Thursday, January 19, 2017

It Takes All Kinds of Critters, or Thoughts on Motel Hell

Equal parts Friday the 13th  (1980), Psycho (1960) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Motel Hell (1980) is a low budget, oddball and surreal movie based on the primordial fear that if you trick people into eating humans, they’ll actually enjoy it and develop a taste for it; an uncontrollable craving, if you will.  It’s the kind of diet that can make a person run around wearing a pig head waving a chainsaw
Veteran TV actor Rory Calhoon is Farmer Vincent, owner and operator of Farmer Vincent’s Smoked Meats and the Motel Hello (but the O is burned out, get it?).  The secret of his beef jerky is of course, supplied from the unlucky motorists that check into Motel Hell or crash from the numerous traps Farmer Vincent has set on the back roads surrounding his farm.  Once he gets his victims it gets weird; along with his sister Ida they bury the people alive in their garden, leaving the heads exposed like a severed head cabbage patch.  I think this was a technique to season the meat, but the filmmakers weren’t specific.  Trouble arrives when Vincent saves Terry, played by Nina Axelrod, and decides to marry her.
From director Kevin Connor of From Beyond the Grave (1974), Motel Hell has been presented as a satire, but in truth it comes across more as a failed horror comedy.  Coming as it did at the height of the slasher movie, the satirical moments were overwhelmed by the gore, which even now seem more like lame jokes and bad writing rather than a deliberate, directorial choice.  

Watch out for legendary Rock n’ Roll DJ Wolfman Jack as Reverend Billy, the town preacher who promises to marry Vincent and Terry.


my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).