THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE MASSACRE
Directed by Paul Gagne
Produced by Paul Gagne & Dave Casper
Written by Paul Gagne
Director of Photograpy Paolo Cascio
Music by Nick Flint & Robert Greiert
Cast: Paul Cagney, Shaila Vaidya, Maurizo Farhad, Stacey Denson & Vaedynn Orlando
2005/90 mins/Color/Dolby Stereo
1.85:1/English/USA/NTSC Region 1
Review from the Lions Gate Home Entertainment DVD
On "Mystery Science Theater 3000", the guys make a lot of jokes about what is happening in the movies that they watch, typically pointing out humorous costumes or actions. But, I also like it when they comment on the filmmaking style (or lack thereof) of the film they are viewing. My favorite crack is "Just because you can edit, doesn't mean you should edit." (Unfortunately, I can't remember which episode this quote is from.) This became my mantra while watching THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE MASSACRE, a home-grown horror mess which contains more pointless shots than a JV basketball game.
As the film opens, we are treated to a surprisingly graphic sex scene in which a couple get it on in an abandoned slaughterhouse. (Apparently, death excites her...yep, this movie was written by a guy.) The action (?!) then suddenly leaps ahead 12 years to "Dallas College". There, we meet Stacey (Shaila Vaidya), Justin (Maurizio Farhad), Tina (Stacey Denson), and Bobby (Vaedynn Orlando). While attending a party (which contains another R-rated envelope pushing sex scene), the group hears the legend of Marty Sickle, a slaughterhouse employee who was killed by an angry mob (for some vague crime) and whose body was never found. Also, apparently after he was killed, but before he disappeared, he encountered the couple from the opening scene...who killed him again. (Don't ask me, I didn't make the movie.) Supposedly, if one goes to the slaughterhouse and says a certain rhyme, Marty Sickle will appear.
Following this, Justin decides that it would be a great idea for Bobby and he to take the girls to the slaughterhouse for a scare. (Who says romance is dead?) They enlist their stoner friend Stoner (Jacob Baily) to meet them at the slaughterhouse to help with the frightening. After driving 30 miles (?!) to the slaughterhouse, Justin and Bobby lead Tina and Stacey through the abandoned abattoir, but they don't seem to be alone.
I'm a realist. When I watch a low-budget horror film, I'm not expecting perfection. However, many small fright films have proven in the past that it is possible to achieve a highly-polished look. I'm also expecting to at least be entertained, and maybe even shocked, as independent films have the freedom to go for broke. I got none of these things from THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE MASSACRE, which is one of the worst movies that I've seen in quite some time.
First of all, we have the problems with the story. I've long since ceased expecting anything new and different from movies of this nature, but there is nothing original in THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE MASSACRE. It borrows liberally from the likes of TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and CANDYMAN, with a liberal dose of every drunken teenager movie ever made. The film's real problem is its lack of story. Once the kids reach the slaughterhouse, they simply wander in the dark for a long time, and then run around screaming. There's a scene near the beginning where a professor threatens to flunk Justin and Bobby...which is never referenced again. To say that this is a one-note film would be an over-statement.
The utter lack of plot would be excusable if the movie had dynamic pacing or some cool camera work. But, THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE MASSACRE fails in nearly ever technical aspect. As noted above, the editing in the film is awful, and EVERY shot cuts away to another shot for no apparent reason. There are constant cuts to a clock, or a rat, or my favorite, a blurry shot of a guy dancing at the party. At least two shots are shown twice, as if the editor forgot that he'd used them before. During the opening scene, dry ice fog billows into the camera, leading one to believe that the set is on fire. The dialogue is often muffled and during one scene, it seemed as if only one microphone was available, so the other actor simply shouted hoping that their dialogue would be heard. The acting is incredibly stiff and the sets are dull, with the "slaughterhouse" being one room with a couple of meathooks in it. Earlier I mentioned "Mystery Science Theater 3000". If that show were still on the air, THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE MASSACRE would be the perfect fodder for it.
THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE MASSACRE wanders onto DVD courtesy of Lions Gate Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1, but the transfer is not anamorphic. The DVD box art describes this as "4:3 Letterbox", which can be confusing. The movie was shot on high-end digital video, and the transfer looks OK, as it shows no grain or defects from the source material. The image is sharp and clear, but overly bright at time, as the "dark" scenes never really look that dark. Also, there are some shots where video noise appears around light sources. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital stereo audio track which pumps out an appreciable amount of bass for a stereo track. There are also some nice stereo effects. But this clarity of the track can't hide the muffled dialogue or tinny sounding music. The only extra on the DVD is a trailer for the movie.
This Film Features:
Review by Mike Long. All Right Reserved. 2005. ©