Slaughterhouse of the Rising Sun

Slaughterhouse of the Rising Sun (2004)

“Slaughterhouse of the Rising Sun” is a horror movie in name only.  Similarly, it’s only a good movie under the right circumstances as well.  Staged as a lost film from 1971, the film is an acid-trip induced romp through the world of Russ Meyers.

Jennifer, a down on her luck wannabe actress is released from the mental hospital after suffering a psychotic break working on her latest adult film.  She quickly finds herself stranded in the desert, rescued by a Manson-esque family of hippies and anarchists who, against the advice of the locals, set up in an abandoned farmhouse before meeting grizzly ends.

As a horror movie, it fails.  The scares are minimal, the deaths are minimally graphic and horribly paced.  The description promises a movie in which victims are “mysteriously killed one by one” – when in fact they all die, one by one, over the last 15 minutes of the movie or so.  It also doesn’t work well as a good movie.  The dialog is bad, the acting is marginal and the plot is flawed – when it’s coherent.

Giving it more than a cursory glance, though, allows it to shine.  As a period piece it’s very well done for an indy film.  The movie really did have a 70s feel to it, changing film stock, using psychedelic fade-ins, the score – everything was very competently done.  The dream sequences that torment young Jennifer are similarly well done within the realms of psychedelia.  As cheap as the premise of the film may be, it’s execution is shockingly good.

Not everybody is going to like or even appreciate this film.  With the possible exception of the writing, though, the majority of this film shows a lot of promise from people who really seemed to care about their little independent film.  Children of the 70s or people who can appreciate a well-made cheap (and arguably bad) movie should definitely check this out.

Stars: 4/5

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