APRIL 3, 2011
The worst thing about watching something as wholly wretched as The Slaughterhouse Massacre at home is that my TV is flanked by my DVD rack of non-horror (read: never/hardly ever watched) movies and my Xbox games, many of which are unfinished, some still in their shrink-wrap. At least if I'm stuck at work, I can shrug and say "What else am I going to do? Clean my desk?", but at home it's borderline soul-crushing - I've long since passed the point where I can at least laugh at amateurish nonsense like this.
Things go awry right off the bat, with the obligatory opening scene couple going to mess around on the floor of a slaughterhouse. The dude has piercings, so I guess we're supposed to think they are goth and edgy and thus it makes total sense that they'd be turned on by getting busy on the filthy/dried-bloody floor of a slaughterhouse, but I don't care if you're Marilyn Manson, this is just plain idiotic. That neither of the two can convincingly deliver a line and the photography is barely better than a Youtube video shot with the world's tiniest camera phone is the least of its problems.
Then we get back to back pointless scenes, one in a classroom featuring the most overacting extras in film history (they all groan in unison when the teacher tells them they have a paper due - they're in their final year of high school, shouldn't they be used to this by now?). The other is an overlong "party" scene in which a bunch of folks stand around muttering, two topless girls sort of lightly hug each other but never actually even kiss let alone do anything explicit, and we meet our five protagonists, none of whom are likable in the slightest. And of course, they have to have some drama, so there's cheating and a hinted at "secret" involved. Hey, remind me - which of the characters in Halloween was cheating on her boyfriend? Who in Friday the 13th hated one of the others? Oh right, NO ONE. Back in the day, slasher filmmakers not only made characters that we would like, but also ones that actually liked each other. Nowadays, all we get is a bunch of assholes who seemingly have no reason to remain friends.
Anyway, they of course get the bright idea to go to the slaughterhouse (though seemingly not to fuck, thankfully), and to give you an idea of both the extent of this movie's creativity and how it likes to pad things, the address is "13666" (whatever street) - a simple "666" won't suffice, we need to add the unlucky "13" to the mix for extra scariness! And then one of them starts saying the numbers. "13600... 13602..." I was afraid they would go all 33 even numbers, but to give the movie credit they move along. But not to the point we care about (people dying); that doesn't start to happen until the 50 minute mark or so. Now, I'd be a hypocrite if I said that this was far too long to wait, because Halloween takes that long to get to its first death (Annie's). The difference is, we had a lot of scenes devoted to making Annie, Laurie, and Lynda sympathetic and likable, not to mention a lot of great suspense/scare scenes, like when Michael was following them home from school. This movie offers none of that; it's just a bunch of assholes walking around scaring each other and wasting time until Marty Sickle shows up.
Oh, yeah, the killer's name is Marty Sickle. Again - the best horror killers didn't have weapons for names: Harry Warden, Michael Myers, Fred Krueger, etc - normal(ish) names that became iconic due to them being used in legitimately good movies. You think Jason Machete or Freddy Fingerblades would be huge franchise players? No, because that sounds stupid. And almost as if to further infuriate any intelligent audience member, Sickle is played by writer/director/editor/producer Paul Gagné, and the nice thing about someone taking on so many roles is that there is literally no one else to blame for the movie's failure. So, thanks for that, Mr. Gagné. Hilariously, when I checked his resume on IMDb to make sure I never accidentally watched one of his movies again, I found that he had directed tow more since this; one of which has an even LOWER IMDb rating, and another from 2009 that seemingly still hasn't been released.
And you'd think the killer showing up would improve things, but alas. Slaughterhouse Massacre may not be the worst film I've ever seen (those sort of things need to simmer in my brain for a while - get back to me in a few months), but it certainly has the clunkiest and most laughable action. Throughout the film Gagné had been filming nearly all conversation scenes in awkwardly blocked master shots, rather than employ something as dangerous and complicated as a closeup, and he continues this approach with the action bits. In my favorite example, our hero sort of slides a piece of meat across the floor towards Sickle, which actually holds him back (I couldn't find the trailer, so the clip is below! Skip to about :37 for the magic). That we watch all of this in one hand-held shot makes it all the more terrible, because no one is skilled enough an actor to actually do anything like act, so as the camera pans back and forth you're always catching a few seconds of these thespians waiting for their cue. There's another bit later where the hero announces "we have to keep moving!" and then instantly pauses to poke around on a table (I assume looking for a weapon - it's the same room as the previous example so why he didn't just get that amazing piece of meat is beyond me). Marty Sickle of course takes advantage of the situation and strikes, and since we're once again in a master shot, the two female actresses literally stand inches away not doing a goddamn thing as their friend faces certain death, as if they weren't aware they were even on camera.
Oh, and then the icing on this most woeful of cakes, the movie drags on interminably after the boyfriend dies, leaving just our heroine alive... or so we think. Suddenly, Gagné introduces a cop character and brings back a stoner friend who disappeared a while back (the type of guy you assume our heroine would find dead - it's the rare case where I was hoping for an off-screen kill), and then they do the slasher movie thing (walking around slowly, calling out "hello", etc) even though the movie should be over. Our heroine gets half-naked in the most ridiculous example of the concept since Deep Blue Sea, finds one of her dead friends bizarrely hanging via CGI effects (it's so close to his face that they could have just had him stand on a table with a rope around his neck, but it's clearly the work of CGI and compositing for some reason), and finally Sickle is beheaded via more terrible/awkward After Effects magic. Then we get the ugliest end credits I've ever seen, complete with a typo or two ("technition") and random words spelled in all caps or centered differently than the others, and then, mercifully, the one saving grace in the movie, it ends prior to any copyright information, thus not only keeping the movie from being another 15-20 seconds longer, but also allowing us to copy the film for our own use, I guess.
Now, you may have noticed that this review is more of a plot summary than I usually provide. That is to prove that I indeed kept watching the entire thing. As much as those Xbox games taunted me from the corner of my eye, I stuck with The Slaughterhouse Massacre until the bitter, awful, shockingly boring end. I take my Horror Movie A Day-ing very seriously (despite how easily some of you fell for my April Fool's joke, yeesh guys). Never give up, never surrender!
What say you?