Slaughterhouse Rock – USA, 1988

Slaughterhouse Rock is a 1988 American supernatural horror film directed by Dimitri Logothetis from a screenplay by Sandra Willard, Nora Goodman and Ted Landon. It stars pop singer Toni Basil, and features five songs by new wave band Devo.

Alex Gardner (Nicholas Celozzi), a college student suffers from recurring nightmares in which he experiences the deaths of the victims of a vicious killer who lived on Alcatraz, before it became a prison.

When the nightmares begin manifesting in reality, and his friends see him hovering over his bed, his teacher (Donna Denton), an occultist, tells him to go to the island to face down the ghost of the killer.

The friends become stranded on the island, and Alex’s brother Richard (Tom Reilly) becomes possessed, killing some friends and raping one of the girls. Alex is aided in his quest by the ghost of Sammy Mitchell (Toni Basil), a singer for rock band Bodybag…

Buy: Amazon.co.uk

88 Films is releasing Slaughterhouse Rock in the UK on Blu-ray and DVD on 22 January 2018. The previous British release, by MGM/UA on VHS as Hell Island, was cut 1m 14s by the BBFC.

Reviews:

Slaughterhouse Rock promoted as a rock horror film, ends up being more of a silly attempt at using Alcatraz as a set with Basil popping in for spiritual guidance […] MTV cheesy visual effects using colored lighting and smog machines are used throughout the production often replacing its horror aspect with something from a set of Motley Crue.” HorrorNews.net

“Aside from an unpleasant demonic rape scene it is a goofy teens-versus-monsters scenario, heavy on gloopy gore, light on suspense and actual scares. None of the lead characters are especially engaging (save for the intriguing Carolyn, though it is unclear why her character is here and suffers so much) which makes the early scenes of inane chatter and florid, over-written dialogue kind of a chore.” Andrew Pragasm, The Spinning Image

“Music by Devo was this ghastly film’s bright spot. It’s an incomprehensible cannibal demon possession teenager horror pic, with some black comedy thrown into the mix. So-so director Dimitri Logothetis (The Closer/The Lost Angel/Cheyenne) tries for every horror pic cliche thrill.” Dennis Schwartz, Ozus’ World Movie Reviews

“Adopting the smoky, stylized look of music videos for much of its running time, the film plays like a college/prison gumbo of films like Demons, Trick or Treat, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Witchboard, with enough gore and bare skin to make audiences happy and enough stupidity to make critics pull out their knives.” Nathaniel Thompson, Mondo Digital

” …every moment in this film is taken from a better, more entertaining movie. Which sums up this movie perfectly. Sure, not every horror movie stars Toni Basil and is loaded with late ’80s era Devo songs, but there are literally hundreds of horror movies that are better than this piece of crap.” House of Self Indulgence

“The only brief bright spot is Steve Brian Smith, who is amusing as Alex’s wisecracking friend. According to the production notes, Mr. Smith, a stand-up comic, wrote many of his own lines. He should have written the others.” Caryn James, The New York Times

Main cast and characters:

  • Toni Basil … Sammy Mitchell
  • Nicholas Celozzi … Alex Gardner
  • Tom Reilly … Richard Gardner
  • Donna Denton … Carolyn Harding
  • Hope Marie Carlton … Krista Halpern
  • Tammy Hyler … Jan Squire
  • Steven Brian Smith … Jack
  • Ty Miller … Marty
  • Al Fleming … The Commandant and Monster
  • Michael J. Scherlis … Tour Guide

Release:

USA: The film was given a limited theatrical release by Taurus Entertainment Company in May 1988. It was released on VHS by Sony Video. A Code Red Blu-ray was released in 2016.

Wikipedia | IMDb | Image credits: Mondo Digital

Related: Prison (1987)

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