Sunday, June 16, 2013

My Favorite Era: Motel Hell (1980)

Motel Hell is essentially The Texas Chainsaw Massacre only without the grimy atmosphere and scares.  This makes it one of the better horror comedies out there as we learn exactly what goes into the making of Farmer Vincent's (Rory Calhoun) famous meats.  Though to be frank, if you can't guess the secret you really should turn in your film viewer card.

 The plot (what little there is) revolves around Terry (Nina Axelrod), a young woman whose boyfriend has been captured by Farmer Vincent, trying to escape whether it be by way of Sheriff Bruce (Paul Linke), Vincent's brother or other means.

The movie has a nice, creepy atmosphere with the motel and farm surrounding it making for a great horror location.  Performances are quite good with Calhoun putting in a great job as the charming, though rather deranged Farmer Vincent and Nancy Parsons doing good work as Vincent's sister/accomplice.  They make a nicely creepy, oddly charming duo.  Everyone else does good work too as the humor comes from the utter seriousness with which the performers take the material.

 Motel Hell is backwoods horror at its finest with a nice, easygoing pace and some good acting.  I especially like the finale which sees Vincent donning a pig head to do battle with his brother who has fallen for Terry.  It's a bravura bit of filmmaking (as a duel with chainsaws is bound to be) and I think I must have caught a glimpse of this as a little kid as I recall having a recurring nightmare about being chased by a guy with a pig's head.

If the film has a flaw, it might be that it's a little too pacy for its own good.  The film runs just over 100 minutes and to be honest, a few minutes here and there could have been trimmed.  Still, it's a ghoulishly amusing dark horror comedy with a great ending (not to mention a funny joke from Vincent as he dies) and is well worth seeing at least once.

Before we go, here's one of the best Fangoria covers, the very rare issue #9 which features Motel Hell on the cover.  Until next time!

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.