Search the Cinema Head Cheese Archives!

May 6, 2017

Movie Review: Slaughterhouse (1987, Vinegar Syndrome)

Written and Directed by Rick Roessler

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Poor Lester Bacon (Don Barrett) has run his slaughterhouse the old school-way for 30 years and can’t catch a break. The people in his Podunk town and forcing him off his property, leaving him and his imbecilic son Buddy (Joe B. Barton) without a home or livelihood. Finding his son has a propensity for violence, Lester guides him to dispose of their adversaries – along with some bone-headed teenagers with little else to do than wear silly masks while hanging out at their decrepit abattoir. Lots of people get killed.

Slaughterhouse has a bit more on the ball than other late-to-the-party slashers, but that’s not saying much. The gory murders are all listlessly presented, and attempts to pad out the minimal story fall flat. Boasting better than average cinematography and attention to technical details, Slaughterhouse’s chief flaw lies in its antagonists. Barrett’s character is first introduced sympathetically, the small businessman being ground under by big government and regulations – the film lays on the theme of the plight of the everyman very thickly -- and then immediately turns around and makes him a slobbering monster. Barrett gets lots of juicy dialogue and he’s more than up to the task of delivering windy soliloquies, leaving victims to perish from boredom before they break out the butcher knives. Barton, as the sweaty, filthy Buddy is far too cherubic and jolly to be threatening. It’s nigh impossible to render him an iconic boogeyman being shown scenes of him cuddling with the family pigs. Slaughterhouse does earn points for daring to show real-time slaughterhouse operations in its opening credits to the accompaniment of jaunty music – not even the most fearless indie horror filmmaker would try that today. However, this former video store favorite is far more notorious for a barn dance scene with the aforementioned stupid teens dancing to very bad New Wave music – used to good effect on this Vinegar Syndrome release on various chapter stops.

The Vinegar Syndrome folks, in addition to a sparkling transfer, deliver Slaughterhouse with a plethora of extras!

There is an Audio Commentary with Director Rick Roessler, Producer Jerry Encoe and Production Designer Michael Scaglione. Lead Actress Sherry Berndorf Leigh chimes in with a video interview on how she was awarded the lead female role on her very first audition. Leigh enjoys an active career today as a movie and TV stuntwoman. Roessler, proud as punch over is debut feature regales us with production stories in “Making a Low Budget Indie," which at one point is awarded as subtitle that read “This is such BS!” – watch for it. Other features include, “Producing Slaughterhouse” an interview with Jerry Encoe.” There are also interviews with Roessler and Producer Jerry Encoe ported over from the 1999 DVD release. There is also the satirical short entitled “Epilogue: 30 Years After the Slaughter” that really should be a bit more funny than it actually is. There are vintage 1987 radio interviews, news coverage from the film's premiere, TV and radio spots, outtakes, more, more, more – along with reversible artwork.

Overall, Slaughterhouse is a generic, mediocre gore film that probably owes its fan base to nostalgic video store memories of the 1980’s. There are a lot better and a lot worse movies of its ilk out there – just fire up the Blu-Ray and have some salty snack at the ready and you’ll be just fine.

Follow Cinema Head Cheese:
Facebook: /cinemaheadcheese
Twitter: @CinHeadCheese
Instagram: abnormalpodcast 
Pinterest: /abnormalpodcast/cinema-head-cheese/
RSS Feed:

Cinema Head Cheese is sponsored by MoviePass. See unlimited movies at a theater near you for a low monthly rate.

You can support Cinema Head Cheese and Abnormal Entertainment on our Support Us page.

No comments:

Post a Comment