Night #17: Motel Hell (1980)

motelhell

Directed By: Kevin Connor

Sometimes I wonder about the karmic implications of these actions.

I don’t know how to categorise this one. Perhaps we should go with ‘black comedy’ instead of ‘horror’, but even that doesn’t quite do it justice. Back when I was one of those people who browsed newsgroups, someone on alt.horror used to have a line from this flick as their signature and I still remember it now, which probably goes to show how much I was on there. So for a good few years of my life the title was usually in the back of my mind, even if I never sought out the movie.

Thankfully that all changed.

First off, if you think the title Motel Hell is a little goofy then congratulations, you’ve got it. It is goofy and the movie knows it. From what I gather the original script was much more horrific, but director Kevin Connor changed that when he came on board. Instead what you get is something that’s kind of akin to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, right down to a chainsaw fight.

In this, Vincent and his sister Ida run the titular motel. They’re a god-fearing pair who also happen to sell some very popular meat. One look at the poster should kind of give it away, Early on we watch Vincent cause a bike crash running a couple off the road. The man dies but the woman, Terry is knocked unconscious. Vincent brings her home and soon enough Terry becomes part of the family, all while Vincent and Ida try to keep their secret.

That’s kind of it really. This isn’t a movie that’s particuarly high on plot and that’s fine. It’s not particulaly high on scares either. And that’s also fine. It does have some macabre imagery, particularly when you see what Vincent and Ida are up to (Again, the poster kind of spoils that but even so) and it has some pretty fun performances.

It’s just the right side of wrong, particularly the love story that develops between Terry and Vincent, given that he’s about 50 years older than she is and it takes her no time at all to decide that she’s in love with him (Though Vincent is a little chaste and insists nothing can happen before marriage). A particular highlight is when a pair of swingers who show up and declare themselves to be arguably perverted characters on film. “Do you think they’re into animals?” the man asks. “Oh I hope so,” coos the woman, somewhat unbelievably.

It reminds me of something more like a Russ Meyer movie than a horror one, with it’s tongue firmly in cheek. But it’s something that’s well worth watching…just maybe not with dinner.

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