Run time: 82 mins
In Theaters: Tuesday 27th September 2005
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
IMDB: 3.8 / 10
Director: Vin Crease
Producer: Jonathan A. Stein
Screenwriter: Vin Crease
Starring: Michele Morrow as Violence Onelove, Vin Crease as Damon Grey, Cheryl Dent as Jennifer, Heather Justine Thomas as Sabbath Jones, Ryan Rogoff as Guilty Karma, J. Scott Shonka as Westy Westerman, Michael Schuster as Doc Warlock, Thomas Wheatley as Dr. Denver, Todd Duffey as Robert Lewis, Chris Garnant as Bertram Lewis, Karl Anderson as Randy Andrews, Chelsey Cole as Young Jennifer, Wendee Cole as Jennifer's Mother, Klaus Aton Graahl as The Man in the Flat Top Hat, Sheilah Grenham as Cassandra Locust
Slaughterhouse of the Rising Sun is ambitious and fun, and sure enough you'll feel like you're back in the '70s when you watch it. The story draws obvious inspiration from the Manson family, with an innocent blonde girl named Jennifer (Cheryl Dent) having a breakdown in the desert, getting chased by hoodlums, and being saved by a group of characters with funny names and even funnier philosophies. Of course, Jennifer gets sucked into the world of Damon Grey (Crease) and his gang of trippin' hippies... and the body count begins. (It doesn't help that Jennifer's got secrets of her own: She's on the road because she was just released from the looney bin herself.)
The look is perfect, with over-lit shots giving the movie that hazy, dreamlike effect you see in movies of the era like Helter Skelter and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The story feels familiar, too -- overly so, in fact. Between the drug trips, the dream sequences, and the ritual slayings, there's not much new here. Slaughterhouse of the Rising Sun, despite its over-the-top artifice, does little to push the boundaries of the horror genre. To answer my initial question: Yes, it's a long way to go for a joke, and it's probably not worth it. I'd have rather had a less contrived screenplay that takes place in the present day than an insidery horror movie that ultimately ends up being much more jokey than scary -- mainly because the retrospective setup just isn't that believable.
Still, horror fanatics will probably love the fact that this is something different and reasonably good at providing both gore and T&A (though frankly the film could have used an additional injection of both).