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Film / The Butchers

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The Butchers (also known as Death Factory and The Factory) is a 2014 horror film directed by Steven Judd and written by David Dittlinger and Stephen Durham.

Strangers on a bus find themselves fighting for their lives when one of them reads from a Gothic book and brings to life six dead serial killers who proceed to hunt them down one by one.

Tropes used in The Butchers include:

  • Antagonist Title: The title refers to six Serial Killers raised from the dead. The main protagonist is Simon, the de facto leader of the tourists trapped in the Ghost Town.
  • Bench Breaker: When Simon is tied up by John Wayne Gacy, he escapes by smashing the chair he is tied to.
  • Big Guy Rodeo: Daisy tries this twice when John Wayne Gacy is attacking Simon. She doesn't really accomplish much, but points for trying, not just playing Neutral Female.
  • Came Back Wrong: Artistic liberties were taken with how a few of the real-life killers were portrayed, most notably Ed Gein, who is depicted as being a hulking and gleefully homicidal maniac who wants to make a shirt out of a man seemingly just for the fun of it when in actuality he was a diminutive and meek man who killed and made clothing out of only women due to suffering from a particularly deranged form of gender dysphoria. This is implied to be the result of some kind of side-effect or flaw in the resurrection ritual, as Daisy, after examining JB's occult paraphernalia, mutters, "If they really are back from the dead, then they're not the serial killers that we knew of."
  • Car Fu: Auntie May uses JB's car to ram the Zodiac Killer at high speed after he has been turned into a Man on Fire.
  • Cell Phones Are Useless: The bus breaks down in a valley where the mountains block cell phone signals. Bill briefly manages to get half a bar, and no one else can get anything.
  • Chainsaw Good: Ed Gein picks up a chainsaw and uses it to drive off the Zodiac Killer.
  • Devil in Disguise: The ending of the film implies that the bus driver is actually Satan.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The serial killers start picking each other off in order to conserve the remaining victims for themselves. In particular, Gein kills Dahmer so he can steal Brian from him and skin him to make a shirt.
  • The Faceless: The Zodiac Killer's face is never revealed as it is always concealed by a hood. Presumably, this is a tip of the hat to the Zodiac Killer's identity being unknown in Real Life.
  • Genuine Human Hide: When JB and The Collector are examining the Ed Gein exhibit in the museum, they discuss Gein's habit of making objects out of human skin. Later, after Gein and the other killers are brought to life, Gein fights Dahmer for possession of Brian: Gein states that he wants to skin Brian to make a shirt.
  • Ghost Town: The Death Factory is located in a ghost town in the middle of nowhere: built in the expectation of a gold rush that never came.
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot: While trying to seduce Kip, Nicole and Candi start making out. Kip, who was anxious to get out of there, decides that he has time to stop and watch.
  • Golf Clubbing: In the prologue, young Simon cracks his abusive father over the head with a golf club, then keeps whacking him once he is on the ground.
  • Goth: Ren and Star are a boyfriend/girlfriend pair of angry goths. They spent most of the bus trip deliberately antagonising the other passengers. When stranded in the Ghost Town, they wander off from the others and then decide it would be fun to read aloud a spell from a Tome of Eldritch Lore they find. Unsurprisingly, they are the first to fall victim to the Serial Killers.
  • Gutted Like a Fish: JB does this to Candi. Given Jack the Ripper's usual M.O., it seems safe to assume that this was Nicole's fate as well, although the camera cuts away before all the gory details can be shown.
  • Harmful to Minors: The prologue shows that as a boy, Simon witnessed the murder of his mother at the hand of his father. He then bludgeons his father to death with a golf club.
  • Hidden Depths: Daisy—who, up to this point, has appeared to be nothing more than a dutiful housewife—surprises Simon by revealing that she has a master's in psychology and wrote her thesis on religious mania.
  • Historical Domain Crossover: A Tome of Eldritch Lore brings Ed Gein, Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, Albert Fish, the Zodiac Killer, and Jack the Ripper (or, more aptly, Jill the Ripper) back to life.
  • I Am a Humanitarian: Albert Fish and Jeffery Dahmer are both cannibals. Fish is destroyed before he as an opportunity to demonstrate this part of his personality, but Dahmer takes several bites out of Kip while fighting him, and later captures Brian and is preparing to butcher and eat him.
  • I Am Not Pretty: This appears to be part of Jack the Ripper's motivation. After revealing her true appearance as a beautiful woman to Nicole, the Ripper asks Nicole if she thinks she is beautiful. Nicole assures her that she is and offers to prove it to her. This ends badly for her.
  • I Broke a Nail: When the resurrection spell is cast, there is an earthquake that shakes the entire Ghost Town. As it ends, Nicole lets out an ear-piercing shriek, that makes everyone think she has suffered some terrible injury. It turns that she broke a nail when she fell to the floor. Only her friend Candi gives her any sympathy.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Granted it is a museum devoted to Serial Killers, but was 'The Death Factory' really the best choice of name?
  • Latex Perfection: Jack the Ripper wears a mask that not only makes her look hideously disfigured but hides her long black hair.
  • Lean and Mean: Albert Fish is the smallest and skinniest of the serial killers, but he possesses a wiry strength and is able to put up a good fight, and he is certainly just as evil as the rest of them, being a child-murdering cannibal.
