Motel Hell (1980) Poster

(1980)

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Surprisingly enjoyable black comedy. Lots of fun!
Infofreak31 July 2002
I love a good horror movie, and I love a good comedy, but very rarely do I enjoy a blending of the two. I expected 'Motel Hell' to disappoint for that reason, but much to my surprise I found it was an extremely enjoyable mixture of black humour and genuinely creepy scenes. One of the reasons the movie works so well is because of the excellent casting choice of Hollywood veteran Rory Calhoun in the lead role of eccentric farmer and Motel manager Vincent Smith. Calhoun was best known for his Westerns, though he made one of two genre movies in his long career including the very silly 'Night Of The Lepus', and the nutty 'Hell Comes To Frogtown'. 'Motel Hell' is quite different to those two, and mostly played straight, which makes it all the more effective. Calhoun is well supported by the less well known Nancy Parsons ('Porky's'), as his equally unbalanced sister. I really liked 'Motel Hell' a lot, and highly recommend it to viewers with a sick sense of humour. Fans of early Tobe Hooper movies, or some of Garth Ennis' comics will especially appreciate it. This movie is a lot of fun! Dig in!
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8/10
Smoke 'em if you got 'em!!!
Coventry13 January 2006
Kevin Connor's "Motel Hell" is a tremendously fun and engaging horror comedy, impossible not to love in my humble opinion. Right from the opening sequences, the film sells itself as a light-headed and blackly humorous gem that spoofs some of the genre's biggest classics without ever disrespecting them. The references towards milestones like "Psycho" and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" are obvious but, unlike many haters of "Motel Hell" claim, this is certainly not a rip off! I don't think you can compare the clearly humorous premise of this film, which handles about cultivating human beings to mix the meat with pork, with dead serious stories like the above mentioned "Psycho" or "TCM". Rory Calhoun, usually a western star, is terrifically cast as the traditional and likable Farmer Vincent who's a local demigod in his county, thanks to his uniquely flavored, homemade smoked ham recipe. Of course, nobody knows that Vincent and his sister Ida are totally insane and extract their secret ingredients from nothing less than people, who they "plant" in their garden. This simply is campy entertainment, very tongue-in-cheek, fast-paced and with a couple of adorably gross make-up effects. Connor's directing is solid and he makes excellent use of the typically eerie "redneck" stereotypes, such as the clumsy sheriff and the barbaric farmers. The chainsaw-battle sequence during the finale is a real hoot. Highly recommended for horror fans who don't take themselves too seriously.
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7/10
An underrated and fun horror comedy!
Snake-6662 November 2003
The distinctive taste of Farmer Vincent's (Rory Calhoun) prime meats is renowned in the farmer's rural area. In fact people come from far and wide to sample his uniquely delicious meat treats. The only real question is why is there rarely anyone staying in his nearby motel and yet the `No Vacancy' sign is usually on?

‘Motel Hell' is a fun and somewhat graphic parody of films like ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' (1974) and ‘The Last House on the Left' (1972). By sparingly using shock tactics and graphic effects, ‘Motel Hell' plays up the more satirical aspect and keeps the viewer interested and entertained. In fact, the movie easily equals the number of shocking moments with a variety of funny and charming sequences which range from heckling televangelists to a hilarious send-up of the lives of swingers. Viewers of ‘Motel Hell' can be treated to a chainsaw duel (possible influence for ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2'), a garden of humans being prepared for harvesting, cannibalism and a particularly stomach-churning conversation about smoking dogs. This movie is without a doubt one of the most underrated movies of its era and while not being as effective, or enjoyable, as ‘Re-Animator' (1985) and ‘Evil Dead 2' (1987), it remains an intelligent, gruesome and witty horror/comedy. Unfortunately the movie tends to drag a little shortly before the final sequences which can be slightly off-putting. However, the highly enjoyable and eventful ten minutes more than make up for this brief lapse and round the film off almost perfectly.

