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Slaughterhouse Rock (1988) Blu-ray Review

Movie Review

3 beersTruthfully, New Wave would be nothing without certain bands. When I say DEVO you say what, ghouls and boils? The outfits? The music? Or is it the realization that Mark Mothersbaugh, DEVO’s lead singer and untiring Hollywood composer, is a certified genius? Because Mothersbaugh is exactly that.

For proof, I’d like to direct your attention to Slaughterhouse Rock, a cheap and cheesy horror film from the mid-1980s whose best bits come from the AWESOME soundtrack that DEVO wrote for it. Their work is fully charged and entertaining as hell, saving Slaughterhouse Rock from itself time and time again, as it runs itself ragged in the logic department .

Slaughterhouse Rock operates a bit too much like A Nightmare on Elm Street for complete originality points; however, the film is entertaining and has some well-shot moments – including a slo-mo shot of a specific dine and date moment – that keep it afloat. Oh, and Toni Basil, you know the singer of the #1 worldwide hit "Mickey", stars as the spirit of a dead pop rocker who appears to help one San Francisco teen fight against the ravaging spirit of a cannibalistic former prisoner of Alcatraz. And then she dances.

So, yeah, Alex Gardner (Nicholas Celozzi) suffers from some serious hardcore dreams. He dreams of being sliced and diced as a crazy killer rips open his chest and starts chewing on his ribs. YUM! Meanwhile, Alex’s friends – including his brother Richard (Tom Reilly) – see him floating above his bed and other crazy things stemming from his bizarre sleep cycle.

They have to do something and so they recruit an occultist and college professor Carolyn Harding (Donna Denton) to help. She informs them that Alex is suffering the fates of one crazed killer’s victims and that, in order to put an end to the nocturnal emissions, they must go to Alcatraz and face this monster (Al Fleming). And so they do, resulting in Richard becoming possessed and the death and rape of some of the others. Tough stuff.

Written and directed by Dimitri Logothetis (Kickboxer: Retaliation), Slaughterhouse Rock is one helluva hot mess. It doesn’t make much sense and I guess it doesn’t have to in order to rock the jailhouse as Basil becomes a metal-headed lead singer in order to give Alex the tools he needs to brave the killer buried below Alcatraz. Who knew breaking in to Alcatraz would be so damn easy?

Released by Arista and looking a lot like an old school Def Leppard video, complete with cheesy lighting, cheaply manufactured skulls, and heavy fog effects, Code Red DVD has provided this b-movie with one hell of a cool HD release, complete with a brand new 2K scan of the original negatives. So you can ditch your VHS bootleg copies of Hell Island or Alcatraz Rock and dig in to this new release instead.

Slaughterhouse (might not always) Rock but it definitely rolls.


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Film Details

Slaughterhouse Rock (1988) Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime: 90 mins
Director: Dimitri Logothetis
Writer: Ted Landon
Cast: Toni Basil, Nicholas Celozzi, Tom Reilly
Genre: Horror
Tagline: Alcatraz. For 39 years it held society's most depraved killers. Now it's home to something even worse...
Memorable Movie Quote: "You have been chosen. This is a message of some kind."
Theatrical Distributor: Taurus Entertainment Company
Official Site:
Release Date: February, 1988
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: December 5, 2016
Synopsis: A man visits Alcatraz prison after having dreams about all the people who died there. When he gets to the prison, his brother is possessed by an evil cannibal demon. The ghost of a female heavy metal singer (Toni Basil, singer of the #1 hit ‘Mickey’) who was killed there tries to help the man fight the monster.


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Slaughterhouse Rock (1988) Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray Reviews


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Code Red DVD
Available on Blu-ray - December 5, 2016
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles: None
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Region-free Playback

Offered courtesy of Code Red DVD in 1.78:1, the AVC-encoded 1080p transfer is a relative goldmine of previously unseen details and colors. This is EASILY the best the film has ever (and probably will) looked. The details in the prison and in the apartments are strong. The clothing and some of punked-out items are a reason to appreciate the visual “pop” throughout the high definition transfer, too. The atmosphere is especially nice. The crisp image quality is the best you’re going to get with a film like this and, admittedly, even a bit better than expected thanks to the 2K scan. Some stuff from the same era hasn’t made the HD transition quite as well, but the film looks much, much better than expected. Colors are perfect. Blacks are solid. Skin tones are detailed and appropriate. The original 2.0 Stereo Audio is included as a DTS-HD Master Audio track.




Special Features:

Fans get a 10-minute interview with DEVO’s Mark Mothersbaugh and one with director of photography Nicholas Von Sternberg. The film’s trailer rounds out this release.

Mark Mothersbaugh On-Camers Interview (10 min)

DP Nicholas Von Sternberg Interview (13 min)


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Slaughterhouse Rock (1988) Blu-ray Review