Motel Hell (1980)

DVD Cover (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)
Add to Collection
Sign up to add this to your collection
Add to Favorites
Sign up to add this to your favorites
Movie Stills - View all?
Stills Stills Stills Stills
2 images will not be displayed due to adult content.
If you'd like to view them, please sign up.
Overall Rating 62%
Overall Rating
Ranked #3,656
...out of 14,074 movies
Check In? Sign up to check in!

Farmer Vincent kidnaps unsuspecting travelers and is burying them in his garden. Unfortunately for his victims, they are not dead. He feeds his victims to prepare them for his roadside stand. His motto is: It takes all kinds of critters...to make Farmer Vincent's fritters. --TMDb
Review by Chad
Added: April 27, 2007
It's sort of sad that it seems like I can't review anything from the eighties without bitching about the horrible remake or complaining about the forthcoming remake, and Motel Hell is no exception. Yes, this little gem is slated for the remake treatment with plans to get it into theaters by the end of the year, and I really have to wonder why. The original is a good film (though not great), but it isn't extremely well known and it certainly hasn't achieved any sort of cult status. Why remake a film like this and not something like Evil Dead? Oh, wait...

"It takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent fritters!" So goes the slogan for Vincent's (Rory Calhoun) meat-smoking business, a business which is booming thanks to his secret ingredients. People from miles around come to get a taste of his smoked hams and beef jerky, and he and his sister Ida (Nancy Parsons) couldn't be happier with their success. What his customers don't know is that Vincent and Ida have a secret garden behind their house, a garden in which they "plant" humans in order to fatten them up before eventually slaughtering them for their flesh. I'll give you a single guess as to what that flesh is used for. When a young lady (Nina Axelrod) "stumbles" into Vincent's life, it quickly becomes obvious that he's taken a liking to her even though he's old enough to be her dad... but how will she react when she finds out about the garden?

As if it wasn't pretty obvious by the synopsis, this film mixes together elements of horror with a hearty helping of black comedy to spice things up a bit. And you know what? For the most part, it's a success. There are scenes which are genuinely laugh-out-loud funny, and there's also some rather nasty bits when we witness some of the day-to-day details of Farmer Vincent's little meat-smoking operation. Enhancing the comedy (and horror geek) side of things are a number of subtle (and some not so subtle) nods to the horror classics, with the hilarious chainsaw-battling spoof of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre being my personal favorite.

For the most part, I enjoyed Motel Hell as the campy horror outing that it was intended to be, but there were a few things that could have been fixed to make this a true classic. My main gripe is some of the pacing towards the end of the film, namely the scenes in between the revelations about the garden and the big finale. There were scenes sprinkled throughout this chunk of the film that really did nothing for the overall storyline, and although I wouldn't have cut the ideas out completely, a small rewrite of the script would have worked wonders for the pacing as well as the running time. There's also a few problems with some of the cast members, but I can't really hold that against the film - I mean, c'mon: 1980, horror, good acting? One of those items just doesn't belong with the other two, and there were a lot of horror offerings in 1980.

Although it may have a few flaws, I still enjoyed the overall presentation. There's a number of highly-memorable scenes and effects (just try to forget the ultra-creepy noises that come out of the garden), and if you take it for what it is - a horror / comedy that blends the two genres together just right - you'll probably have a good time with it. 7/10.
grain of sand #1: grain of sand - added 04/27/2007, 06:39 AM
good movie, they showed this on tnt a few times.
Dametria #2: Dametria - added 04/27/2007, 06:15 PM
this was my favorite .49 cent special at blockbuster about 12 years ago. Must have rented it at least 10 times
bradbunson #3: bradbunson - added 10/03/2007, 09:53 PM
The end scene with farmer ted wearing the pig mask with his chainsaw scared the shit out of me when i was like 6. Great movie.
Tristan #4: Tristan - added 10/03/2007, 10:05 PM
I hate this OOP garbage. Some movies, which are utter drivel manage to get a release. But you get a classic like this, and you have to spend $45 on the double feature. I'll wait for a re-release. But, as I recall, it was a damn good movie.
Chad #5: Chad - added 10/03/2007, 10:14 PM
I paid $25 for the double feature of this and Deranged. A bit pricey, but well worth it.
Tristan #6: Tristan - added 10/03/2007, 10:32 PM
I had my eye on it, but it went up to $50+ today. To hell with that.
Tristan #7: Tristan - added 05/14/2009, 03:09 AM
Really enjoyed this one. It was a nice blend of horror and comedy, and it was very reminiscent of films like Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

MrMurder #8: MrMurder - added 10/06/2010, 03:00 AM
so love this movie. I caught this one night with a good buddy of mine and spent 3 years tracking it down.
* I also have the double disc with Deranged (okay), but I was lucky to find it long before it skyrocketed and got it for like $12. But either way, you really can't go wrong.
Sign up to add your comment. Sign up to add your comment.
Recommended Movies Show More?
Gore-Met, Zombie Chef From Hell Mother's Day Delicious The Cannibal Club Attack Of The Killer Donuts National Lampoon's Class Reunion Street Trash The Vagrant Blood Diner Deathrow Gameshow Flesh Eating Mothers Woodchipper Massacre Ravenous The Stuff Cannibal Flesh Riot! Cannibal! The Musical Beau Is Afraid The Babysitter
Layout, reviews and code © 2000-2023 | Privacy Policy
Contact: Join us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Review Updates