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April 1, 2014

Movie Review: Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher (2014)

“Based on a true story.” Are you fucking kidding me?

Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher begins with a grandpa and his three grandkids during story time. He thinks The Bouncy Bunny is lame piece of shit and decides to tell the little half-pints the story of the Hillbilly Butcher. Because nothing says family bonding like sharing tales of murder, mayhem, and cannibalism with children under 10 years old.

Carl Henry Jessup grew up in the backwoods of...does it matter? It’s the backwoods. His parents owned a butcher shop and the local rumors swirling around told tales of long-pig being served up from that establishment. Grandpa says the meat was rather tasty but let’s skip over that part, and the granddaughter’s “what the fuck” face, and let us gentle viewers know that Carl’s parents were killed and he now basically lives like a hermit on the family land.

And let me tell you. He don’t like folk on his land. There are three things you need to know about Carl:
1. The law ends at his property line.
2. No hunting on his property.
3. No fucking on his property.


You’ve all probably already figured out that Carl continues his family butchering practices, and choice of meat. He seems frustrated with the state of the world today and he sure misses his folks something fierce. So he grabs a little box with a weird face on it, spills some of his own blood, and makes a deal with Bakoo (demon, natch) to bring back his dead parents. But it doesn’t seem to work so he just goes on about his daily life, hanging with his BFF, Billy Wayne, swigging moonshine from a jug, and musing about pussy and the powerful need for it.

Throughout the film, we see Carl take care of a few trespassers, though one woman ran too much so now she’ll taste too gamey. And here I thought Carl had a less discernible palate. Then there’s some random little girl, Jessie, whom I think is Bakoo’s PR rep or something. She blathers on about Carl’s bloodline being cursed and needing to bury stuff to save him or some such nonsense. Honestly I lost interest very early in this film.

Anyway, I guess Bakoo took Carl up on his deal: one soul for one set of dead parents, though I don’t remember seeing his parents show up except in pieces/parts hanging up in Carl’s hovel. Then Billy Wayne gets all rapey with Carl’s half-sister, Rae Lynn, and family secrets come to light and it all goes to hell in a hand basket.

Right off the bat we see that this film is manipulated to look and sound like one of those exploitation grindhouse movies from the 1970s. The visual is very grainy, like it was originally shot on old film or it’s an old VHS tape that’s worn out. I’m pretty sure they recorded the audio inside a Folgers can. Personally it gave me a fucking headache and I would rather have watched an original VHS exploitation film. It also made me think the producers (or whomever is in charge of the overall feel and look of a film) were trying WAAAAY to hard to remake Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Even the final wrap up runs a series of photographs with accompanying camera clicks is a TOTAL rip off.

Since the audio is so bad, the dialogue is sometimes difficult to hear while the music and sound effects are blaringly painful. Except for the hunter ‘taking a shit’ in the woods affects. Those were not painful, in the physical sense anyway.  And the original banjo music - are these people for real? I know some shit is a stereotype for a reason but that’s a little heavy handed, don’t you think?

The only time I felt emotionally engaged with any character is the attempted rape scene. Maybe it’s because I’m a girl but even potential rape makes me clench my kegels. And I appreciated Carl’s idea of revenge. Then when Rae Lynn worries about Billy Wayne disappearing, I stopped caring.

I know some people enjoy the homage film, which is exactly what this was because it’s neither new nor original. I, personally, find them mostly lazy and unimaginative.

1 Hatchet (out of 5)


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