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MOTEL HELL - 3 Slimes
Rated R
Copyright 1980 Camp Hill
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 17 November 2002

The Characters:  

  • Vincent - Rory Calhoun! He makes the most delicious smoked meats known to man, of man. A little on the obsessive/compulsive side, but he has a great last line.
  • Ida - Vincent's sister who is strong, with the physique of an ox. She dies.
  • Terry - She was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident and has a thing for older (sometimes much older) men.
  • Bruce - Vincent's brother. As the local sheriff, he rides around with his sirens on for no reason. Stopping a kid on a bicycle? Sirens blaring. Watching a movie at the drive-in? Sirens blaring. Going to the store for milk and bread? Sirens blaring.
  • Reverend Billy - Wolfman Jack! The local television evangelist for the Eurekaistic Church.
  • Bob - The county health inspector. He was almost killed by his own curiosity.
  • Ivan & The Terribles - Band that is turned into beef jerky. One of them is Cliff Clavin!
  • Edith and Guy - Two swingers who picked the wrong motel to use for their debauchery.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

We begin with Vincent calmly sitting on his motel's front porch. The farmer collects his shotgun and other equipment before setting on an early morning hunt. At the same time, Terry and her bearded boyfriend Bo are cruising down the highway on a hog with sidecar. The girl is sitting behind her man, not in the sidecar, and neither have helmets on. Vincent sees the violent crash when a tire blows (the blowout is for reasons suspected, but not confirmed until later). The hunter turned rescuer loads the injured girl into his truck and takes her home. Ida, who throughout the movie will display some medical knowledge, is given the task of nursing Terry back to health. When she does regain consciousness, she is told that Bo died in the crash and that Vincent buried him in the local cemetery.

Bob shows up for a surprise inspection of Vincent's pigs the next day. Poor Bob, the scriptwriters conspired to laden him with onerous pig comparisons. Vincent says, "Go on in, make yourself at home." when he enters the pig sty; then Bob clumsily falls into a large mud puddle when surprised by the farmer. Between oink sounds, the inspector does have time to take notice of a secret garden on a remote part of the farm/motel property. He sneaks back that evening to take a peak, but displays the same level of stealth as a lumbering sow (he drives past the motel with his car lights off). In the garden a horrifying discovery is made: burlap sacks cover human heads! The people are still alive, but buried up to their necks in the soil. Their vocal cords have been cut as well. Before he can fully comprehend the situation, Vincent whacks Bob on the head with a shovel.

A marijuana-smoking band, Ivan & The Terribles, is on the road when their luck takes a turn for the worse. A number of steel traps litter the road; one of them causes a tire to blow and the van rolls down an embankment. In a moment of foreshadowing, Ivan says something about "finding a place to crash" just before the accident. Despite rolling several times, the musicians are all unharmed. But, before they can extricate themselves from the wreck, Vincent trots down the slope and feeds a tube through a window. He turns on the tank and chloroform (or something) fills the van.

There is a conversation between Vincent and Ida that tells volumes about this movie's lure. He joyfully talks about how important the traps are to him. Not necessarily the steel bear traps, he means the different ways of catching people. The pair are honestly happy with what they do: catching, burying, and finally harvesting people. The unlucky folks are used in "Farmer Vincent's" famous meat products. The movie is so incongruous, with cannibalism and honest country living freely mixed, as to be fantastically entertaining.

The main characters (Vincent, Ida, Terry, and Bruce) have a nice picnic where the story of how Vincent started is told. It turns out that years ago a mangy old dog was bothering grandma Smith (that is family's last name). Her loyal grandson caught the animal, smoked it, and presented the canine jerky to his beloved grandmother. She loved it! Terry is a little shocked by her hosts laughing and reminiscing. Ida starts to say something about Vincent's secret ingredients, but he punches her in the solar plexus.

We also are treated to seeing the herd of buried humans at feed time. The farmer attaches funnels to their heads and scoops the food in. Try not to giggle at the sight. You will be unsuccessful.

Personally, were I an unfortunate human turnip, I would be worried about what was being stuffed into the funnel. The sicko ran my car off the road, buried me in the ground, cut my vocal cords, and is planning to cook me. He could put anything in that funnel: lye, Windex, or even molten lead (sometimes reading fantasy novels leads to paranoia).

Bruce takes Terry to the drive-in one evening. By which I mean they park on a hill far above the screen. Before settling in, he has to disperse some vehicles full of couples making out. He does this with the lights and sirens (Bruce is sort of a one trick pony). Several moments of chaos occur as cars scatter in all directions and one confused girl runs willy nilly in her birthday suit. (Why did she get out of the car in the first place?) Following that, they sit back to watch the movie through binoculars, with the sound pumped in over the radio. Bruce attempts to get crassly sexual, but his effort is interrupted by a woman screaming over the CB.

The woman calling for help over citizens' band was Vincent's latest catch. He has her safely planted in the ground before Bruce ever comes around to see if his older brother or sister heard anything at the motel. Ida explains the hysterical call was probably some kids having fun.

