Motel Hell (1980) from Tuna

Farmer Vincent, and his sister Ida run Motel Hello. The final "o" doesn't work on the sign, giving the film its title. They also produce the finest smoked meat in the county. What people don't know is that these true pioneers and humanitarians have discovered the solution for over-population and world hunger. They trap motorists, bury them to the neck, slit their vocal chords, and feed them until they are just right for smoking. Both of them are happy about their work, but realize the world is not ready to accept their life's work, so they hide their secret ingredient from everyone, including their little brother Bruce, who is the sheriff.

One night, Vincent ambushes a motorcycle, but decides to spare the beautiful girl in the sidecar.

Farmer Vincent is played by legend Rory Calhoun, who makes this butcher/killer/cannibal likeable. Sister Ida is played by Nancy Parsons, whom you will certainly remember as Beula Ballbricker in Porky's. Brother Bruce is played by Paul Linke (K-PAX, Parenthood, Funny Farm), and Terry is played by Nina Axelrod. Ironically, she is the love interest in a film that rises a little above its genre because of great casting, and she is better known as a casting director. Wolfman Jack rounds out the cast as a local televangelist.


  • Nina Axelrod shows breasts in bed, and again in a bath scene. She also has a great wet t-shirt sequence "tubing" in the local pond with Ida.
  • An unidentified extra shows full frontal being chased from the local parking spot by Sheriff Bruce.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • double bill with Deranged

Motel Hell (1980) would be just another drive-in B black comedy, were it not for some excellent casting choices, and great performances. Calhoun's portrayal, from the opening scene selling a variety pack to a tourist family, to the ending where he confesses a really horrible secret (if you want to know, watch the movie), makes him a character the audience likes and relates to.

The Critics Vote


The People Vote ...

IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film works as both a dark comedy, and as horror, and is therefore a C+

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