SLAUGHTERHOUSE OF THE RISING SUN (DVD) Image

The first three minutes of “Slaughterhouse of the Rising Sun” will prove to underscore the sheer differences in the audiences of horror movies over the last thirty years.

Back then, watching a girl put on a schoolgirl costume and have doggy-style sex with a midget just before she kicks him in the balls and scratches his eyes out would have been shocking to even the most jaded of horror fans and porn viewers.

Today, it’s just damn funny.

So what we’ve got here is our midget-kicking schoolgirl Jennifer on the road following her reprieve from the insane asylum she was put in following her smackdown on the wee man. And things don’t go much better for her out there than they did in the studio. Because within about three minutes, she’s attacked by crazy hillbillies. But then, she’s saved by crazy hippies! Yay! But then…they’re crazy.

Oh, and did I mention that ole Jen’s not getting anywhere with HER therapy, either? So SHE’S crazy too!

So the collection of crazies presses out toward an abandoned house that some equally crazy chick ranted on about while they were all on a peyote bender (oh yes, there WILL be drugs in “Slaughterhouse of the Rising Sun”), and when they finally reach the house, well, that’s when the fecal matter will connect with the inverted impeller device.

“Slaughterhouse of the Rising Sun”, in fact, watches like some weird hybrid of “Helter Skelter”, “A Clockwork Orange”, “Last House on the Left”, and “Reefer Madness”. Indeed, there’s quite the scene at twenty minutes thirty seconds—which would make for a killer anti-drug screed today. Though all things considered, Vin Crease probably left that in to prove his doglike devotion to drugs.

And at twenty seven minutes eight seconds, you begin to wonder for a moment if some of those drugs found their way into YOUR bloodstream. At least until you realize that, yes, you ARE watching a beat up red Volkswagen van tow a little red Radio Flyer wagon behind it with a person riding inside.

Man, this must have been THE movie to watch while stoned.

Quality wise, this is crap. The plot is nothing short of schizophrenic, the acting redefines bottom of the barrel, and the thematic elements so dated that, if they were batteries, their labels would be unreadable from the sheer corrosion. Vin Crease is easily on par with the eternal lord of the bottom of the barrel, Joe Castro, and somewhere, Joe’s probably heaving a sigh of relief that Crease is no longer able to make movies and thus be a serious threat to his niche.

I mean, I’m sure back in 1972 when this was supposed to be released this was the kind of film that had the Rotary and the Ladies’ Auxiliary plotting to get the Molotov cocktails together to burn down the drive in, but today, it’s just sluggish and slow with poor acting and almost no real action. If Vin Crease went to see “Saw,” he would piss himself in sheer terror and wonder just how bad the acid could get.

I think “Hostel” would’ve killed him.

Yet somehow, when you understand the history behind “Slaughterhouse of the Rising Sun”, it all makes sense.

This was filmed in ten days on the strength of a whole lot of recreational pharmaceuticals. When the producer came to get a copy, he found the director unwilling to show it to anyone. When the producer SEIZED a copy, the director became so enraged that he ran the producer down in his CAR. The director was then locked up on a charge of vehicular homicide for a thirty year sentence, during which he died in prison in an unfortunate accident.

Prior to his death, when asked to comment on the movie, Vin was noted to have quipped in the truest My-God-I’m-tripping-right-now fashion:

“Some things are beyond space, beyond time, and cannot be stopped.”

I swear I did not make a WORD of that up.

I in fact read that in the various extra features we’ll be getting in the DVD, plus on the back of the box itself, which offers more history.

The ending is the best part of the movie, because it’s actually got some tautly plotted cat and mouse action sequences. Which is a rare surprise in this case.

The special features include a making of featurette, lots of cast and crew interviews that make me wonder how much of them were truth and how much were staged to give this wreckage some mystique, and some deleted scenes.

All in all, this badly dated heap of cinematic refuge never SHOULD have found the light of day, and we all probably would’ve been better off if the damn thing had caught fire in the first place.

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