MOTEL HELL Hits Blu-ray with Cannibals, Swingers and Smoked Meat, Oh My!

If you grew up in 80s and were into horror, odds are pretty good you probably rented Motel Hell on VHS from your local mom and pop video store. Motel Hell was a horror comedy that, much like Farmer Vincent’s fritters, had just about every horror trope you could possibly imagine thrown into the mix. The film does so with such a rare joy and glee so you can’t help cheer these homicidal cannibal rednecks on.

Motel Hell streets today thanks to Scream Factory and stars Roy Calhoun as Farmer Vincent, who along with his sister Ida (Nancy Parsons) are trapping and killing anyone that passes through their sleepy little town to be used as a special additive to Vincent’s famous smoked meat. Things get complicated for the pair when Vincent comes across a young lady in one of his “accidents” that he decides to keep and groom as a possible heir and wife. Sadly as much as she may enjoy life on the farm, she doesn’t quite agree with the good farmers moral take on eating his fellow man.

Motel Hell was a lot more fun and subversive than I remembered and thanks to the amazing transfer, this was definitely the way to revisit this quirky cult classic that seems to borrow a bit from every horror sub-genre you can possibly think of. While the film was definitely inspired by the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I can’t help but think it inspired TCM’s sequel with its pitch black humor and cooking cannibal shenanigans. Roy Calhoun and Nancy Parsons really take the material and run with it, camping it up and turning in some of the most likable cannibals you will probably ever see on screen.

The film is another great MGM horror title released by the folks at Scream Factory in a special edition that comes packed enough special features to please even the most die-hard Motel Hell fan. Some of the standouts on the disc include the excellent commentary with director Kevin Connor, moderated by filmmaker Dave Parker, Takes All Kinds: The Making of Motel Hell and Ida, Be Thy Name: A look back at Motel Hell’s frightful female protagonist Ida Smith.

Dave Parker does an excellent job moderating the informative and candid commentary with director Kevin Connor. I am always a fan of commentaries moderated by fellow directors. I really dig the peer aesthetic more than the fan one when it comes to moderated commentaries. Kevin is extremely candid in the commentary and if you watch the Making of you’ll find out why doing Motel Hell was not the director’s first choice, especially after he reveals the original opening in the script. The “Making of” doc balances interviewee’s anecdotes with hard background on the project and how the film was produced and conceived. I have to admit listening to them discuss Motel Hell’s conception is almost as entertaining as the film itself.

One thing I love about Scream Factory is how they love highlighting women in horror and they do just that with Ida, Be Thy Name: A look back at Motel Hell’s frightful female protagonist Ida Smith. While the featurette delves deep into Nancy Parson’s character in the film, it also uses that as a jumping point to discuss the broader topic of women in genre. What you get is a great look at (and deconstruction of) the basic female stereotypes in horror from a female perspective that is very enlightening.

As usual with Scream Factory releases this one delivers the goods with a great transfer and a robust selection of bonus material curated for fans, by fans. It was a lot of fun to revisit Motel Hell, and that coupled with bonus materials really does a great job contextualizing the film and its production. If you have fond memories of Motel Hell from the days of analog you really owe to yourself to check this film out again, Scream Factory has made sure you won’t regret it.

Sound good? We’re giving away a copy on Twitter! Click here for details.

Previous post TURTLEMANIA! In Conversation With TURTLE POWER Writer/Director Randall Lobb
Next post Giveaway: MOTEL HELL On Blu-ray!