Sorry everyone for being late on these last few reviews. Crazy amount of work, travel, weddings, parties and other bullsh*t have kept me from having time to write. The good news, at least I think it is, I still am watching a movie a day so it’s just a matter of sitting down and writing like crazy – which is what I plan on doing today.
Farmer Vincent (Rory Calhoun) is my favorite horror villain. Yeah, I know, a bit of an underground selection, but he embodies my favorite quality in antagonists. It’s a combination of things. A certain je na se quoi that only the best of the best hold. But it all boils down to the amount of love and affection Mr. Vincent puts into his work. Anyone can randomly kill teens with large knives, but that is so lowbrow. The true masters, like Farmer Vincent, would be insulted by the lack of subtly and wastefulness of block-heads like Jason. Vincent’s work is more akin to art – he is county-wide famous for his smoked meats after all – and all of his victims serve a greater purpose in the grand scheme of things.
Farmer Vincent likes his traps, so much so that he comes up with increasingly complicated methods in order to lure his live stock (aka people) into his dastardly web. From simply shooting out tires he quickly graduates to blocking a road with fake cutout of cows. But what does he do once he captures unsuspecting motorists? He cuts out their vocal cords, plants them neck deep (in rows like corn) in his garden until their meat is ready for harvest. Between then he serenades them with soothing music. Vincent would never treat his animals poorly after all – because he wouldn’t want to spoil the meat. Plus, it’s just God’s way to treat things poorly.
Motel Hell is satirical in its nature, lampooning some of the bigger slasher flicks before it (Last House on the Left, Texas Chainsaw Massacre). And while it does have some comedic moments most times there is an uneasiness present throughout the film that causes this to be much more frightening than many of the films that it draws from. Vincent and his sister Ida are what nightmares are made of. The pair are so oblivious to their wrong doings that it’s troublesome to watch at times. In one particularly disturbing scene Vincent discuses the merits of smoking the meat of a dog that wouldn’t shut up. The way he talks about it so nonchalantly will cause the little hairs on your arms to rise. Well, that and about everything else he says.
Rory Calhoun doesn’t just steal the movie, he runs the damn thing over with his truck. His performance is one for the ages. The combination of his God-fearing attitude (won’t even kiss a girl until they are married), ruthlessness of his methods, and one-liners (“It takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent’s fritters.”) is astounding. Everyone else in the flick is passable, but this isn’t a movie about them. It a Farmer Vincent vehicle all the way.
Motel Hell also features an unbelievably weird harvesting scene and the infamous dueling chainsaw/ pig head mask fight. Both of which could be (and have) been discussed in-depth all around the web. This low budget effort from Director Kevin Conor is one of the most underacted horror films of all time. An absolute must watch. Side note: If you wanna have me destroy you in your game of choice add me up on Xbox live, my gamertag is “Motel Hell”.
I’ll will end this review with a quote from Farmer Vincent, “Sometimes I wonder about the karmic implications of these actions.”
Snore Factor: Z