Movie of the Week: Motel Hell
Is this too obvious a selection for MotW? Have we all seen this already? Does it have a legacy? I hope so, but I really don't know. It doesn't seem to come up much.
My introduction to Motel Hell was its opening week in October of 1980, when just my dad and I went to see it at the Bel-Air. Kid heaven. My 11-year old self could not have been happier. Maybe it was the film's lighthearted approach to the gruesome material, although you certainly wouldn't get that impression from this intense trailer:
Remember this was 1980, when shocking splatter movies like Friday the 13th were bank. I'm including this trailer here not to give an impression of the film (it doesn't), but to show how said film can be re-purposed into a trailer whose tone is completely different.
The truth is that Motel Hell is a funny, freewheeling and oddball movie, and well worth your time. It stars the amiable Rory Calhoun, that gym teacher lady from Porky's, that one dude from CHiPs, and directed by the same guy who did the superlative At the Earth's Core. Looks like it's still in print by way of a cheap DVD double feature (paired with the not-so-funny Deranged), but I'll put the chaptered youtube stream here because that's what I do: