The intro with newspaper clippings and serial killer’s photos roped me in immediately. Unfortunately though, that was probably the highlight of this one.
Stephen Judd’s serial killer melting pot, The Butchers, brings together the world’s most notorious maniacs to a tourist trap near you. The plot consists of a group of travelers whose bus breaks down right outside of what they think is a ghost town. This bus had more stereotypes than a Village People concert. Right away I wasn’t sure if I should be embarrassed or offended. We have a couple of goth characters, a brother and sister, some Bible-thumpers, the hot girls, a few other randoms and of course, a loud black lady. Because apparently every collection of outcast needs at least one husky black woman. Anyway, the town isn’t what it seems, and we quickly learn that strange things are afoot.
The film gets incredibly bizarre when Semi’s character, JB, sets out summon the killers whose souls are hidden within the Death Factory. He is quickly interrupted by the arrival of the stranded group. JB or, as I referred to him, the black guy, seemed out-of-place with his weird African accent. You’d think that the guy with the most screen time would be able to speak some English. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and just assume he had marbles in his mouth half the time. Even though I couldn’t understand him for the most part, through the dialogue and actions of others, I was able to piece together his agenda. As his story is revealed and more depth is added to his character, not only does he become more interesting, but the movie becomes more watchable as well. I won’t spoil it for you, but I was disappointed with the reveal of his character. So much more could have been done, and as a viewer, I felt cheated, especially after making me sit through such a chore of a film.
It isn’t until the climax that things get amusing, in a weird way. All the killers come back, slay a few people and start fighting amongst each other. The serial killers are over-the-top caricatures of themselves, so, no matter what they’re doing it’s pretty cheesy and entertaining. In one room you have Gacy putting on clown makeup and in another you have Jack the Ripper questioning a victim. It’s at this point that Judd is having the most fun as he throws these one-dimensional psychopaths from scene to scene. In a way, it was like watching live-action action figures parade around with knives and meat hooks. Not a bad thing.
The artificial grit added during post production as well as the quick edits during death scenes was a little distracting. They were pretty legit death scenes too, sudden and rewarding. But because of the weird edits and jump cuts I was taken right out of the film. What was one of my favorite things quickly became the most annoying. Just show the action. Speaking of action, the punches between characters were empty and lifeless. So much so, that when Hulk Hogan and I were watching this in my living room, I’m pretty sure I heard him groan. The little bit of comedic relief wasn’t much of a relief. I found myself rolling my eyes with every failed attempt at humor. But not everything about this one was a stinker. Excluding the one goth girl’s wig, the costumes were good and believable. Simon, the Dan Blizerian knock off, was a decent actor and fighter. But for everything that was decent there were a handful of other things that made me want to cross the street to avoid this film.
The Butchers reminded me of one of those cheap haunted houses sitting right off the highway luring in the ignorant passers-by. Maybe you’ll check it out because there isn’t anything else better to do in your shit-hole town, but once you’re halfway through the maze, you realize that your evening would have been better spent pampering your cat and watching Project Runway. The Butchers. You’re out. Auf Wiedersehen.
RANDOM NOTEBOOK DUMP:
This Luther guy sure likes to say “bitch.”
Wouldn’t be budget horror without some gratuitous sex.