A swinging couple checks into the motel. They are looking for some hot action and the woman seems to find Vincent irresistible. The kinky gal has a totally unneeded, but priceless, scene. While wearing boots and a black outfit, she literally attacks the room's decor with a whip! Somebody has been filming my dreams again.

The plot has been thickening around Vincent and Terry's relationship. It is obvious that he regards her as his ray of sunshine, while Terry finds excuses to kiss and touch him. Ida is a little jealous of Terry and invites the young lady to go tubing. So, we are treated to Terry in a soaked white t-shirt. The makers of "Twister" could have learned a lot if they had only watched this film. Two hours of Helen Hunt and Jami Gertz in white t-shirts, in driving thunderstorms, and not one..., sorry. I was a little sidetracked there. To get back to "Motel Hell:" Ida attempts to drown Terry, but Vincent arrives just in time to rescue his precious peach. She was already falling for him, now he saves her life "again." Terry has the serious hots for Vincent; they decide to get married.

Ladies, I have a question. Is Rory Calhoun a perfect example of male virility? I mean, two attractive women have fallen for him in a matter of days. What in the roaring heck? Oh, forget it...

The matrimonial news is a crushing blow for Bruce. He cannot understand how a girl would pick his wrinkled older brother over himself. While Terry lies drugged, Vincent and Ida work on getting the latest order of pork and people ready. The sheriff does ten years of investigating in a few hours, discovering shotgun pellets embedded in the wrecked motorcycle (Bo and Terry's accident), along with hundreds of sunken cars in the nearby marsh. Get the point Bruce? See how much work you can accomplish if you lay off the donuts for one night?

I will freely admit that my unfounded cop/donut joke was going too far, but he should have caught Vincent earlier.

The enlightened sheriff finds Terry and shakes her awake. She is horrified by the story, but Ida overhears their conversation and Bruce is no match for his big sister. Add to the mounting tension that the planted stock of humans manages to dig themselves free (should have bound their arms) and you have the makings of a climatic ending. It looks like a zombie film at times, since the newly liberated human herd is uncoordinated and covered with mud. The movie is not a zombie flick and we are treated to Vincent discussing theology and sociology. The main attraction is the final confrontation between Vincent and Bruce. Both are armed with chainsaws and the crazed farmer is wearing a mask made from a pig's head!

"Motel Hell" is well worth your time, especially for connoisseurs of 1980's cult movies.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • It is possible to estimate the recovery of an accident victim by feeling their pulse.
  • City folk do not know what "passed away" means.
  • Steel bear traps are also effective when hunting vans, as in the vehicle.
  • There is at least one illegal use for an auger.
  • Smacking a man will only making him horny.
  • People should be married before they kiss.
  • "Reading" Hustler is a religious experience.
  • Assaulting a police officer is okay, so long as he is your kid brother.
  • Astral projection is the best way to visit Mars.
  • Neon is extremely unstable and volatile.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 6 mins - Now I understand why it is called "Motel Hell." Please, please turn off that music.
  • 11 mins - Heaven help me, but having a bright yellow tractor would be cool.
  • 33 mins - Maybe I should eat less beef jerky... ...naw.
  • 40 mins - They missed most of the movie!
  • 75 mins - Less rainfall than usual this year?
  • 94 mins - You are not moving. Chill out.
  • 95 mins - Okay, maybe you are moving, but is the shrieking necessary?

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note motelhell1.wav Ida: "Funny looking critters, ain't they, Vincent?"
Vincent: "Ah, maybe so, but you know as well as I do: it takes all kind of critters..."
Vincent and Ida: " make Farmer Vincent Fritters!"
Green Music Note motelhell2.wav Terry: "It's like I've never really tasted ham before."
Bruce: "It's true! It just ain't possible to go back to regular smoked meats after you've tried Vincent's. You can't beat the flavor!"
Green Music Note motelhell3.wav Vincent: "Well, Granny never put any distinctions on any of God's creatures. She always used to say..."
Vincent, Bruce, and Ida: "...meat's meat and man's gotta eat! Hahaha!"
Green Music Note motelhell4.wav Rev Billy: "Gloryashanggadaboombingagadabamba! I'm talking in tongues, I'm just so happy for ya! God bless you Vincent. Listen, we're going to take care of everything. We'll have it all done by tomorrow and it's gonna be a happy day. So, you don't worry about anything now."
Vincent: "Thank you, Reverend. Thank you."
Rev Billy: "I believe I'm gonna have a glory fit."
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipmotelhell1.mpg - 2.3m
Ivan and his terrible friends have not been in the patch for very long, but Vincent believes the band members are fat enough. First, they are hypnotized with spinning pinwheels, then nooses are put around their necks. On the other end of the ropes is a tractor.

It bears mentioning that Ivan wears a shockingly bad fake beard. It has no effect on the rest of the movie, but if you saw the thing you would understand.

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Comments:Write CommentPages: 1 [2] 3 4
Motel Hell
Reply #9. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by BoyScoutKevin
After missing seeing this once on television, I finally got a chance to see it.

