Friday, January 06, 2006

Motel Hell

Title: Motel Hell (1980)
Dir: Kevin Connor
Tagline: It takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent's fritters!
Rating: ** out of 5 stars

There is a hierarchy of b-horror films: first you have the really awesome ones (Dead Alive) , followed by the ones that aren't exactly classics, but we love anyway (for me, House II comes to mind). Then there are the really stupid ones you've probably never heard of and occasionally see in the "2 for $5" bin (I'm talking MST3K material).

Motel Hell falls somewhere between categories 2 and 3. It has some really classic, hilarious moments (like a fat woman being punched in the gut hahaha), and some really awkward "wtf?" moments. Most of the time, I could not tell if the film was trying to be funny or not.

In a nutshell, it is about a brother and sister (i think) who run a motel/slaughterhouse and to get that famous Farmer Vincent taste, use humans to make their sausage. They ambush visitors and fatten them up in a "garden" prior to slaughter. The pair, for some unknown reason, adopts a young woman named Terry who eventually finds out what they are up to (takes her WAY too long). There is also some stupid cop who loves Terry and wants to get her away from her sick foster parents.

My biggest beef is this: copping out on the gore. For a film this low-budget and this trashy, why hold back on the splatter? The director had no problems showing tits gratuitously, but insisted on cutting away from the good stuff. Bah!

The final "fight" scene is classic, where Farmer Vincent wears a pig's head and weilds a chainsaw. It isn't scary, just completely absurd. Sometimes weird works, and this scene is one example. The rest of the film? Not so much. The "garden" of people without vocal cords was kinda strangely cool. The pre-slaughter process, however, made no sense.

Motel Hell's problem is taking the weirdness level a few steps too far (into the realm of sheer stupidity). Much of the film is pretty forgettable, but a few scenes stick with you. Those scenes make or break this film. You'll either love it, or hate it with intense rage.