Motel Hell is a horror movie that I’ve always been meaning to get around to watching. I would see it on the shelves when I was younger, begging me to rent it. Later on, I would see it mentioned by someone online and I would see that awesome picture of the man wearing a pig head and wielding a chainsaw. Why I never got around to watching it until now, we may never know. Thankfully though, the wait was worth it for the most part, as Scream Factory has released it recently on Blu-ray, with tons of special features. Now the movie isn’t as good as I hoped it would be, but honestly, no movie would ever be after waiting that long to see it, but it still ain’t half bad, just like Farmer Vincent’s fritters.
Release: Oct 18th, 1980
Run time: 101 min
Starring: Rory Calhoun, Nina Axelrod
Director: Kevin Connor
Official Trailer: Motel Hell
Short nitty-gritty plot description from the back cover is as follows: You really are what you eat with Farmer Vincent’s smoked meat in this creepy horror yarn that “packs a punch that goes way beyond mere terror” (Boxoffice). Vincent’s popular products contain a special ingredient that the psychotic farmer and his sister would literally kill to keep a secret!
Tatlock’s Quick ‘n Dirty Recap: Good ol’ Farmer Vincent (Rory Calhoun) runs a motel and on the side, makes some mean slices of meat. Now, I’m pretty sure we can all guess what is in the meat, but the way he goes about making it is something special. In between being all meat crazy with his sister, Ida (Nancy Parsons), Vincent takes in an injured girl, Terry, played by the beautiful Nina Axelrod and nurses her back to health and somehow convinces her to stay with them (this girl really isn’t all there. Me thinks she hit her head in the crash.)
Tatlock’s Opinion: That’s pretty much the meat (har har) of the story. It can be pretty damn slow at times and there isn’t enough slicing and dicing to bring in the gorehounds. However, once we get near the end of the tale, things start to cook and we get a fantastic solid 30 minutes of grin inducing mayhem. Remember that picture I mentioned early about the pig head, yeah, that bit makes this movie worth the price of admission alone. Also, Nina Axelrod starts to loosen up in the role and bares a little flesh, which makes me happy.
Blu-ray Opinion: Scream Factory does an okay job with the transfer. I mean, it isn’t mind blowing or anything, but I’m no expert and to me, it looks pretty good overall. However, what really stands out is the special features, which really bring the bacon home.
– NEW Audio Commentary with director Kevin Connor, moderated by filmmaker Dave Parker
– NEW It Takes All Kinds: The Making of MOTEL HELL featuring interviews with director Kevin Connor, producers/writers Robert Jaffe and Steven Charles Jaffe and actor Marc Silver
– NEW Shooting Old School with cinematographer Thomas Del Ruth
– Another Head on the Chopping Block: An interview with actor Paul Linke
– From Glamour to Gore: An interview with actress Rosanne Katon
– Ida, Be Thy Name: A look back at MOTEL HELL’s frightful female protagonist Ida Smith
– Original Theatrical Trailer
– Photo Galleries
Verdict: I’m glad I finally got around to watching Motel Hell and I’m even more happy that I picked up the Blu-ray. It will definitely be a movie I’m going to watch again in the future and I’m really looking forward to cracking into those special features. I recommend Motel Hell, but with a few warnings. Don’t expect a ton of horror or even much to happen in the first bit of the movie, but wait it out and you’ll be happy with the ending.