Like Pigs – Slaughterhouse (1987)

Slaughterhouse is the story of two pig farms, one that has leaped far ahead in terms of success thanks to its reliance on mechanization while the other has closed and fallen into disrepair, its owner wanting to depend on the labour of men, clinging to the past which almost never ends well. Suffice it to say, the successful slaughterhouse wants to purchase the older one so that it might expand, yet those plans run aground when the old man’s mentally handicapped son starts killing innocent kids. Together the two make a plan to kill those who want to buy him out and what follows is a darkly mirthful tale where the only things that were slaughtered were men.

For those that might think this is a comedy, they would be sadly mistaken as this is a tale of horror through and through but there are moments of that which can be deemed black comedy and one can see why during the last half of the film when things really pick up. Most of that comes from the performance of Don Barrett who plays, of all people, Lester Bacon – another bit of humour on the part of writer/director Rick Roessler. Barrett does a great job as the man who feels betrayed by the system and really comes into his own when his character Lester and his son Buddy Bacon start to take out years of pent-up aggression out on those they used to call friends, as well as a good helping of teenagers. It is not all bits of absurdity though as there is quite a bit of blood spread throughout, almost all of it courtesy of Buddy who grunts and squeals like a pig, his faculties not all present and the giant cleaver he uses to dole out finality like so much wheat before the scythe.

The rest of the cast is able with William Houck as Sheriff Borden in addition to Sherry Leigh, Jeff Wright and Bill Brinsfield who do a good job of the material given them by Roessler and due to that, the film moves along at a good pace, never taxing the audience and their patience. Though it is not necessarily scary in any way shape or form, the horror that is present is gruesome and if there is anything that really turns the stomach, it is the thought of what happens to the pigs, part of which is shown during the first act of the movie.

When all is said and done, Slaughterhouse makes for a diverting experience, one that many will enjoy without trying to compare it to other similar films of the time, though that would be hard to do given its familiarity. Still worth a watch for those needing something to pass the time.

2.5 out of 5

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