Motel Hell (1980)
What’s on the Menu: A motel owner is not what he seems, just like every other motel owner.
Here are some of my observations as I dined:
- You should know not to trust anyone who runs a seedy motel and a meat business.
- Rory Calhoun is probably the least intimidating old man ever.
- Farmer Vincent, the owner and proprietor of Motel Hell, sets road spikes for motorists and then takes their broken bodies back to his motel of hell to smoke their meat. Although that may be a different hotel down the road.
- Beula Balbricker! Moral turpitude…
- See, it’s really Motel Hello but the O is acting up, so it’s advertising that it’s Motel HELL. Get it?? Although you’d think that would drive business away. The same thing happened to the Hotel Coral Essex in Revenge of the Nerds TWO: Nerds in Paradise.
- This movie was made in 1980 so does that make it the 40,000th movie where people are sold human flesh and don’t know it or the 140,000th?
- Hey it’s the Shining twins.
- I miss good old fashioned bumper stickers. I had one on my ‘86 Oldsmobile Calais that said “Legalize Lutefisk” and I still don’t know what that means to this day.
- So a girl who was in the motorcycle accident the night before and was taken in by Farmer Vincent and Balbricker and asks where her man is. Farmer Vincent says he already buried him. You can just do that? Good to know…
- They have a shitload of pigs on their farm, why do they need to bother with the human meat then? Why go through the trouble? I’m no expert in the area but I doubt humans taste as good as pigs. Ask that rugby team.
- I like that this girl is just hanging around. She’s really got nowhere else to go?
- A vet comes to check the pigs and sees something he doesn’t care for, so he comes back later and finds a hidden garden that’s Farmer Vincent’s victims buried up to their necks. Their throats are cut and they make a gurgling noise worse than my wife when she’s sleeping.
- A van of bandmates who are punks but also hippies(?) falls prey to the road trap. Is one of them the voice of Mack the Truck from Cars 3? Maybe.
- This is slowwwwwwww goin’. Like a good smoked meat should. But not a movie.
- Vincent tells a charming story at a picnic with the sheriff and the girl about how when he was a boy he killed a dog and served it to his grandmother. Do they want to get caught or something? And this is going to make the girl want to continue staying there?
- The sheriff parks with the girl (I honestly still don’t know what her name is) and they watch a drive-in movie way down the hill with binoculars. Why didn’t he just take her to the drive-in? He couldn’t afford the 50 cents? I’m pretty sure that would be a red flag for any woman.
- Who is the protagonist supposed to be here? The girl whose name I’m pretty sure they haven’t said? She’s too dumb to move on from Motel Hell but moved immediately on from her dead boyfriend (or maybe that was her brother, who knows and who cares). And it can’t be the sheriff, who is a sexual assaulter and an idiot.
- Two people come in with a guidebook that calls the place Vincent’s Motel. But the sign obviously says Motel Hello. No wonder business is lousy.
- Most of this movie is about as interesting as watching their squirrel that runs back and forth across the street all day right in front of my home office.
- Wow this girl is some tramp, now she’s going after Vincent. And is willing to marry him. She’s been there two fucking days.
- Wolfman Jack is a reverend. I was forced to listen to the radio in the car the other day and it was a miserable 15 minutes of commercials. I have no idea how terrestrial radio still exists in 2018.
- The O in the Motel Hello sign is working perfectly in this daylight scene.
- I do not get any of this. It makes so little sense that the girl would be marrying Vincent that Germany’s finest hog mathematicians can’t calculate how little sense it makes. Unless she has some sort of nefarious plot to take over the 10th most successful motel and meat business in the county?
- Vincent and Balbricker bring hypno devices to John Ratzenberger and his buried buddies to help them relax and not feel pain. Like a cheap sausage, this is just filler. All so they can tie nooses around their next and break them via tractor pull and take them out of the ground. That all seems pretty unnecessary.
- The girl’s biker boyfriend is digging himself out of the garden. Why wasn’t he ready for consumption before Cliff Claven and his band since he was caught first?
- The dumb sheriff finds all the crashed cars and junk and tells the girl the bad news but she is also too stupid to believe him until Balbricker comes and stabs him to death.
- All the meat crops are loose! I thought they did something to turn their brains to mush, but they’re basically zombie-esque now and you don’t need a lot of brains for that. Much like writing a movie blog.
- They’ve killed Balbricker!
- Wait the sheriff was Vincent’s brother? Did I miss that? Must have been when I wasn’t paying attention.
- The girl tries to escape the meat carving room but Vincent tells her the door is locked from the outside. Then how is he going to get out??
- Oh the sheriff is alive, I guess Balbricker didn’t stab him, just punched him? Why?
- Vincent comes after the sheriff with a chainsaw and a giant bloody pig head for a mask for no real reason other than they need an interesting image for trailers and promotional materials. And maybe Rory Calhoun just wanted the goddamn day off.
- There’s absolutely no way he’d be able to see in that thing.
- Vincent is laughing all through this chainsaw battle. I guess it is pretty funny. He probably doesn’t get to unwind like this very much.
- So Vincent has a chainsaw in his side and the sheriff and the girl have a touching last words moment even though he’s a horrible cannibal who tried to kill them both.
- “I’m the biggest hypocrite of them all. I used… p… p… preservatives…” Poor Vincent.
- They buried Balbricker alive! But what happens to the other meat crops?
- The girl tells the sheriff to burn the motel down, and then the movie just sort of ends.
Is It Actually Palatable: It’s ok I guess. I’ve tasted worse smoked meats. It’s a but dull until the end, when it’s also dull except of the chainsaws.
Scariest Entree: It’s more creepy than scary. Like I said the gurgling noises the meat crops make is unsettling.
Is It Raw and Bloody: Not really until the end. The human/pig slaughterhouse is naturally messy, as one would expect.
Any Mouth-Watering Nudity: Male and female full frontal when the sheriff breaks up cars full of lovers at The Point. You see the main girl’s boobs a couple times, whatever their names were.
Most Delectable Line: A tie between “How about if someday I teach you the ancient art of meat smoking?” – Farmer Vincent; and “Time for your lesson, honey! We’re gonna teach you the finer points of meat smokin’!” – Balbricker
Most Delicious Scene: I guess by default it would be the climactic chainsaw battle, which is the only part that makes total sense. It’s definitely helped by the pig head and Vincent’s giggles.
Most Flavorless Scene: This is beyond pointless, but you can watch it as many times as you want because your mind clears out each time.
Overall: I watched this in high school and it was just as dull back then. There are some interesting and unique visuals, but for the most part it’s a slog, and the entire situation was a tired trope even then. Rory Calhoun and Balbricker really carry the whole thing and keep it from being a complete disaster, just like Brad and Jim do with Schlocktoberfest. Watch it if you’re a big Rory Calhoun fan, but you can skip it and not miss much, other than the opportunity to make a bunch of jokes about smoked meat. In other words, don’t “check out” this motel! Or, you would want to check out. I mean, don’t check in? Yeah. Where’s Killer Gene Shalit?
Score: 4.5 Weddings to an Old Meat Smoker You Just Met (out of 10)