Rory Calhoun, without a shadow of a doubt, steals the show with his portrayal of the deranged yet surprisingly pleasant Vincent. Some adept scripting from Robert and Steven-Charles Jaffe give his murderous character a somewhat pleasant and appealing personality. The viewer can only laugh at the God-fearing persona that Vincent possesses as he talks about the creative and artistic way he catches stray humans to mix in with his meat. Rory is brilliantly accompanied by Nancy Parsons in the role of his overweight and slightly dim-witted sister Ida. One could even question whether Ida is supposed to be a female and slightly more intelligent version of TCM's Leatherface. The rarely seen and beautiful actress Nina Axelrod is also delightful in her role as Terry, a young woman who was caught in but survived one of Vincent's devious traps. Unfortunately the scripting for the character of Terry was rather poor and it becomes hard for the viewer to connect with her. However, given the material she had to work with, Nina put in an impressive performance and when required, added greatly to the humorous aspect of the movie. One cannot also neglect to mention Paul Linke who plays Vincent's (much) younger brother Sheriff Bruce Smith. Linke's performance, although the weakest of the main actors, is still enjoyable and provides both a villain and a hero in one.

Kevin Connor's direction was of a particularly high standard although it seemed basic during the opening portions of the movie. Connor managed to capture the devilish yet fun atmosphere of the script and worked in all of the clever references to other movies seamlessly. These references (in addition to those already mentioned) included a captivating comedic illustration of ‘Night of the Living Dead' (1968) and Zombie Holocaust which was released in Italy earlier the same year. ‘Motel Hell' is probably worth watching for horror/comedy fans; though do not expect another ‘Evil Dead 2'. Thanks to some usually good scripting, above average performances and some truly side-splitting situations, ‘Motel Hell' succeeds at what it sets out to be - great fun for cheesy horror lovers! My rating for ‘Motel Hell' – 7/10.
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9/10
I Wonder about the Karmic Implications of These Acts
reverendtom28 April 2004
Motel Hell is a near perfect film. It is gross, funny, intelligent, and altogether VERY well done. There is so much great dialogue and excellent symbolism, and great acting. Rory Calhoun is the most likable evil human flesh farmer I've ever seen. There really isn't too much gore in this film, but it grosses you out on so many levels, especially if you eat meat, which I do. The ending, while being awesome in its own way, leaves a little something to be desired. All in all, if you love horror, and you have a sense of humor, check this one on out. I liked it more the second time I saw it, which is a sign of quality.
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7/10
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre meets The Beverly Hillbillies.
wbhickok25 July 2001
How can anybody not love the campy awfulness of this movie. It's fantastic! I remember seeing this when I was roughly eleven or so and being freaked out by the guy wearing the pigface brandishing a chainsaw, now I just laugh as I realize how funny it all was supposed to be. A camp classic all the way!
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7/10
Well made horror
BloodTheTelepathicDog20 April 2005
I love this movie! Nothing beats a deranged hillbilly farmer who wears a severed hog's head to terrorize people.

Rory Calhoun and Paul Linke are wonderful in their roles. Rory effectively pulls off the mild-mannered farmer with a dark secret routine, while Paul Linke handles the role of jealous cop perfectly.

Nina Axelrod supplies the sex appeal, and capably I might add. Though her penchant for much older men is a little disturbing.

This film has gained a solid cult following thanks to end showdown of good vs. evil, with Rory wearing that hog's head and chasing after Paul Linke with a chainsaw.
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10/10
What a great masterpiece!
Joe 2517 October 1998
Rory Calhoun gives one of the best performances in his career in this masterpiece of a movie as Farmer Vincent, a man who makes meat products with "Special" ingredients. Helping him out is his sister, in a good acting job, Nancy Parsons as his sister Ida. Also rounding out the supporting cast is Bruce Linke as Cousin Bruce, and Nina Axelrod as a woman who Vincent takes in after a motorcycle accident. It also has the famous Wolfman Jack in a small role as Rev. Billy

This is a great comedic horror, and has the obviously famous line "It takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent's fritters"
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9/10
Great!
indie1913 August 1999
I really enjoyed this movie! It is so funny! Rory Calhoun does an excellent job as Farmer Vincent, and I give credit to the filmmakers for concocting such a masterpiece! Rent this movie as soon as possible, you definitely want to see it before you die!
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Delicatessen and bible.
dbdumonteil22 August 2003
Warning: Spoilers
"Motel Hell" is certainly underrated, if only for its wonderful black humor.The couple Rory Calhoun -who used to play in westerns such as "river of no return "and now enjoys in the movie some kind of retirement in the country- and Nancy Parsons who plays his obese sister Ida shines.They use the guests of their motel as raw material for their delicious sausages :this may seem very hackneyed,but the treatment is not.Calhoun's character is certainly a villain,but he spends most of the time praying the Lord,and he couldn't indulge himself extramarital sex.

