Rick Roessler’s Slaughterhouse (1987) told the tender tale of the Bacon family; the two man team of elderly father Lester, facing the loss of the land both his home and old slaughterhouse reside on, and his big, brainless son Buddy who is directed to kill those who cause them upset and opposition.
A movie with a lot of pigs on its mind – from the pigs on the farm, to the naturally pig-faced killer and indeed the 80’s-spawned pig-headed victims – Slaughterhouse was a late entry in the slasher sweepstakes. Featuring a hulking villain, and a heaping of humor, the movie was in keeping with the new rules of the subgenre as established by two 1986 game changers, Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) and Tom McLoughlin’s Friday The 13th Part 6: Jason Lives.
Jump forward to 1999 just when the internet was gaining a foothold on information distribution, but still in early enough days that it wasn’t possible to source the existence of obscure movies the way we can now. Taking text on a screen at face value was put to the test when a writer by the name of Jake Semmler wrote a retrospective/review of sLaughterhouse 2 (case-reversed S/L intended) which was published on the very-90’s website ArtyFarty Internet Arts Magazine, and included poster artwork.
“You’ll die laughing…all over again”
– sLaughterhouse II tagline
“Every memorable horror movie needs a strong antagonist. sLaughter House’s Pigsby Malone delivers, again. Uglier than Freddy Krueger, more sadistic than Jason Voorhees, weirder that Norman Bates not to mention far more humourous than the Crypt Keeper, Pigsby is on a seperate pedestal entirely so far as villains are concerned.
In this outrageous sequel to The sLaughter House, the former ‘Laughter House Clown Training Institute’ opens again for ‘business’. For those who came in late, Pigsby was the ClownMaster before a Satan-inspired nuclear accident rendered him and his trainees into horrible mutants who try to entertain to death any foolish humans who came near the sLaughterhouse. As in the first movie, Pigsby and his mindless minions again dollop out their special brand of shock entertainment to the unwitting victims; a bunch of airhead teenagers in search of a makeout nest.
You want decapitations? You got’em! Blood splattering everywhere? Like mist! Impalements? Plenty for all! Convulsing organs wrenched prematurely from a ‘volunteer, spasmodically squirting pustuous bile, in the magic show to end all magic shows? You won’t believe your eyes.
You’ll die laughing…all over again, with sLaughterhouse II.”
-From the sLaughterhouse 2 website
“sLaughterhouse 2 and its predecessor are films in the tradition of Halloween, Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street. The story, while clichéd, provides for the shock horror entertainment that audiences are looking for in this kind of film. The special makeup effects by Ray Wolfe and his team are astounding to say the least, and Pigsby’s face is even more expressive and realistic than before. Victor Caliph, again as Pigsby gives him a larger-than-life physical presence. And unlike the first film where they brought Dariel Andazola in to dub Pigsby’s voice, they have actually used Mr. Caliph’s, which is just as phlegmatic and even spookier.”
-New York Film Review
I thought I would include these quotes because they are quite good and I agree quite a lot with what they say. sLaughterhouse 2 is the sequel to the 1991 movie sLaughterhouse set in an evil clown school filled with creepy monter-clowns. A bunch of teenagers (four to be precise) stumble into it, in this film, a bad move!
The hapless teens are quite pleasant to watch, except when they are being impaled! Julia Mooreton plays Julie, a cheerleader out looking for some fun. Freddy Samuels, of TV’s ‘Daydream’ fame is quite good as Julie’s love, Jim the Quarterback of the high-school football team. Nancy McLintic plays Suzy, the worrier of the group and Julie’s best friend, with a special sixth sense. She cautions them to not enter the sLaughterhouse when she says “Look, you guys, I have a feeling about this place.” Foolishly, the others don’t listen to her. The other main character is Billy, Jim’s wisecracking buddy, played by Haskell Cunningham. At the start he and Suzy hate each other and are only exploring around because their best friends are there. But by the end they have grown to love each other, and when Pigsby finally dumps them into the acid, their skeletons float up in an embrace. Their last words to each other are “I love you”. The romance was quite touching and it is sure to appeal to the female members of the audience.
While Steven Snow’s screenplay is quite corny, it has some quite funny one-liners especially from Billy and of course, Pigsby. Before the night watchman is killed, Pigsby asks: “Do you want to hear a killer joke?” He then proceeds to scream so loudly in his ear that his brain explodes. I frankly went in, expecting a Horror movie with comic bits thrown in. While it is quite a good movie, it just wasn’t what I was hoping for personally. The other problem, is that the film switches from being deadly serious at parts, to mocking itself at others, and then back again. I simply hope that when the sequal is made (and I guarantee they’ll make one) the writers figure out what sort of film they’re trying to make.
Michael Welton is quite a good director, but sometimes he tries too hard and it is not as successful, as it could be. There are some quite strange, scary, funny touches in places, like the blood oozing from the letterbox and the bowling game with skulls. Some things are gratituosley violent though. This is not a film for young children, I’d recommend 15 and above. The music, by Johann Simmet is perfect for the film. Highlighting every scene and quite spine tingly and scary.
In the words of Pigsby, ‘Sit back and relax. You’re going to have the time of what’s left of your life!’
The rest of Arty Farty‘s cinema portion of its website contained reviews of films and books so nonsensical that couldn’t possibly exist. These dubious items, of which sLaughterhouse II is one, were creatively written more as satire on professional film criticism than genuine attempts to toxify truth. Semmler’s synopsis, really an outsider’s view on slasher-as-superhero fetishism and fanboy glorification of low-budget horror movies, is actually outlandishly funny and inventive.
The world wide web as a collective whole are only as intelligent as its most gullible denizens, so despite the movie’s obvious traits as vaporfilm, sLaughterhouse II over time became taken as common fact to exist in our reality – and as well, to be a lost sequel to the only real Slaughterhouse movie, even though the article, readily available up till a few years ago, clearly refers to the sequel’s predecessor as a story completely different to Roessler’s Slaughterhouse. Clearly, Semmler wasn’t even aware of the 1987 film when he wrote the satiric piece.
It was likely the high quality of the faux-poster art that blindsided many into believing, and so the non-movie continued to snowball in online genre circles over the years, picking up additional non-truths as it did so, such as that it was Oscar-nominated actress Julianne Moore’s first acting role. Thus sLaughterhouse II would go on to be listed in her IMDB profile for the longest time, which was duplicated in high hundreds of web biographies of the actress that remain online and uncorrected to this day. In perhaps one of the sloppiest cases of horror journalism on record, an issue of UK magazine Gorezone featured a lengthy retrospective on Slaughterhouse, including its own review of sLaughterhouse II lambasting both the movie and Moore’s role as if it were a readily available movie they actually viewed, when in truth they simply hijacked Semmler’s blatant joke piece, oblivious and ignorant to the fact the movie never existed.
There are also several online listings for an unavailable Slaughterhouse 2 that directly recycles the original movie’s plot synopsis, but the truth is that Rick Roessler and Co were would decline to make a sequel. They made their movie fully intending to steamroll it into a sequel or other productions, and after a brief but well-promoted theatrical window in Washington, DC it hit home video where it was a success. However, the nature of the rental industry meant that it took 18 months for profits to filter down to both Roessler and Slaughterhouse‘s investors, who upon finally receiving their returns were happy enough that they pursued the director to make a sequel. The extended time for payback chiefly bothered Roessler himself, who decided he wasn’t willing to work through the same cycle of deferred payment when he had a family to provide for.