Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher (2012)
By: Devon B. on February 2, 2015 | Comments
Whacked Movies | All Regions, NTSC | English DD 2.0 | 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced) | 99 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Joaquin Montalvan
Starring: Doreen Barnes, Allen East, S.E. Feinberg, Ron Jason, Theresa Holly
Screenplay: Eunice Font, Joaquin Montalvan
Country: USA
In principle I am a fan of exploitation/horror throwbacks that try to capture the feel of the classics of yesteryear. I prefer the more tongue in cheek offerings, but I'm okay with the idea of filmmakers playing it straight with this sort of thing… except in their emulations they should not, under any circumstances, recreate the terrible, terrible padding that plagued so many grindhouse spectaculars.

Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher is about a guy who doesn't need to worry about beware of dog signs because he's more likely to take a bite out of trespassers than any canine. Because that's not enough of a story, the butcher tries to make a deal with some sort of big bad voodoo daddy named Sam Bakoo to bring the butcher's parents back to life. At the 30 minute mark that's pretty much all that's happened, aside from a few smatterings of gore, so this is another one of those whirlwind, densely plotted movies that demand the viewer's full attention to keep things straight. Like House by the Cemetery. Anyway, eventually it seems like there may have been more to the butcher's barter than he bargained for, which begs the question as to why he bothered to barter in the first place.

In case the first paragraph wasn't clear enough, I'll just state bluntly that Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher is a bloated film. There's a pointless three minute scene where the butcher meets up with another hillbilly and the pair exchange about 40 words. Sure, this scene introduces a character, but it wasn't worth three minutes of screen time. It's drawn out sequences like this that make the movie drag, and the dragging reminded me of another phenomenon from times gone by: Tracking down a movie with a titillating title only to find it's a slow moving snoozefest. This movie has no excuse to be slow. The butcher doesn't seem to be that far off the beaten path with people frequently wandering into his territory, providing plenty of fodder for his knife. It might not have been high art to just feature kill after kill, but a low budget slash fest would've been more entertaining than this movie turned out.

At 100 minutes long Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher needed to trim over 20 minutes of its own fat, but there are some positives. Gorehounds may enjoy the inexpensive but well done splatter FX, and fans of jarring imagery should like some of the trippy and disorienting elements of the film. The biggest achievement is on the technical side of things because the filmmakers have done an excellent job of making the movie look like it is a cheapo flick from the 70s, making it feel like a long lost, and presumably inbred, third cousin of The Hills Have Eyes.

I was okay with Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher for about a half hour, bored for the next 30 minutes and after that I was checking the runtime every few minutes until the credits rolled. I've always had a problem with the slower pacing of many 70s movies, so maybe fans of that era will get more out of the film than I did, but I'd be hard pressed to recommend any movie that became such an endurance test.
The Disc
Aside from the wraparound sequence, a review of the film's appearance is irrelevant because it's been grindhoused to look like old 8mm footage. Its looks awful, but it's intentionally awful. The audio track has some source based distortion, but is otherwise okay. It's a 2.0 mix, which makes sense given the filmmakers were after a 70s vibe, and there's not a lot of action so the track doesn't have much to do. The extras include a making of; a short film; a nearly 30 minute interview from the Horror Happens radio show, the host of which likes the movie so much that it made his list of top 25 horror movies for the year; and three trailers for the film. The making of runs nearly an hour and covers the standard things like the origins of the project, but does show the processing the film went through to capture the sleazy vibe the director wanted. The short film is Straight Razor and it's presented letterbox at 4:3. The short isn't very interesting, but it does show some of the developing techniques that would come into play for the main feature.
The Verdict
I'm giving Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher an extra point because of the technical achievement with the film's appearance, but ultimately it's a forgettable, dreary movie that is easily bypassed.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
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