There are several hilarious scenes:brother and sister whistling a gentle tune while they are doing very bad things or exchanging dead bodies,while simpering.

But the best gag comes at the end when the delicatessen dealer reveals his biggest sin:watch for it,it's priceless.
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7/10
Perfect example of 80's schlock horror.
WolfGifford20 April 2005
Having been increasingly disappointed by the recent slew of 'horror' films that have bee released I was greatly cheered when I caught this at a late night show recently. It was a timely reminder that there is good horror out there - even if it is over 20 years old!! For once, the blending of horror and comedy really works. The film is played dead straight (most of the time) and that is why it succeeds where so many recent horror/comedies fail. By not constantly tipping it's hat to the audience and pointing out how clever it's being it allows the audience to really appreciate how ludicrous it is - without the frequent reminders that the filmmakers think they're cool. In the space of 90mins we get nudity, cannibalism, amateur surgery, a hilarious 'love' story, creepy characters, a dumb policeman, a chainsaw duel, lots of gore and some very spaced out characters. What more could you ask for? It's this movies overwhelming sense of fun that really works. You can imagine the filmmakers laughing their asses off making this - and that enthusiasm comes right of the screen and is very infectious. The audience I saw this with laughed, clapped and some gave it a standing ovation at the end. Do you need a better recommendation?
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9/10
You might just die laughing!
Nightman8525 September 2005
Funny, deliciously campy black comedy-horror spoof is a bit of a forgotten gem.

Just what kind of meat is it that Farmer Vincent and his sister are cookin' up out there at their rural motel? My, it just tastes so good!

Motel Hell stands out as one of the best horror comedy combos out there. The whole movie has such a tongue-in-cheek manner, with moments of purely hilarious absurdity. It has a kind of DC Comics dark humor that really works to the film's advantage. There's plenty of memorable moments and jokes, not to mention a lively climax that's probably the greatest (and most humorous) spoof of Texas Chainsaw' ever! Yet director Connor manages to give the movie a strange seriousness that only adds to the comic feeling of it all.

The cast is pretty good. Rory Calhoun is best as the unforgettable Farmer Vincent (who has a secret!). Nancy Parsons is a trip as Vincent's portly sister Ida. Paul Linke is perfect as the bumbling younger brother of the two who is also the local sheriff.

There's a few moments of violence and gore, especially in "the garden" scenes. Lance Rubin offers up a surprisingly elegant music score for the movie. Also, let's not forget the memorable country theme song "You're Eating out my Heart and Soul".

For those who have yet to see this movie, watch it. It's best taken in a non-serious mood!

*** 1/2 out of ****
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6/10
Meat's meat and man's gotta eat!
Scarecrow-8821 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Vincent(Rory Calhoun, looks like just a good ole boy, but something sinister hides under those supposed kind eyes)has the finest, most renowned meats in the county. Everyone loves that meat. Vincent is only so glad to furnish his crowd with what they believe is ham, but they have no idea of what they are really munching down on with glee. Vincent and his large sister Ida(Nancy Parsons)really put a lot of work and joy into their meat business. They feel they are not only supplying their community but doing a little part for the man upstairs. Well, that secret ingredient for Vincent and Ida's renowned meat is..human flesh! Oh, but Vincent feels he's justifiably doing a favor for God by replenishing his customers with human meat. Ida justifies their actions by following her mantra of, "Somebody's got to take responsibility for the planet." Vincent also feels that there's too many people in the world and not enough food. And, Vincent sure enjoys setting up traps to catch his human meat. We watch as unwary travellers driving down the wrong highway run across bear traps and shotgun bullets piercing their tires. They then take the human beings they catch, bury their bodies up to the neck in fertile soil, sever the vocal chords so that they can only gurgle without being able to cry for help, and await certain doom. If the victims are lucky, Vincent and Ida might snap their necks. One mistake Vincent makes is taking the very sexy Terry(Nina Axelrod..interesting name considering it might describe a situation for a lot of males as they see her rack)into their home..while "planting" her boyfriend, who she is told is dead and buried, in the human meat garden. Sheriff Bruce Smith(Paul Linke)is the black sheep of the family as he doesn't understand that his brother and sister are cooking human flesh for jerky.

