Come On By and Visit "Motel Hell"

Once again stumbling through the archives of undiscovered horror gems courtesy of Scream Factory, I’ve come across 1980’s “Motel Hell” Collector’s Edition. It’s quite obvious from the film’s tagline what inspired this darkly humorous tale of one man’s quest to serve up the best meat he can to his customers. Tobe Hooper decided to collect some indirect royalties in 1986 by taking the idea of a chainsaw duel for “Texas Chainsaw Massacre II.”

Farmer Vincent is famous throughout the county for his special blend of smoked meat. People come from miles around just to buy it in bulk. They wouldn’t be so thrilled if they only knew what the mysterious ingredients were that he used. With the help of his devoted sister, Vincent would do anything to keep the family recipe a secret.

“Motel Hell” Collector’s Edition is presented in 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1) with DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo. The picture quality was satisfying and obviously a step up from its regular DVD release. While it’s not the 5.1 surround mix diehard fans will want, the 2.0 sound is adequate and amplifies the gurgling of Farmer Vincent’s victims enough to give you the creeps.

Just like Farmer Vincent’s vittles, Scream Factory’s “Motel Hell” Collector’s Edition is stuffed full of bloody goodness. Director Kevin Connor provides new commentary for the film. It includes new interviews with Connor, Producers / Writers Robert Jaffe and Steven Charles Jaffe, actors Marc Silver, Paul Linke, and Rosanne Katon, and Stunt Co-Ordinator Gene Hartline. The featurette “Ida Be Thy Name: A Look Back at ‘Motel Hell’s’ Frightful Female Protagonist, Ida Smith” celebrates Farmer Vincent’s insanely dedicated sister. A theatrical trailer is included as well.

“Motel Hell” is rated R for all the same reasons every horror film from the 1980s holds the certification. There’s plenty of gore splashing around onscreen. Explicit language and nudity are part of the list of ingredients, too. A full-frontal nude scene was completely unnecessary and added nothing to the storyline.

What makes “Motel Hell” The Collector’s Edition such a highly recommended item for me is its entire tone. It’s directed as a straight horror film with crazy people doing crazy things, but believing what they’re doing to be right and justified. This aspect makes the movie all the more disturbing and keeps your attention by being completely bonkers.

“Motel Hell” The Collector’s Edition is available now on Blu-ray.