A psychotic redneck who owns a dilapidated hotel in rural East Texas kills various people who upset him or his business, and he feeds their bodies to a large crocodile that he keeps as a pet in the swamp beside his hotel.
Judd runs the Starlight Hotel out in some sort of swampy place and is unfortunately a few slices short of a loaf. He has a crocodile conveniently placed on the other side of the hotel's front porch railing. The croc will eat just about anything, as the hapless guests of the hotel find out soon enough. A reformed hooker, an unlucky family, and the father and sister of the hooker all suffer various rates of attrition as Judd tries to implement damage control. Written by
Ed Sutton <email@example.com>
Loosely based on the story of Joe Ball (also known as the Bluebeard from South Texas or the Alligator Man) from Elmendorf, Texas, sometime after Prohibition ended. He owned a bar with an alligator pit serving as an entertainment attraction. Several murders of women ensued that Joe Ball was suspected of, but it was never proven that the flesh found in the pit was human. However, Joe Ball committed suicide at his bar on September 24, 1938 when he was about to be arrested by the police in connection with the murders. See more »
Right at the end of the film when the crocodile pulls Judd under the water head first, look to the left of the screen to see a scuba diver under the water who turns is clearly moving. He is obviously a safety stuntman of some sort. You can clearly see his hand and is dressed in black. See more »
Tobe Hooper's 70's films still stand as his best ones! Golden horror!!
`The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' (of course) and `Death Trap' (less obvious already) are the only two films Tobe Hooper should be really remembered for as a horror director. They both are raw and chilling explorations of the angry rural America. The location of this film looks like a giant swampy area, homed by underdeveloped perverted rednecks and other freaks of society. Neville Brand terrifically portrays Judd, the isolated owner of the Starlight Hotel. Judd suffers a bit from the incapability to communicate with people and the guests at his hotel are doomed to die as soon as they enter his facility. He also has a pet crocodile swimming underneath the porch of his hotel, which is a pretty convenient method to get rid of human leftovers A poor, rejected prostitute is the first to undergo Judd's murderous rituals. Her relatives soon come to search for her and are doomed as well. In the meantime, the croc feeds on some more unfortunate by passers. Although I regard this as Hooper's second best film, it doesn't come close to the power of TCM Which kind of gives you an idea of how great I think TCM was! The settings and photography of Horror Hotel (one of the film's a.k.a's) look nasty and utterly cheap. Just as it did in TCM, this actually increases the macabre atmosphere and you constantly feel something wicked is about to happen. The characters although pretty imaginative aren't as convincing as the Sawyer family but they too seem to come running straight out of a freakshow as well! There's Judd of course, but also a very memorable Robert Englund who plays a retarded yokel with an obsession for anal sex. The scream-queen prototype Marilyn Burns returns as well before disappearing into actress-oblivion forever. The crocodile as well as most other horror scenery looks really cheap, but to me, this only increases the trash-fun value of this film. Highly recommended viewing as far as I'm concerned.
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