Director: Kevin Connor (1980)
Starring: Rory Calhoun, Paul Linke, Nancy Parsons, Nina Axelrod
Totally true fact: I will watch any horror movie in which an aggressor wears a pig's head or carries a chainsaw. This may lead to me watching a lot of crappy movies (ahem, hello Saw franchise) but there can occasionally be gold in them thar hills. Case in point, Motel Hell. It combines my inexplicable fetish for chainsaws and people wearing bits of pig on their heads to make a demented, oddly watchable backwoods horror movie that even manages to rise above being the Texas Chain Saw Massacre rip-off that it so obviously is.
Farmer Vincent (Calhoun) and sister Ida (Parsons) live on a farm next to the eponymous Motel Hell(o), which they also own and run. But Vincent's cheerful disposition and smiley demeanour do not belie his true nature. For in his spare time, he enjoys killing people and harvesting their bodies to create his special 'smoked meats' which he then sells to the motel's guests. As a byproduct of Vincent's murderous, cannibalistic activities, into Motel Hell(o) runs Terry (Axelrod), unaware that Vincent has recently harvested her poor boyfriend for dinner. Terry soon begins to fall for Vincent, making the man's sister strangely jealous. Will Terry discover Vincent's dark secrets? Will she even care?
Motel Hell is a very silly movie, often to its own detriment. It brings to mind a
more watchable version of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: Next Generation. It could do with taking itself a little more seriously at times, but some of the humour does bring a smile to the face. I particularly enjoyed seeing Vincent's victims planted like vegetables, and Rory Calhoun does a great job playing the villain. Could have done without the dense cop character though, and the romantic aspect is balls-out stupid. But Motel Hell makes up for some of its silliness with a fun chainsaw related showdown at the end and just enough gore to paint over the cracks. Plus: a man wearing a pig mask carrying a chainsaw. Nuff said.