Ugly. Ugly, ugly, ugly. This is the best way I can think of to describe this film. Oh, not to mention dirty and smelly. A few years ago John Waters made a film complete with a scratch and sniff sheet. The idea was that when something happened onscreen, you would scratch the tab to coincide with the even on screen. I can only be thankful that was not a feature to this film.

The film takes place in a rural desert town where the main source of income seems to be a local pig slaughterhouse. In the town we have two battling slaughterhouses. One being the run-down, out of date Bacon slaughterhouse run by a crazy old man and his, um, really big, weird, slow, smelly son named Buddy. The other slaughterhouse is kept off-screen, except for the opening credits. Quick word on these opening credits: to those of you who have a problem with real animal killings, AVOID!!! Have any of you wondered what a real slaughterhouse is like? Wonder no more, here it is!

Anyhow, this other slaughterhouse wants to buy out the Bacon house and update it and turn it into a decent business. But old man Bacon doesn't see it this way. In a wonderful scene, Mr. Bacon argues with the purchaser, a lawyer (damn lawyers are always starting trouble!), and the local sheriff (damn local sheriffs are always starting trouble!). This scene plays out like two groups fighting over world politics. You really need to see the film for this scene alone! Wonderful stuff of the "campy" sort.

Well, the Bacon boys (Kevin has no part of this by the way) decide they need to do something about this stuff. Guess what the answer they decide upon is? Think about it. That's right, they decide to get into the business of human slaughter! See, this is a horror/slasher film.

I really don't know what to think of this film. Like I said though, this is an ugly picture. The whole thing is dirty. The film looks dirty. The people look dirty. I mean, Buddy even sits in a pig pen cuddling the pigs! Then we find out in the interview on the disc that the actor really did sit in the pig piss and shit for the scene! They offered to lay down cardboard and stuff for him to sit on, but no, he wanted to sit in the actual stuff! Uuuuuhhhh. Yuck.

The script itself is kind of fun. I have heard worse dialogue, but this film does have a few really bad lines. The acting is about what you would expect from a low budget film from the late 80's. Though the character named Annie is a bit of a shinning spot in this film, and believe it or not, she is the one in the film who went on to actually do the most stuff. Though, none of it very well known.

The make-up is minimal. It ranges from the real stuff (the opening), to the real grime (pig shit on Buddy), to fake blood flying everywhere, to some ground up meat in a slightly gross scene. But otherwise it is all attitude that makes you pause on this film. It has an ugly attitude about it. You can tell the movie wants to be one of the meanest films around. Right down to the ending.

This is another film that gets such a whopping presentation on DVD that you can't help but look at the big studios with a bit of contempt. I mean, who the hell is excited about the special edition of "Slaughterhouse" in this world? I would guess not that many people, but I would bet thousands upon thousands of people want an edition of "Friday The 13th" on par with this DVD. I think the folks at Paramount should pick this thing up for some pointers!

The main extras are all here: commentary, trailers, behind-the-scenes stuff, interviews, just to name a few. Then we get all of the other stuff! I think that since this was the director's first film he saved every thing there was to save, than brought it along for this DVD. He also documented every part of this films release. All of these extras shed a bit of fresh light on this film and actually make you like it just a little bit more than you would if you only saw the movie. In other words, the supplementals work just like they should! This is why I say I don't really know what to think of this film. The bells and whistles distort the vision.

I am curious about the presentation of the film. It is brought to us in a full frame version. Later, in the supplementals it is shown on the screen in a movie theatre. Now, it is hard to tell the films true ratio. Due to the budget that this film must have had, I would be willing to bet that this was shot to be matted in a theatrical release. All of the framing does look correct.

There are two interviews on the DVD. If most of you are like me you will probably watch these before the commentary track. Quite a bit of the same information is covered in the interviews and the commentary tracks. Though the interviews do give you more in depth on the whole creation and preparation of all the aspects of the film. Director Rick Roessler really does seem to love his creation here, so it is nice to see it get decent treatment.

The commentary track will open the film up to you a bit more. The track is almost always lively, though there are a few points where our commentators seem to forget that they are being recorded and a few minutes will pass with nothing said. The track features the director, producer and the production designer. Numerous areas are covered that are discussed in the interviews on the DVD, but they are made interesting again by the three men talking about them with fond memories. The odd things with this track are that we are given the commentary on the right side of our speakers and the mono soundtrack is on the left side. Plus since all of the commentary is on the right side, we lose some of the discussion due to the levels being too low. Then all through the movie we get a line written along the bottom of our screen telling us that we are listening to the commentary track and that the left side is the mono track and the right side is the commentary track! Must say, this is a new feature to me!

Picture quality is a bit on the rough side at times. A few of the dark scenes carry a bit of a gray tone to them and have a bit of grain to them. Whenever you have actual colors on screen, they are almost always earth tones, so it is a bit hard to get a grip on color here. These old 80's low budget films are a bit hard to judge. You never know if the picture is due to shoddy mastering or if it is just from a low budget. I would have to bet that this is the best this film has ever looked. The picture is never "bad", but it is never "breathtaking" either.

The sound is good. Though on the back the DVD does claim to have "Ultra-Stereo Surround Sound". Mr. Roessler does mention in the end of the commentary track that this was a feature when it played in theaters. If this is true, then it really shows how the times have changed. Not much projects to the rear channels and it is far from a lively surround track. Though, just a few nights later I got my copy of the "Men In Black" DVD and that may have distorted my views. But all in all, the sound is fine. No real need to gripe.

To wrap this up, this is a very nice presentation for a mediocre film. The film itself has its redeeming qualities, but is a very smelly looking picture. If you are a fan of this film, you need this DVD! If you have never seen it it is full of extras and I would recommend it if you need a DVD and have nothing else to buy. It is more fun than a few other films I have seen recently. I will tell you what I want though. I want this crew of filmmakers to be given a nice budget and a really good script. The camera work in this film really is just short of brilliant (thank you to the commentary track for pointing out a few things I did not notice) and I do believe these guys could do a really good Horror film. I also want to see this DVD company, Program Power, get hold of some titles that we are all looking for. They show that they do want to do a great job with the films, now lets get the great films!

Directed by Rick Roessler
Released by Program Power
Region '0' NTSC - Rated R
Ratio - fullscreen
Running time : approx 88 mins approx
Extras :
Audio commentary with Rick Roessler, Jerry Encoe & Mike Scaglione
'The Making of Slaughterhouse' featurette
'Financing and Distribution of Independent Horror films' featurette
Large selection of Promos, Trailers & TV Spots
'Buddy Tours Georgetown University' hidden camera featurette
'Buddy goes to Washington' hidden camera featurette
A massive library of DVD Rom features including Screenplay, Contracts, Ad campaign materials and loads more !
Reviewed by Carl R Isonhart