06 October 2014

October 6th

Motel Hell (1980) directed by Kevin Connor
That iconic image. That one, over there on the right on the Fango cover. That one, tricking people into watching this movie with the promise of a psycho with a pig head and a chainsaw. It's a classic horror marketing gimmick. Movie a dud? Spruce up its appeal by making it look more horrifying than it really is. It didn't work on me back in my VHS-renting days. I'd heard the movie was a disappointment and resisted the urge to rent the box with the intriguing pig-headed guy on it for decades.

Motel Hell is often more of a black comedy than a horror film. Farmer Vincent and his sister Ida run both a motel and a successful smoked meats company. This being a horror film involving a chainsaw, the jerky they sell has human flesh in it, which they obtain by causing accidents on a nearby road. Instead of killing their captured prey right off, the farmers literally plant them in their garden, burying them up to their necks. They then slice their vocal cords and force-feed them pig slop to fatten then up for butchering. It's about as silly as it sounds, with their planted victims making a zombie-like growling sound all of the time and Farmer Vincent using swirling lights to trip them out so they're calm for slaughtering time.

All of that's not even much of the movie, which is mostly about crash victim Terry. Vincent decides to spare her and invites her into his home to stay. None too bright, she buys his explanation that he has already buried her traveling companion because he died in the accident. She grows to love Vincent and is eager to help with the meat business. Sister Ida grows jealous. Terry eventually discovers the horrible secret of the meat. The dashing sheriff rescues her. It's nothing much special, except for the fantastic chainsaw duel at the end.


1 comment:

  1. The Pig-Head image made an impression on me too. I remember seeing it during a Joe Bob Briggs' Monster-Vision promo and being slightly freaked out by it. Took me years to see this one and, I'll speak honestly, and admit I don't remember much else about it.

    Also, bizarrely, one of my grandfather's favorite movies.