Motel Hell (1980): It takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent's fritters.
A short review of a movie for which my only regret is not seeing it sooner.
What an awesome little gem of a film this is. If you're in the mood for something quirky and demented, Motel Hell is the perfect choice. Farmer Vincent, owner of Motel Hello (and it just so happens that the neon sign's "o" is out) and famous meat smoker, has got a fantastic business going for himself. Anyone want to guess what the secret ingredient is for Vincent's delicious meats? You guessed correctly. He kidnaps hotel guests and nearby travellers in order to harvest them for his recipe. Meat's meat and a man's gotta' eat, right?
I don't even know where to begin with this film because it is just so offbeat in all the right ways. It's surprsingly well-made and easy to watch, with just enough oddities to keep you on your toes. I was expecting a grainy, 4X3 transfer from VHS, but alas, it looked pretty good in it's 16x9 glory. All of the technical elements are doing their job, which is more than I can say about a lot of the 80's gold I watch. The writing and acting are also up to par. Although there are the occassional line deliveries that could make you cringe (particularly from the Sheriff), the dialogue and performances match the tone of the film perfectly and play off pretty well. Farmer Vincent is superb as a man who sincerely believes in his work and he's actually pretty likeable. Ida, Vincent's sister, is also enjoyable as the corpulent, pig-tailed, overall-wearing accomplice. The Sheriff's sporadic bad lines become treasures for you to relish, reminding you that you are watching a movie called Motel Hell after all.
After Vincent blows the tires off a motorcylce on a desolate road, the pretty Terry survives while her male companion does not. Vincent takes her in as a daughter (or at least, that's what we think at first) and having no where to go without her significant other, Terry amazingly agrees to stay on the motel/farm, not knowing the real cause of the accident. She takes a liking to the country life, all the while Vincent and Ida are participating in some rauncy farming during the night. As this film goes on, it just gets weirder and weirder. Terry tries to have sex with Vincent, but he refuses until they marry (Whoa there!). And so then he proposes and she accepts (Whaaa?). Ida has this strange jealousy of their relationship, even though she's his sister (uh-oh). You got a couple arriving at the hotel interested in performing bizarre sexual acts with Vincent and Ida (ewwww). You get the Sheriff, who is Vincent's brother and in love with Terry, claiming that Vincent has syphillis of the brain and a prune where is manhood should be (ughhh). Needless to say, there's some deviant stuff going on and it only endeared this movie to me even more.
And the conclusion of this film does not disappoint. Vengeful victims attacking Ida and Vincent like herds of angry cattle. People wearing severed pig heads. A freaking chainsaw duel!!!! If you haven't seen Motel Hell, you need to. It's cooky. It's funny. It's creepy. It's twisted. What more could you ask for?