Will anyone stop Vincent and Ida's dastardly deeds? This is one sick puppy. Tongue definitely in cheek. How's this for casting..Wolfman Jack plays a reverend! And, John Ratzenberger(you know Cliff the mailman on Cheers)plays a heavy metal rocker who gets planted in the meat garden!!
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10/10
"It takes all kinds of critters, to make 'Farmer Vincent's Fritters'"
alanmora16 December 2006
This is one of the best horror movies ever made! With just the right blend of comedy, suspense, gore and horror "Motel Hell" is a real treat and the kind of film that can be watched over and over again. Nancy Parsons and Rory Calhoun's performances in particular are outstanding but the entire cast is brilliant...there's even a cameo appearance by the legendary radio personality Wolfman Jack as a preacher of all things! Parsons and Calhoun play Ida and Vincent Smith, a bizarre brother and sister duo who run the local motel in town. They also have a side business known as "Farmer Vincent's Smoked Meats". These meats consist of pork mixed with "Secret Spices"...the kind of spices that Vincent and Ida keep in the Secret Garden buried up to their necks with their vocal cords slit but as Granny used to always say "Meat's Meat and Man's Gotta Eat!". You cannot call yourself a horror fan without first checking into "Motel Hell"...this film is a MUST!
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7/10
Smoked meat, a real treat!
Vomitron_G8 March 2006
In my opinion, there's only one way when mixing comedy and horror actually works, and that's when the comedy is pitch-black. Director Kevin Connor got that part all figured out, and thus MOTEL HELL can be regarded as a successful horror/comedy mixture. It also manages to give a big nod to THE Texas CHAINSAW MASSACRE by paying homage to it and making fun of it (as opposed to what some people might think, MOTEL HELL is not a TCM-rip-off). I even suspect Tobe Hooper might have found some inspiration in MOTEL HELL for his end-battle in TCM 2 between Dennis Hopper and Leatherface.

The cinematography and camera-movements are surprisingly decent for this rather low-budget flick, as well as some make-up effects (I loved it when the camera slowly travels through the dark living-room only to reveal Nancy Parsons hiding behind the door, holding a big knife at the end of the travel-shot). It's best that you know nothing about the story, but then again knowing that it's about a farmer running a hotel does say a lot, doesn't it. Farmer Vincent Smith sure re-defines the word "agri-culture". There isn't very much gore to admire but the idea alone is sick enough to satisfy any horror-fan. The story itself is fun and has a satisfying climax. I only had one problem with the motivations of Nina Axelrod's character. Why wasn't she more upset about her dead boyfriend? Why did she stay with the Smiths anyway? Didn't she have places to go or weren't there friends and family waiting for her? But I guarantee you'll soon forget those questions when she provides some welcome nudity.

So MOTEL HELL has black humor, demented farmers and a creepy motel. That makes up for a good movie, I'd say.
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6/10
Cannibalistic sausages sold in a motel hell
macabro3571 June 2004
Another 80s B classic that had a run at the drive-ins before drive-ins went out of style. Rory Calhoun and Nancy Parsons run a roadside motel that likes to slaughter it's guests and turn them into sausage.

They have a neat little slaughterhouse and smoke room out the back where they take their victims after planting them in a garden (with only their heads exposed) and fattening them up for the slaughter. And when the guest attendance at the motel falls off, Calhoun sets traps out on the highway for passing motorists so that he can add them to his garden.

It also has Nina Axelrod as the girl that Calhoun and Parson take pity on and 'adopt' as one of their own, and Paul Linke as the dumb sheriff who bumbles his way into finally ending Calhoun's operation, once and for all.

There's a clumsy little fight sequence in the smokehouse at the end involving knives and cleavers, with all the action taking place surrounding a vat filled with body parts.

Worth a one-time look. Brainless fun.

6 out of 10
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9/10
Hilariously funny,grisly and bizarre horror comedy.
HumanoidOfFlesh15 February 2002
"Motel Hell" has loads of style and rural atmosphere,plenty of laughs plus a little bit of gore.The film was somewhat influenced by "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre"(1974)and "Eaten Alive"(1976),but there are some original ideas floating here like planting(?)people in the garden.Rory Calhouln is amazing as a Farmer Vincent,and the finale when he wears the pigface is a hoot!Highly recommended.
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6/10
be honest not that good but the end gave it it's cult status
trashgang20 June 2013
A combination between a hillbilly and a slasher horror that normally should had been directed by Tobe Hooper but Universal found the script really bad so out goes Tobe who went on to direct The Funhouse (1981). To be honest there's really not that much to see about gory shots if we see what came out the same year, Friday The 13th (1980) but for so many it's the chainsaw and the pig head that makes this movie.

