Slaughterhouse of the Rising Sun Movie Review
Slaughterhouse of the Rising Sun is ambitious and fun, and sure enough you'll feel like you're back in the '70s when you watch it. The story draws obvious inspiration from the Manson family, with an innocent blonde girl named Jennifer (Cheryl Dent) having a breakdown in the desert, getting chased by hoodlums, and being saved by a group of characters with funny names and even funnier philosophies. Of course, Jennifer gets sucked into the world of Damon Grey (Crease) and his gang of trippin' hippies... and the body count begins. (It doesn't help that Jennifer's got secrets of her own: She's on the road because she was just released from the looney bin herself.)
The look is perfect, with over-lit shots giving the movie that hazy, dreamlike effect you see in movies of the era like Helter Skelter and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The story feels familiar, too -- overly so, in fact. Between the drug trips, the dream sequences, and the ritual slayings, there's not much new here. Slaughterhouse of the Rising Sun, despite its over-the-top artifice, does little to push the boundaries of the horror genre. To answer my initial question: Yes, it's a long way to go for a joke, and it's probably not worth it. I'd have rather had a less contrived screenplay that takes place in the present day than an insidery horror movie that ultimately ends up being much more jokey than scary -- mainly because the retrospective setup just isn't that believable.
Still, horror fanatics will probably love the fact that this is something different and reasonably good at providing both gore and T&A (though frankly the film could have used an additional injection of both).