Taking after his demented butcher of a father, Carl Henry Jessup (Paul E. Respass) is a backwoods living hunter whose local delicacy amongst his surround neighbors is serving up grade-A human meat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Carl relives the past with the tragic death of a murder-suicide of his parents and tries to summon them to live again with the help a demon named Sam Bakoo. When the loner cannibal doesn’t get his wish from Sam Bakoo, he curses and rejects the demon starting a whole new set of problems for poor old Carl. All this is told in narrative story of the “Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher” to three young children by an old man who knows Carl and his murderous history.
Director Jaoquin Montalvan could be considered the underground doppleganger of Rob Zombie in filmmaking especially in “House of a 1000 Corpses” or “The Devil’s Rejects.” In the “Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher”, all the makings of a Rob Zombie like film are accounted for with the exception of hard rockabilly music. White trash and white trash dialogue? Check. Grindhouse style editing and cinematography? Check. Cannibalism and demon summon horror genre? Check. It isn’t like Montalvan exactly mirror’s Zombie’s films from scene to scene. Montalvan makes this film his own in the subtlety of the work; many of the scenes are low key and not over the top with dialogue and heavy moments of stimulating effects. And the indie director does make this into a bit of a horror comedy. In a number of scenes, the characters will sit across from each other, have a meal or a drink of moonshine, and bullshit in a quippy could of way. End scene.
The cannibalism story tangent takes a bit of a backseat to the demon that plagues Cary Henry. The quick switch in plot direction is a good, positive change for the Hillbilly Butcher as monotony would set in with the cannibalism plot line. Much of the “meat” effects were a bit scarce and cheesy. The dead bodies were not so realistic. But the quick edited dream sequences of Sam Bakoo and Carl Henry’s visions of Sam Bakoo were intense, surreal, and welcomed. What also helped was the performance from amateur actor Allen East as Sam Bakoo – a scrawny, bald man who can conform with the best of them like Doug Jones from “Hellboy.”
Another good actor (or actress in this case) is Theresa Holly. A blue eyed, black haired beauty with a bust that would break hearts. Her character Rae Lynn, a friend of Carl Henry, is sweet and tender but when push comes to shove, her salvation lies with her fighting for her life. While there were no nude scenes for her character, Theresa Holly does do some bra and panty scenes in a, and again in a Rob Zombie like way, montage scene.
With any cannibal archetype or cannibalism film, I expect a lot of gore and with a title like the Legend of the “Hillbilly Butcher”, there comes an expectation that meat would be separated from the bone for consumption. Well, prepared to be mostly disappointed with only one real scene of disembowelment. The scene is fairly gory and intestinally jarring, the movie is practically over by the time we get to this scene. The film does speak more to it’s tone toward placement in the world and in the afterlife; how the good become better and those who do wrong get what they deserve in the end.
MVDVisual is releasing this 2012 festival hit on September 23rd, 2014 and while I won’t expect this to be flying off the shelves, reaching cult status in a matter of weeks, I do expect a pretty good following for poor old Carl Henry.
Theresa Holly (NON-NUDE) – Bra & Panties / Cleavage