The Butchers (2014)



I said in the review for Billy Club (here) that besides horror, my first love is baseball. My other first love (that would be three if you are counting) would be for true crime, specifically any true crimes having to do with serial killers. I love anything narrated by Bill Curtis, and Bill Curtis + serial killers? "I think I just filled the cup." So sufficed to say, I know a lot about pretty much every major American serial killer. It's a shame that the makers of the serial killer based film The Butchers (Death Factory seemingly everywhere else by in the United States) don't share the passion that myself and many other horror fans have for these real life monsters.

A group of horror film stereotypes are on a trip to the Grand Canyon, or some Hollywood facsimile of. Like in all good horror films, the bus breaks down. This bus conks out within walking distance of the "Death Factory" a dude ranch/museum dedicated to some of the 20th centuries greatest serial killers. Not a bad place to break down in my opinion. Unfortunately for our group of passengers, a West African madman had murdered the owner of the complex and begun a satanic ritual to bring the facilities infamous baddies to life. 

Leave it to a couple of fucking Goths (not "fucking Goths" but Goths who are actually, you know, fucking) to finish off the incantation spell and bring the myriad of serial killers to life. Typical stalk and slash idiocy follows. For those of you keeping score, the resurrected serial killers include :Ed Gein, The Zodiac Killer, Jack the Ripper, Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, and for some reason, Albert Fish. They are all represented as some sort of lazy bastardization of the real thing, with barely any attention paid to real life detail. Did you know that The Zodiac killed people with a hand scythe? Or that Ed Gein was a Hulk Hogan sized behemoth and the only thing he hated more that "fags" are "niggers?" His words, not mine...and not even close to historically accurate. Gein by all accounts was a tall man with a slight build who was extremely mild mannered. Hardly what is represented here.

The film itself is a swirly mess of attempted real life allusion, stalk and slash, and ridiculous possession film. JB (Semi Anthony - the East African Guy) and haunted ex-soldier Simon (Damien Puckler) wind up in some weird competition where they kill their serial killers and absorb their souls, a la Highlander, but not as cool, and much more pointless. There is an extended fight scene between the two that is just over the top enough to (think They Live territory) to keep your eyes open during the middle of the third act. But alas, even that means nothing because by the end of the film, the loser of the fight is still alive and the winner moves on as if nothing has happened, despite the absorption of the souls of at least three notorious serial killers.

Dabbling in the true crime end of the horror pool is a dangerous thing to do. Some films like Copycat get it right. Others, like The Butchers FUBAR the whole concept to the point of maddening embarrassment. It's not accurate. It's not interesting. Frankly, it's just not that good. The Butchers starts as an intriguing concept, but devolves fairly quickly to run of the mill, sub standard horror fare. It's a shame too, I really wanted to like it.

* 1/2 stars out of *****

That's it for me. As always, thanks for reading and "enjoy every sandwich."

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