Mountaintop Motel Massacre (1983) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

WARNING - SPOILERS. (But you'll thank me for taking away any reason to watch this movie) 

As I see it, there are three kinds of bad movies:

Category 1. Those films which are bad in a way that is great fun to watch. Films like "Plan 9 from Outer Space", "Big Bad Mama", "Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers", "Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man" and "Road House" just reach out to us with their larger-than-life aspirations or their goofy self-awareness.

Category 2. Those films which are just tedious, have no entertainment value, and are just painful to sit through. These films fall into two subcategories:

2a. Those in which we will put up with the tedium in order to see some nudity. (Russ Meyer films, e.g.)

2b. Those with no nudity, rendering them completely unwatchable. (Glam, e.g.)

Category 3. Those films which are even worse than the films in category two, so bad in fact that we will watch them, even though they are tedious and awful, just to see how bad they really are. In this category fall such classics as "Barn of the Naked Dead", and "Manos, the Hands of Fate".

This film is somewhere in limbo between a Category 2b and a Category 3. It is unbelievably bad in every way, and there is no nudity, so we would tend to discard it as unwatchable, and yet it reaches out for new depths in so many categories that you may enjoy it just as some kind of cautionary tale, a magical key to a kingdom filled with the things to avoid when making a film.

The litany is nearly endless:

Confusing continuity errors. Example: a sheriff is riding to the rescue on "Highway 71", but has to stop and walk the rest of the way because lightning throws a tree across the highway. All well and good, except the next morning he backs up from the tree, and we see that he's on a dirt road in the countryside.

Impossible plot twists. The surprise ending shows us the sheriff driving off, having killed the psychotic old woman who killed everyone in the motel. I need to point out here that the old lady was driven completely over the edge sometime in the past by having killed her daughter. But as we see the sheriff drive off, we see the dead daughter walking around, then we see the "vacancy" light come back up on the motel. What? The whole thing has been an insane killer movie, and in the last 20 seconds it becomes a ghost story? I wonder how many people will register tomorrow, considering that (a) the tree is still blocking the "highway" and (b) all the rooms are still full of dead bodies. I guess Miss Ghost is no Harvard MBA when it comes to her marketing techniques. 

"My wife and I would like a room for the night. We're really tired because we had to walk here from the tree."

"Yes, sir. Would like like smoking or non-smoking?"

"Non-smoking, please."

"And a room with a poisoned body, or a stabbed body?"

"Gee, I don't know. What do you think, honey?"

"Oh, we always go with the stabbed body, dear. Let's do something different?"

Amateur acting. I can't describe this accurately. You have to see it for yourself. I'm not kidding. These are not weak professionals, but actually amateurs, including many one-movie wonders. If Sofia Coppola were in this cast, she would seem to sparkle like Branagh in Henry V.

Lighting. The outdoor scenes are watchable. The indoor nighttime scenes are in almost complete blackness. I didn't know what most of the characters really looked like until I started using photoshop on the captures.


Essentially none

Two obscure actresses (Virginia Loridans, Amy Hill) are seen in t-shirts or nighties with no underclothing.

Marian Jones does a brief topless flash which can only be seen by capturing and lightening the image

Sound. How many things can you do wrong? Vary the volume too much? Add bad amateur music? Cliched violin screeches? That hollow echo sound when people speak? If you can name a possible sound problem, you can probably find it here.

Plot, dialogue, tension, special effects. Obvious, probably ad-libbed, none, and really cheap. In that order. Or any order you prefer.

And there's no redeeming nudity.

In fact, the most entertaining part of the film was the FBI warning. It was all downhill from there.

DVD info from Amazon.

surprisingly, it's not a total loser, It has a widescreen (1.66) version of the film, and the original trailer

I think I can best sum up by pointing out that the back cover of the DVD box says "for more information, see the reverse side of this sleeve"

The reverse side is blank.

The Critics Vote

  • No major reviews online

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 3.0, which might be a little high. IMDb viewers rate "Glam" 2.8, and that's about the right ratio between them.


  • It takes 2.3 or less to make the IMDb Bottom 100, but both of these are WAY worse than Meatballs 3, Revenge of the Nerds 4, Battlefield Earth, and some of the others on the list.
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 is an F, but bad movie fans might want to see it just to appreciate the sheer breadth of its incompetence.

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