Makin’ Bacon in the ‘Slaughterhouse’

If you need proof of predestination, look no further than Slaughterhouse (1987). It’s the tale of a down-on-his-luck old man with the surname Bacon and his hulking pig-squealing son who are, surprise, in the bacon making business. Well, they were until they lagged behind the times by refusing to mechanize and were forced to board up shop. Now they’re in over their heads in debt to the bank and have 30 days to get off the property.

Understandably, Mr. Bacon is pretty bummed out and after making one last stand against the local authorities, he discovers a more permanent solution to his problem: send your pig-cuddling screws half-loose meat cleaver-wielding boy on a killing spree.  Of course, if you don’t have a pig-cuddling screws half-loose meat cleaver-wielding boy you’d probably be forced to comply with the mandate, but not Mr. Bacon. See, this is a slasher flick. Compliance is no option. You have to figure out how to assign a flimsy motive to murder real quick and get with the head-lopping.

The lighting and cinematography are actually rather impressive for a flick with a budget smaller than both Halloween and Friday the 13th. The acting’s not half bad either and we know that’s rather unusual for an obscure late 1980s horror picture.

As close as I can figure, Slaughterhouse isn’t more well-known only because it arrived toward the end of the fatigued 1980s slasher boom and had but a very limited theatrical release. Which of course meant no one discovered the movie until they accidentally stumbled upon the big box VHS at their local video rental. It’s well worth a rediscovering now.

There’s only 1 “stupid moment.” If you’re not too sure what constitutes a stupid moment, let me enlighten you. It’s the moment in just about every slasher flick where you find yourself yelling at the screen because an impending victim does something so incomprehensibly stupid, you want to take the meat cleaver from the killer and get the job done yourself. In this one, a girl gets out of her car, walks 10 feet, sees the killer, and runs back to her car. Logic would follow that she’d lock the door, which she does, and then drive away. Which she doesn’t. She waits for the murderer to smash in the windows with a big rock then crawls out of the passenger side door and runs into an inescapable deathtrap tailor-made for the killer. She was just driving the car three seconds ago! What the hell happened to her keys? Oh, and was Michael Bay and Sheldon Turner watching this flick when they wrote the script to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning? You’ll see what I mean when you get to the final act.

Enough of my babbling. 3 out of 4 stars. Make a BLT, flip this on, and watch the Bacons make some serious bacon.


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