It clocks in over 90 minutes and in fact there's a lot of talking going on. Sure, we do see the victims in the garden but nothing looks creepy or whatsoever. Maybe it's disturbing in some way but it's really low on the red stuff. The acting of course of Rory Calhoun as Vincent and and Nancy Parsons as Ida do deliver towards this horror.

Maybe you can't take it all to seriously because there's also some black comedy to spot here and there and of course one full frontal and some tits here and there.

Still up to today it's a much spoken flick due the pig head who also gave Fangoria some problems when they added that particular picture on their cover and is still one of the most searched issues of Fangoria.

Just have a look now that it finally has it's Blu Ray release to see where the cult status came from, the chainsaw and the hog's head.

Gore 0/5 Nudity 0,5/5 Effects 1/5 Story 2,5/5 Comedy 1/5
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9/10
'If there weren't a lady present, you might not be alive right now!'
Zombified_66019 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I try and avoid giving out tens willy-nilly, but I'm sorely tempted to do so with Motel Hell. This well-humoured, cleverly written cannibal flick is only really let down by its pacing. Roy Calhoun turns in a cracking performance as Vincent, a friendly homely sort of fellow, who makes the best damn smoked meat money can buy. However, it has a secret ingredient, namely anyone who passes through or by his Motel.

Motel Hell gene-splices The Dukes of Hazzard, Evil Dead and The Hills Have Eyes into a strange hybrid of knockaround yokel comedy and surreal and gory horror. Farmer Vincent is by turns an amiable old man and a disturbing religious nutter who's dealing with the scum of the earth by killing them and eating them. Calhoun is unmissable as the misguided loony, and watching him almost get away with one of the most bizarre killing sprees in recent movie history is half of the films fun.

The other half is the wonderful script. Every scene is cleverly thought out and witty, and even the demented final reel with its horde of seasoned and prepared would-be-meat zombies and meat-packing-plant chainsaw duel is planned down to a tee. Motel Hell never feels rushed or cliché, and that's the genius of it.

It's also its only real downfall though. The slow pace of the movie is at odds with the hilarity of the script and the madness of the premise. Though the movie kicks into high gear as a horror in the last half-hour, more evenly spread out horror and shocks would make the movie a little more balanced and maybe more accessible than it is. However, if more action had been added the scene wouldn't be set in such a subtle and believable way, and I for one am glad for the sedentary pace as it gives you a chance to get to know all the characters.

Motel Hell deserves a place in any horror buffs collection. It's cleverer than Evil Dead and a lot funnier than anything else that was going on in the early 80s, and to be honest, deserves much more recognition than it currently gets. Check it out right now.
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4/10
Calhoun's easy-going charm saves this one
preppy-314 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Farmer Vincent (Rory Calhoun) runs Motel Hello with his sister Ida (Nancy Parsons). He also causes accidents for unsuspecting motorists, buries them up to their necks in a secret garden...and periodically kills them to make his delicious famous meat. There's also unsuspecting Terry (Nina Axelrod) and bumbling sheriff Bruce (Paul Linke).

This is a failed attempt at a cannibal comedy. The basic idea of the script is decent but it's ruined by terrible dialogue and stupid comedy. To make things worse Axelrod and Linke have to be two of the worst actors I've ever seen. Axelrod is beautiful but has zero acting ability. Linke is somewhat handsome but acts like an idiot most of the time. Also Parsons goes WAY over the top in her role. It's amusing at first but gets tired pretty quickly. The only thing that saves this is a few--very few--comedic and horror bits do work (LOVE the homage to "Night of the Living Dead" near the end) and Calhoun. He has an easy-going charm that suits this role perfectly and does what he can with his bad dialogue. His casual explanation about why he's doing this is very funny and his final line is a classic. So it is worth seeing for him and the final chainsaw fight is kind of fun. Still I was bored more often that not. I can only give it a 4.
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Worst movie......ever!
riker198515 August 2003
I watched this film, and I thought it was the most rediculous thing Ive ever seen. I then commenced to look up the film in a movie guide book I own that was writen be Leonard Maltin. I was, to say the least, shocked that he gave this movie 1.5 stars, when he'll give other movies, that are truely classics, ratings that are even lower. The only enjoyable thing about this film was the personal revilation of a refference. In Pee-Wee's Big Adventure Large Marge and the man in the truck stop are the Smith's in this movie. I take that as a great joke, lead to us by the amazing Tim Burton.
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8/10
Horror black comedy treat
Woodyanders10 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Amiable Farmer Vincent Smith (an excellent and engaging performance by Rory Calhoun) and his loopy sister Ida (broadly played with lip-smacking zeal by Nancy Parsons) use human beings as the key secret ingredient in Vincent's famous smoked meat. Complications ensue when Vincent falls for lovely young lass Terry (a charming portrayal by fetching blonde Nina Axelrod).

