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Those Congenial Cannibals

  • Jul 22, 2012
Travelers who find lodging at the remote Motel Hello are treated to the delicious beef jerky of Farmer Vincent (an aging Rory Calhoun), proprietor of both the inn and a popular line of smoked meat products.  These transients only take their leave as a supplemental ingredient of the latter concern's victuals following subjection to the husbandman's sophisticated processing methods!  As his distant location is seldom advantageous in lure of vacationing victims, the enterprising old rustic's ingenuity gives rise to numerous booby traps set to ensnare potentially delicious motorists.

Motel Hell's comedy is chiefly droll, occasionally hilarious; as a horror picture, it's never terrifying, though frequently disquieting...some exiguity of suspense hardly mitigates its palpable dread.  Even so, the movie's cleverer elements surmount neither its myriad flaws nor dragging pace.  So much hayseed's humor would seem more apposite to a Dukes of Hazzard episode, and Lance Rubin's lightweight score might well have been recycled from an installment of Amazing Stories.  An ill-conceived romantic sub-plot further slows the story's rate to a wearisome shamble.  However, its gory, farcical, maniacal conclusion is very nearly worth a long wait theretofore.  This was co-written and produced by the brothers Jaffe - Steven-Charles and Robert, sons of producer Herb - so one can only wonder which was the more inventive and who the duller of the two; as Robert adroitly adapted Dean Koontz's Demon Seed to the cunning screenplay of Donald Cammell's film version, I'd lay wager that he's to be credited with most of Motel Hell's imaginative atrocities.

Calhoun's standout performance alternately exudes charismatic geniality and furious derangement; he was aptly cast in a role exploiting his capacities for both charm and malice.  Porcine Nancy Parsons seethes unnervingly as his malicious, manic sister, Wolfman Jack plays a lascivious televangelist with tongue firmly planted in cheek, and Gwil Richards and Toni Gillman vigorously gnaw their every scene as a perverted married couple.  Unfortunately, the cast's remainder are best likened to a cord of winter lumber - especially charmless Nina Axelrod as the requisite distressed damsel.

Appropriately, Tobe Hooper was to helm Motel Hell and would surely have produced a more exciting, amusing feature had Universal Studios not abandoned the project and reassigned him to direct The Funhouse.  A shame, that: it could have been a fun interstitial undertaking betwixt his two Texas Chainsaw Massacre flicks.

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July 22, 2012
I have to admit that I don't think I have heard of this, but some of your descriptions sound familiar. I do like horror comedies in certain days, but I don't necessarily seek them out. Maybe one day, I'll give this a shot, just so I can see something different.
July 22, 2012
If you're interested in cannibal cinema, you'd be better served by Hooper's TCM features, Antonia Bird's Ravenous (in which 19th-century cannibalism intersects with the Wendigo curse and manifest destiny), Trey Parker and Matt Stone's amusing Cannibal! The Musical (a song-and-dance biopic of Alferd Packer's exploits, and a cult hit preceding South Park's popular explosion by years) and the venerable Rocky Horror Picture Show. If my review seems too unforgiving, please bear in mind that it could and should have been far better than it is, and I can't abide any waste of talent or material.
July 22, 2012
Snuudles, your sparkling vocabulary and impeccable grammar wow me *every* time I read a new reviewsie of yours! :D I'd love to watchie this with you and giggle at the floppy antics :D Whenever I read something of yours, I feel like I've just eaten something delicious, shimmering and glossy! ^-^ Fantastic! ^-^

Muuuuuuu! ^-^

♥ Annusya ♥
July 22, 2012
You flatter me so sweetly, baby bips! As I intend to discard this feature's file, I've a preferable counterproposal: let's paw one another wildly whilst viewing The Texas Chainsaw Massacre!

July 22, 2012
OUH! :D That sounds even *bettersies*! ^-^ We can pawsie and make outsie and also other thingies, heeheeeeeeeeeee! ^-^ Muu! ^-^

*snugglebuuups&kissies*! ^-^

♥ Annusya ♥
About the reviewer
Robert Buchanan ()
Ranked #29
I'm a bibliophile, ailurophile, inveterate aggregator, dedicated middlebrow and anastrophizing syntax addict. My personality type is that of superlative INTJ.
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