“Meat’s meat, and a man’s gotta eat”… that’s the philosophy of farmer and Motel Hello proprietor (although, that darn “o” tube is a little fainter than the rest of the hotel’s neon sign’s characters), Vincent Smith, played brilliantly by a very slender and senior, Rory Calhoun.

Farmer Vincent has a reputation of distributing some of the finest cuts of meats in a 100-mile radius. But little does the local community know that he and his sadistic, stout sister Ida (Nancy Parsons) moonlight as cannibalistic agriculturists.

Vincent spends his nights setting traps for out-of-towners passing through the county, burying them up to their voiceless throats (thanks to Ida and her tidy sewing detail), and feeding them his special slop in order to get them ready for processing.

After Vincent takes on one of his victim’s girlfriends, Terry (Nina Axelrod), a love triangle ensues between the pair and Vincent’s jealous simpleton sheriff brother, Bruce (Paul Linke), that eventually escalates into a showdown reminiscent of the climax of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, sans a pig head mask.

Motel Hell is presented as a horror-comedy. It’s chalked full of awful acting (except by Calhoun), but what do you expect with a cast that includes two Playboy playmates (Monique St. Pierre and Rosanna Katon)? Keep an eye out for a cameo by Wolfman Jack as the salacious Reverend Billy. Motel Hell is worth a watch for being a satirical romp that steps outside the “fucked up family” genre, but still draws inspiration from films like Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Spider Baby.

-Matthew McPhee


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