Director Kevin Connor does an ace job of crafting a perfectly ghoulish tongue-in-cheek EC Comics-style creeped-out atmosphere, maintains a steady pace throughout, and pulls out all the thrilling stops for the wild climactic chainsaw duel. The witty script by Robert Jaffe and Steven-Charles Jaffe not only smartly satirizes such horror landmarks as "Psycho" and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," but also pokes wickedly amusing fun at the radical cultural shift that occurred when the loose libertine permissiveness of the 1970's gave way to the uptight repressive conservatism of the 1980's (Vincent and Ida think they are doing mankind a great service by preying upon such social undesirables as bikers, punk rockers, and prostitutes). This film acquires an extra chilling and unsettling edge by presenting its killers as supremely friendly and jolly good ol' country folks. Moreover, the cast really sink their teeth into the juicy macabre material: Paul Linke contributes a likable turn as bumbling sheriff Bruce Smith, Wolfman Jack has a ball as flashy televangelist Reverend Billy, Elaine Joyce and Dick Curtis are hilarious as a kinky swinging couple, Playboy Playmates Rosanne Katon and Monique St. Pierre pop up as a pair of hookers, and John Ratzenberger has a small part as a punk band drummer. Thomas Del Ruth's garish cinematography provides a funky neon look. Wholly deserving of its cult classic status.
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7/10
You're eating out my heart and soul, girl...
Hey_Sweden9 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
As far as horror comedies go, "Motel Hell" is good, not great. It goes on a little long, and could have used more energy and better pacing, but when it does hit, it scores a bulls' eye. It does manage to often be genuinely funny in a dark way as well as creating some memorable bits of creepiness. It also gives its viewers a gem of a big finish: a chainsaw duel. It's a flavourful, atmospheric down-home flick that does populate its story with characters with whom one won't mind spending their time.

Much of the credit should go to Western veteran Rory Calhoun, who's wonderful as demented good ol' boy farmer Vincent Smith, who both operates a backwoods motel (it's actually the Motel Hello, but the O in the neon sign burned out) and manufactures the best smoked meat within a 100 mile radius. It ain't exactly hard to figure out Vincent's secret ingredient, but it takes his lawman brother Bruce (Paul Linke of 'CHiPS') a while to catch on. Meanwhile, Vincent takes a shine to Terry (lovely Nina Axelrod), a sweet young thing who falls prey to one of his traps.

Capably supporting old Rory is amiable Nancy Parsons, the character actress known best to most people as Balbricker in the "Porky's" series. There's also the curiosity value of seeing the legendary raspy voiced DJ Wolfman Jack in an acting role, as he plays Reverend Billy (and can also be heard on the radio, naturally). Keep an eye for Monique St. Pierre, Playboy Playmate of the year in 1979, and future 'Cheers' cast member John Ratzenberger, as two of the victims.

Certainly the audience won't forget the sight & sound of Vincents' prey buried up to their necks in the ground and making horrible gurgling noises after getting their vocal cords slit. That's the creepy part. Overall, the movie is likable and not without style, thanks to director Kevin Connor ("The Land That Time Forgot"). It's got some memorably quotable dialogue and a priceless final line from Vincent.

Mixing comedy and horror can be a hard thing to get right but at least "Motel Hell" strikes a reasonable balance throughout.

