Final Word:

    Slaughterhouse gets a pretty damn solid Blu-ray release from 88 Films that presents the movie in very nice condition, with fine audio and with a pretty impressive array of supplements. The movie is hard to take seriously, but then it's not meant to be. If you like your slasher movies gritty, low budget and with healthy doses of screwy humor, this'll be just what the doctor ordered.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!



































    • VinceP
      #1
      VinceP
      yabba man
      VinceP commented
      Editing a comment
      I caught this on Shudder the other night. Seems like the same transfer. Does this have the new end credit sequence with the death metal song playing over it? I'm assuming the original credit sequences could not be located. Really takes you out of the 80's vibe.
    Posting comments is disabled.

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