Starring: Jim Brown, Marlene Clark, Stella Stevens and Rip Torn
Rated: R Action, Crime, Drama
This film is about Slaughter (Jim Brown), a former captain of the Green Berets, and his mission to avenge the death of his parents. Murdered from a car bomb set to detonate when his father turned the key in his ignition, Slaughter knows these deaths were intentional. After discovering that the killings were at the behest of Dominic Hoffo (Rip Torn), a leader of a Mafia faction in Cleveland, Slaughter hunts him down.
However, in his battle against Dominic and his henchmen, he is arrested for the murder of one of the mobsters while the boss and others escape, ultimately, to South America.
Because of his past military and intelligence expertise in the Vietnam War, Price (Cameron Mitchell) an administrator with the Treasury Department, offers Slaughter his freedom if he goes undercover to capture Dominic. Also included in this arrangement is that Slaughter is to locate and return a computer that contains incriminating evidence on Dominic and his organized crime family.
Slaughter is aided in his mission for vengeance and justice by agents, Kim (Marlene Clark), who he mysteriously met at the hospital when he learned of his parents’ passing, and Harry (Don Gordon); as well as Ann (Stella Stevens), a prostitute who “belongs” to Felice (Norman Alfe), head of the mob.
Will Slaughter discover the true reasons for his parents’ murder and get his own brand of justice? Or will the Mafia get to him like it did his family? Viewers will get these questions and more answered when they tune in!
Slaughter was released by American International Pictures (AIP) in 1972. Typical of ‘70s Blaxploitation films, it was produced on a low budget of $750,000. Fortunately, it became a box office hit, with its sales garnering more than $10,000,000. This success promptly led AIP to follow-up Slaughter with a sequel, Slaughter’s Big Rip-Off, which was released the following year.
The film was not acclaimed for its plot or acting. However, most viewers, including critics, highlighted the balance and energy of action, humor, sex and violence. Particularly praised was the performance of legendary athlete-turned-actor and activist, Jim Brown. Brown represented the Black masculine ideal: he was handsome, smart, virile, brave, determined, skilled as a leader and lover, tough and committed. In the review of Slaughter on Digital Bits website, it is written that “Brown has a lot of charisma and he is always interesting to watch. This is a guy who in the movie portrays the proper stare, walk, and sexual bravura for his role. In addition to the fact that this is a non-stop action flick, Slaughter will please even the hardest fan of the exploitation films.”
The score of the film was created by Luchi de Jesus and though the film contained no soundtrack, the theme song of Slaughter was performed by gospel/funk/R&B composer and musician, Billy Preston. This title track made Billboard’s “Hot 100” list at #50 and its “R&B Singles” list at #17.
Slaughter was released on DVD in 2001 and distributed by studio MGM and on Blu-ray in 2015 by Olive Films.