The Good
It gave B-movie actor, Rory Calhoun, one of his best roles.

The Bad
It was the PG-13 stripped down television version. Not the R rated theatrical version.

The Good
It was rated for all the right reasons: sex, language, violence. Everything that makes life worthwhile.

The Bad
After reading this review, before seeing the movie, there wasn't many surprises.

The Good
The writing. The film was surprisingly well written. I especially like "We better look for a place to crash."

The Bad
Some of the scenes didn't make too much sense. You think somebody would have dug themselves out of the ground, before this.

The Good
The lighting. Alot of today's horror films are so dark, that you can't tell what is going on. That was never the case for this film.

The Ugly
"TV Guide" gave this film only 1 slime. And that is the problem with horror films. And it is not the fault of the films, but of mainstream reviewers. With the occasional exception of "A Rosemary's Baby" or "An Exorcist." Horror films don't get the respect they deserve.

The Good
Wasn't that film clip from "Monster That Challenged the World," which I believe also is reviewed at this site?

The Ugly
It never ceases to amaze me, what is censored out and left in. In "Lair of the White Worm," it was "I'm not into headbanging."--"Are you into any sort of banging?" Here, it was the nudity (the girl in her birthday suit) and the sex (the whip cracking), but, most of the violence was left in, in both films.

The Good
Towards the end, the film really developed a genuinely creepy atmosphere.

The Good
It was quite funny. I especially liked the "Perils of Pauline" moment. In "The Perils of Pauline," the heroine is threatened by a buzz saw in the sawmill. Here, the heroine is threatened by a meat saw in a smokehouse.

The Good
The chainsaw fight. What a difference a dozen years make. The only other chainsaw fight I know about, is in 1968's "Dark of the Sun." And there were all kinds of compplaints that it was too violent. Yet this one was far more violent, then that one, and there are no complaints.

Enjoy the film. I did.
Motel Hell
Reply #10. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by HardPressed
Trivia bit: Just for kicks I watched the DVD of this with the Spanish audio track, and either that's Rory Calhoun doing his own Spanish-language audio loop, or the world's most gifted bilingual mimic. Both Mr. Calhoun and the woman who loops for his sister manage to do fluent Spanish with a midwestern American twang, which is pretty hilarious considering that the number of twangy midwesterners who can speak fluent Spanish is just about nil.

(Off-topic: Try Return of the Living Dead in Spanish. The acting's much better.)
Motel Hell
Reply #11. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Dan Lyon
Motel Hell is the feel-good family funfest flick of the year. Starring Rory Calhoun, a regular guy on the street that was 'discovered'... what better way to become a successful actor? The basis of the film is amongst the best as it taps into natural paranoia. What if the waiter spit in my food ? What if the Baker is a jerk-off ? What if this tasty Snausage is ground-up Trailer Trash ? Life is full of the unexpected and so is Motel Hell. MH played in October as part of a week-long Monsterfest marathon on a cable tv channel that fancies itself to be, well, fancy. Jerk that I am, wide awake at 3a.m. getting MH onto vhs tape (I'll do what I got to do to get my gore - don't judge me) and these sunsab***hes had the balls to cut sections out of Motel Hell. Pencil-necked pimp-sticks that edit Classic Movies to fit between sponsor rants about cola and college girls flashing their titties on spring break truely need to carefully examine their life path. Motel Hell is a great flick; the Fat Sister is way too scary at too many levels - this could have been any movie and that actress would scare me, she heap big wummin - and of course everyone's favorite postal delivery man is in one of his earliest film appearances. To think - Cliff (not his real name) Clavin used to hang and party with the likes of Jimi Hendrix - ain't life strange ? Yes, when Motel Hell is being cut to ribbons (sorry) when it's playing at 3a.m., life is strange. Oh well. Beg borrow or steal a real copy of Motel Hell and wake the kids up. Bon appetit !  
Motel Hell
Reply #12. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:03 PM by Todd Shields
This movie made me hungry!
And anything showing a young girl getting tied up is okay in my book.
Motel Hell
Reply #13. Posted on August 11, 2004, 05:24:35 PM by
 a true cult classic! One of my favorites of all time! Ida and Farmer Vince are the perfect pair.
Motel Hell
Reply #14. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by SRBoone
I've partaken of Farmer Vincent's fritters quite a few times now and they are still delicious after twenty years. Its a loopy and none-too-serious treatment of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" that is carried by the charming performances of Rory Calhoun and Nancy Parsons. You never woulda thought dueling chainsaws and offing lowlifes could be so fun.

This is a classic of 80's trash that is so sweet-natured and well-acted you can't help but want seconds, and thirds, and fourths, and fifths...........

Motel Hell
Reply #15. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Richard
Pretty good.  Somewhat imaginative.  I like the indifference towards human life displayed by the farmers.  Meats Meat, and man's gotta eat! hehehe  4 out of 5 stars is about right.
Motel Hell
Reply #16. Posted on November 22, 2005, 10:03:00 AM by Sporkinum
The is what I took my wife to see on our first date. Been married 23 years.
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