Trash Or Terror Tuesday: Slaughterhouse (1987)

It’s time for #TrashOrTerrorTuesday

…when I examine a film that’s been languishing in my personal library to determine if it is #Trash or #Terror

– or more importantly, if it deserves to stay in my collection.

And so, out from the dusty shelves of #VHS tapes comes…

Poster for Slaughterhouse (1987)Slaughterhouse (1987) by #RickRoessler

The owner of a slaughterhouse facing foreclosure instructs his obese and mentally disabled son to go on a killing spree against the people who want to buy his property.

“Buddy Has An Axe To Grind. A Big Axe.”

You’ll never get out in one piece!

#Horror #Slasher


Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge fan of slasher films, and that I have a huge collection on VHS, DVD and Blu-ray. At first, I only bought the movies that I particularly liked, but after a while it seemed like any slasher film made between 1978 and 1989 (or so) needed to be in my personal library. Slaughterhouse (1987) was not a movie that I had any particular fondness for, it was simply part of the genre. So, I picked up a VHS copy somewhere on my travels and it’s been sitting on my shelf ever since.

I regularly re-watch movies like The Prowler (1981),  Final Exam (1981), and My Bloody Valentine (1981) – sometimes I even screen them for others to show them off – but I don’t think I’ve re-watched Slaughterhouse since the very first time I popped it into the VCR back in the mid ’90s. The truth is I just never have the urge. So, with that in mind, I decided to put Slaughterhouse to the #TrashOrTerrorTuesday test…

Slaughterhouse is, in some ways, closer to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) than an ’80s slasher film. That’s not to say it’s as good as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (not even close), but it features a fat, “mentally disabled” killer (named Buddy Bacon!) who seems to be a second rate stand in for Gunner Hanson’s Leatherface. His father wants Buddy to kill the townspeople who are trying to take their property from them, but Buddy keeps killing innocent people by mistake (or maybe just because he likes it, I’m not sure). Slaughterhouse plays most of this for laughs – occasionally even getting one – but it’s never really scary or disturbing. It does have some decent gore, but no nudity, which is odd for an ’80s slasher film – or even a ’70s proto-slasher film. The story is okay, but features characters who are, for the most part, not very likeable – although they’re nowhere near as obnoxious as the characters in most modern slasher films.

So what’s the verdict?

I would have to say that Slaughterhouse (1987) is closer to #Trash than #Terror – but it’s not a fun kind of trashy #Trash.  It’s more like a very weak attempt at #Terror. If I was in the mood for an ’80s slasher film about a hulking, overweight backwoods killer, I’d be much more inclined to watch Just Before Dawn (1981). Slaughterhouse is not completely terrible, by any means. It’s just not quite good enough – or bad enough – to be worth multiple viewings. I’ve now seen it twice in 25 years, and I doubt that I will live long enough to get the urge to watch it again. I will be passing my VHS tape on to someone else who might want to watch it a little sooner.