You might not be familiar with the term 'Z-Movie,' but if you grew up in the 90's, chances are you've seen one. They're the beyond-low-budget monstrosities that teased you from the walls of the mom-and-pop video store. Usually, the films themselves could never live up to the pictures on the videotape boxes (because this was way before your fancy 'Digital Video Discs' and 'Blu-Rays') but occasionally you'd find something truly unique. 'WEIRDO FLICKS' will clue you into some movies which 'unique' doesn't even begin to describe...
'Slaughterhouse' - 1987, Directed by Rick Roessler
In the 80's, pretty much EVERYBODY was making teen slasher flicks. No matter what kind of garbage you came up with, it went without saying that you could sell it to some video distributor and see your work in video stores across the country in a matter of weeks. While nowadays there are huge cults surrounding films like 'Sleepaway Camp' and 'Nightmare on Elm Street,' other flicks like Rick Roessler's 'Slaughterhouse' simply got lost in the shuffle. It's a shame, too, because this is just as great as stuff like 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre.'
Looking over Mr. Roessler's IMDB page, it appears as though he did this little film and nothing else. Maybe the movie industry didn't pay off as well as he was hoping? Who knows. Luckily, if you're internet-savvy enough, you can still see his magnum opus about a mentally handicapped fat guy named Buddy who goes on a killing rampage to save his dad's slaughterhouse from being bought out.
Of course, with a plot like that, how could you go wrong? Lester Bacon's family-run slaughterhouse is about to get bought out by some corporate fatcats, and while he's too old to do much about it, his son is a deranged maniac with a brand new meat cleaver he got for his birthday(!). And, while Lester doesn't necessarily ENCOURAGE Buddy's actions, he certainly doesn't try to stop him throughout the films duration. Even when Buddy gets bored of hacking up the old business guys responsible for the slaughterhouse's demise and starts tormenting teenagers at a local dance.
He even kills a cop, then steals the cops clothes, which are about 20 sizes too small for him. This results in plenty of hilarity. There are also the obligatory drunk teenagers who stumble onto the Bacon family's property and get hacked to pieces.
The production values on this film are relatively high considering the garbage I usually review here, and it has that perfectly hazy, neon-lighting look that makes 80's by-the-book slashers so much better than the ones today. The canned dialog and soundtrack of 'hard rock' amp up the unintentional humor factor as well.
To be fair, though, there is a fair amount of INTENTIONAL humor in this slimy flick. The over-the-top 'redneck' characters are great, and the stupidity of the teens allows you to root for Buddy every time he hacks one of them to bits. Also of note, the actor who plays Buddy had a bit role in 'Blood Diner,' another terrific piece of 80's horror garbage I've been meaning to review here.
So, if you're like me and want to take a trip back to the days before CGI and horror flicks that push all the easy buttons, get some buddies together, put 'Slaughterhouse' on, and have a good time.
VHS photo by Toby Hudson.