Seven out of 10.
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7/10
This Early Slasher Film is Fun Enough, I Guess
brando6473 January 2012
Here's a nice bit of early slasher fun with all the usual trimmings: psychotic hillbillies, bizarre murders, a clueless cop, a hot blonde, and…uhm…jerky? Farmer Vincent and his sister Ida run a motel on the outskirts of town famous for it's homemade meat fritters. What the unsuspecting townspeople don't know is that Vincent and Ida lure travelers and passersby into traps and they disappear as part of the "garden", where the victims are left to wait until good and ready to become Vincent's next batch of meat treats. One night, Vincent takes out a motorcycle carrying a man and his girlfriend; the man is relegated to the garden but Vincent takes a shine to the girl and, with the help of his sister, nurses her back to health. The girl, Terry, is frightened at first but begins to open up to the oddball backwoods duo. Problems arise when Vincent falls in love with Terry and hopes to introduce her to his secret meat recipes, while Ida stews in jealousy of Vincent's shifting affections. The only person who can save Terry from these maniacs is Sheriff Bruce Smith, Vincent's brother and an ignorant putz who probably shouldn't be left in charge of policing others. So yeah, I guess she's pretty much doomed to become one of Farmer Vincent's fritters.

MOTEL HELL is a cheap little throwaway horror film from the early '80s. The story is simple yet strange, the characters are exaggerated, and the story is just what you'd expect. The whole plot of planting his victims in his garden and turning them into fritters is pretty cool, and the guttural noises screeched from the garden's inhabitants is probably the most stomach-churning aspect of the movie. Well, that's not entirely true. Ida (Nancy Parsons) freaks me out. I guess it's a combination of her deep-set eyes, childish pigtails, overalls, and that nasal squealing voice. Add to that the fact that her character is a simple-minded fool with no qualms against murder, and she just weirds me out from the first time we meet her. Farm Vincent on the other hand has the complete opposite effect. He reminds me way too much of Bob Barker. Seriously…he looks like him and sounds like him. Instead of promoting pet population control through spaying and neutering, he eats them. Rory Calhoun is way too charming to be an effective villain. Farmer Vincent shouldn't be murdering people and serving them in jerky form, he should be hosting his own children's show. It's all good until the final confrontation in which Vincent completely loses his mind (but his final lines in the film are probably the absolute best). Nina Axelrod is hot as victim Terry (but not much else…her character's not the sharpest knife in the shed), and Paul Linke is the embarrassment that is Sheriff Smith. You know everything you need to know about the Sheriff when we first meet him. He speeds up Vincent's motel with sirens blaring and lights flashing, lurches to a stop, and puts on his police-game face to…pop in and say hello. He's not smart and he's not tough; it's a miracle he's not dead in the first fifteen minutes.

The movie's pretty predictable and follows a few of the usual horror movie conventions. If someone shows up and exhibits "negative behavior" (e.g. sexual deviance, drug use, etc.), chances are they're going to end up as part of Vincent's garden. What annoyed me was that the whole "Farmer Vincent's fritters" plot was put on the back-burner for the majority of the movie so it could focus on Terry's involvement. I wasn't interested in a love triangle, I wanted more cannibalism and horror! It's a fun movie regardless, even if it does wander off track. I'm sure any horror fan will find something they like about this movie, but I don't expect to find it on anyone's top-ten lists.
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8/10
Psycho meets Delicatessen
sias-programming24 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This was a great movie! I remember seeing small 3-second preview clips of it with a guy wearing a pig's head and holding a chainsaw. At first, I thought that maybe there was a pig who had been transformed into a murderer and just started killing people, but it was better. I thought it was pretty good, but some parts seemed like they didn't fit into the movie. Some other parts however were really great! I don't understand why this movie was rated so low. I enjoyed it, but I don't think I'd watch it many more times. The ending where Bruce and Vincent are fighting with chainsaws was some good action. It reminded me of something from Friday the 13th. I'd recommend anyone who hasn't seen this to see it when you can.
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10/10
Even vegetarians can like this movie!
lee_eisenberg4 July 2006
"Motel Hell" is one of those movies that gives a person the same impression of motels that "Psycho" gives people. In this case, bumpkin farmer Vincent Smith (Rory Calhoun) and his sister Ida (Nancy Parsons) bury their guests in his backyard to fatten them and turn them into smoked meat. People aren't stopping at the motel anymore? No problem! Just lay bear traps along the road to catch unsuspecting motorists! But when they catch hot young babe Terry (Nina Axelrod), Vincent decides that he REALLY likes her...enough to marry her.

I gave the movie 10/10 stars because I assume that you won't read this review unless you've decided in advance that you like the movie. In that respect, the movie won't disappoint. It's typical brain candy, with sardonic comments and a nerdy hero. But what makes this movie especially interesting is the presence of Wolfman Jack as a preacher. Of course, you might say that he's the perfect individual to star in a horror flick, given that he has "wolfman" in his name.

All in all, pretty fun.
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