Motel Hell (1980)
Directed by Kevin Connor
Midnight: Friday (November 9) and Saturday (November 10)
1. The first time I ever heard of Motel Hell was when I watched part of it on AMC at 2:30 in the morning, back when AMC played things like this at 2:30 in the morning.
2. For as silly as it is, Motel Hell skeezes me out. You’d think that Rory Calhoun’s lusty gaze at Nina Axelrod’s cans would be the worst part, but the gurbles and croaks that come from Calhoun’s garden of mutilated captives is barely watchable it’s so unpleasant.
3. Incidentally, Motel Hell is about a farmer/hotel proprietor who captures travelers and makes award winning barbecue out of them. After capturing one couple in a staged auto-accident, the farmer takes a shining to the lady and things kind of go sour from there.
4. I had an English professor who once spent an entire class explaining how this is his favorite movie. Dude was from Trinidad and dedicated his life to T.S. Eliot, but his favorite movie is about Rory Calhoun chasing a girl with a chainsaw while wearing a gigantic pig’s head. Go figure.
5. The first time I saw this movie in its entirety I wrote a rather negative review for it. I thought that its central premise of casting rural folk as insane cannibals was lazy and kind of got offended by it.
6. I do rather like this paragraph though: “You know whose fault this is? Lazy screenwriters. That and Deliverance, but mostly it’s the screenwriters. In order to build suspense, your characters need to be isolated and their cell phones need to break, and rather than come up with anything original, horror writers just ship them off to the middle of nowhere and call it an homage to somethingorother. The problem is you also need a threat. And what’s in the middle of nowhere besides nothing? Rednecks. And cows. So what you get are killer rednecks with a weird hang-up on slaughtering things.”
Or killer cows, you can get those too, I guess.
7. Speaking of Rory Calhoun wearing a pig’s head. Did I mention that this movie features Rory Calhoun wearing a gigantic pig’s head? It is fan-fucking-tastic
8. Do you think there’s a Motel Hello out there? There has to be. I don’t want to stay there, but I want it to exist.
9. For some reason, whenever I think of the name “Rory Calhoun” it’s said in the voice of one of the characters of “Mystery Science Theater”–late period Crow, I think. The odd part is, I don’t think Rory Calhoun is in an episode of MST3k.
10. Fair warning about Motel Hell before you go–it’s slow. You know those exploitation movies you expect to be really kinetic and crazy and then you watch it and fall asleep? Motel Hell is kind of like that. Believe me though, there’s enough insane imagery–Calhoun’s garden of heads, some raunchy sex from people who really shouldn’t be having raunchy sex on camera, and the fact that Rory Calhoun makes man-barbecue–to make Motel Hell well worth seeing. It may be slow, but boy is it strange.