  • Lodged-Blade Recycling: After breaking loose from the chair where Gacy had tied him, Simon stabs Gacy to death with the knife Gacy had stuck in his shoulder while torturing him.
  • Made of Iron: All of the serial killers are fairly tough, but the Zodiac Killer absorbs a ridiculous amount of damage. He takes multiple body blows from the magically enhanced Simon without flinching. The protagonists are only able to stop him by setting fire to him and running him over with a car.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: In one of a set of compounding bad decisions, Ren and Star decide to have sex in a recreation of Ed Gein's lair in a museum dedicated to serial killers.
  • Man Bites Man: When Jeffery Dahmer and Kip are fighting, Dahmer keeps biting chunks out of Kip. He later bites a chunk out of Brian's leg after capturing him.
  • Man on Fire: The tourists manage to defeat the Zodiac Killer by using a Reusable Lighter Toss to set him alight.
  • Monster Clown: John Wayne Gacy spends the entire film in clown makeup and costume, which is deeply disturbing. This is accurate to his life, however, as Gacy is known for having played a clown at parties sometime before he began murdering people.
  • Mythology Gag: Ed Gein uses a chainsaw to drive off the Zodiac Killer: a reference to Gein being the inspiration for Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, despite him never using a chainsaw in his Real Life killings.
  • No Name Given: The man who owns the Death Factory is not addressed by name and is only identified as 'the Collector' in the credits.
  • Ominous Opera Cape: Jack the Ripper wears an opera cape and top hat (which he almost certainly didn't in Real Life). Later used for some Sexy Coat Flashing (It Makes Sense in Context).
  • Pummeling the Corpse: In the prologue, young Simon whacks his abusive father over the head with a golf club. He then keeps walking on the body way past the point where he must be dead.
  • Quick Nip: When Auntie May and Daisy are left alone in the diner, Auntie May pulls a flask out of her Victoria's Secret Compartment and takes a swig from it. She then offers it to Daisy, who, after a few moments of hesitation, decides that the circumstances warrant it and also takes a swig.
  • Reusable Lighter Toss: After being soaked in kerosene when Kip smashes a lantern on him, the Zodiac Killer is set alight when Daisy tosses Simon JB's lighter, who ignites it and drops it in the spilled fuel.
  • Sackhead Slasher: The Zodiac Killer wears an executioner's hood made out of a black bag with eye holes cut out (in keeping with the one eyewitness account of the real-world Zodiac Killer).
  • Samus Is a Girl: Turns out the 'Jill the Ripper' theory was correct.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Auntie May, who takes guff from no one, even if they are a resurrected serial killer. And she is prepared to go one on one against the Zodiac Killer if she has to.
  • Serial Killer: A Tome of Eldritch Lore is used to raise six of history's most infamous serial killers from the dead: Ed Gein, Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, Albert Fish, the Zodiac Killer, and Jack the Ripper. JB implies that he is a serial killer more prolific than any of them.
  • Sexy Coat Flashing: When the Ripper has Nicole tied up, she throws off her opera cape to reveal some decidedly non-period lingerie.
  • Shrouded in Myth: True to Real Life, the film ends with the viewer having learned nothing about the Zodiac Killer's true identity.
  • Sinister Scraping Sound: As the Zodiac Killer is chasing Ren, he drags his sickle along the wall of the caravan, producing a sinister scraping sound.
  • Sinister Scythe: The Zodiac Killer uses a sickle as his weapon.
  • Slashed Throat: In the prologue, Luther kills Simon's mother by slitting her throat while Simon watches.
  • Spanner in the Works: JB's original plan was to resurrect the six Serial Killers and then kill them so he could absorb their power. What he didn't count on was a busload of tourists being stranded in the Ghost Town on the day he planned his ritual, or two of those tourists triggering the ritual early. The end of the film implies that Satan, in the guise of the bus driver, deliberately led the tourists there to thwart JB's scheme.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: After capturing Nicole, Jack the Ripper straps her to what is either a dentist or barber's chair in preparation for the torture and murder that is to follow.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Jack the Ripper is really a beautiful woman disguised as a man.
  • Sword Sparks: The Zodiac Killer generates sparks, as well as a Sinister Scraping Sound, by dragging his sickle along the wall of the caravan while chasing Ren.
  • Throw the Book at Them: JB slams Ed Gein in the face with the Book of the Dead.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: The Book of the Dead is used to cast a resurrection spell that brings the serial killers back from the dead.
  • *Twang* Hello: When the Zodiac Killer starts to drag Ren out of Gein's room, Gein gets his attention by throwing an axe into the door jamb beside Zodiac's head.
  • Unwilling Suspension: After JB captures Candi, he suspends her from her wrists in an old shed.
  • Victor Gains Loser's Powers: Killing one of the resurrected Serial Killers causes the person who killed them to absorb the killer's power. The end of the film becomes a race between JB and Simon to absorb enough power to defeat the other (with Zodiac, who no one manages to kill, as a wild card).
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Auntie May keeps a flask in her cleavage for when she needs a Quick Nip.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Simon, a trained soldier, drops Jill the Ripper with the same ruthless efficiency he shows in disposing of the male serial killers.