Posts Tagged ‘animals

24
Nov
13

Motel Hell (1980): Hearts in the Right Place…The Meat Grinder

motel_hell_poster_01

a Primal Root review

“Sometimes I wonder about the karmic implications of these actions.” -Farmer Vincent

With Thanksgiving mere days away,  I begin contemplating  good old fashioned family values and the anticipation of devouring finely prepared, mouth watering, slaughtered animals. Hell, there’s nothing better than celebrating your thankfulness with the ones you love than by roasting the carcass and then sinking your teeth into the delicious flesh of the traditional Thanksgiving turkey, honey cured ham, or human torso. After all, as Farmer Vincent says, “Meat’s Meat and a Man’s gotta Eat.”

This is the central conceit of Kevin Connor’s 1980 black comedy horror masterpiece, “Motel Hell”, the story of a family Motel and Meat curing business torn asunder by the meddling of outsiders who just don’t understand their ways.  Tall, white haired, skinny as a rail Farmer Vincent (Rory Calhoun, charming as ever) and his large, imposing, deranged sister Ida (Nancy Parson, Coach Balbricker from Porky’s!) run the rural Motel Hello and adjacent Farmer Vincent’s Smoked Meats stand. Their meat and down home hospitality are legendary to those who grew up int he area, and tourists come from far and wide to get a taste at Farmer Vincents secret recipe… I have a feeling you know where I’m going with this, it ain’t just an extra dash of Tabasco in those cocktail weenies!

Yeeeeah, I think I'm gonna go find a Ramada...

Yeeeeah, I think I’m gonna go find a Ramada…

Vincent and Ida spend their evenings laying out intricate traps in order to capture unwary travels who make the mistake of passing near their homestead int he middle of the night. Once they’ve nabbed their prey, those poor souls are interred in the sibling’s “secret garden” and go through a very special procedure to prepare their succulent human flesh for the famous family recipe giving their cured meats that one of a kind flavor. As Farmer Vincent cheerily exclaims, “It Takes All Kinds of Critters, To Make Farmer Vincent’s Fritters!”  The two siblings seems to have a real good thing going, the business sis booming, their little brother and local law enforcement officer, Bruce, has no idea what they’re up to and there’s no lack of dim witted heathens to run off the road and turn into beef jerky treats. But it’s when Vincent takes in one of his victims, the lovely Terry (Nina Axelrod) and decides it might be a good idea to settle down that their whole cannibalistic world begins caving in.

Now, before I go and give you the idea that Vincent and Ida are both out of control backwoods psychopaths ala The Texas Chainsaw Massacre family, let me state that these are two of the most friendly, accommodating and thoughtful human flash slurping cannibals in cinematic history. These two are concerned with making their victim’s, er, livestock’s slaughter as painless as possible, and go through some bizarrely comical means in order to make sure of this. Hell, they even have lovely introspective conversations where they ponder the karmic implications of their work and whether or not they will be remembered fondly for the work they do on the farm. Vincent and Ida are murderers, plain and simple, but one cannot help like this introspective, God fearing duo.  Hell, later in the film when Terry starts flashing her tits and Vincent and tries to make out with the old man, he stops her and insists they should be married before there will be such hanky-panky. Could you ever imagine Leatherface doing this? Hell, head probably start hollering, tearing his hair out and rev up his chainsaw…Not Farmer Vincent, that guy’s got one strong, if deeply flawed, moral compass.

don't worry, I'll send the Christ cuts to Hebrew National.

Don’t worry, I’ll send the Christ cuts to Hebrew National.

In one stand out scene from ‘Motel Hell”, Farmer Vincent, Ida, and younger brother and lawman Bruce, tell Terry a down home story about how their long dead Grandmother was the one who taught Vincent everything he knows about curing and smoking meats out of necessity since the family didn’t have an icebox. One day, when Granny was sick and tired of a neighbor’s dog constantly barking, she asked Vincent to go take care of it. Vincent chuckles as he recalls throwing the dog in the meat smoker and serving it up for dinner. Ira and Bruce both chuckle and join in, recalling how the meat was a bit like goat meat, only stringier, as Terry looks on in stunned disbelief before chocking it up to simple hillbilly behavior.  Farmer Vincent justifies his actions by quoting his Granny, “Meat is Meat and a Man’s Gotta Eat!”

Really, being raised with such a mentality it’s totally understandable that Vince and Ida don’t see a difference between the meat of animals and the meat of human beings. Int he end, really, what is the difference? The slaughter, clean and cut up the meat just the same as all the others int he smoke house. It’s just business, nothing personal, plus it gives them their one of a kind flavor which makes them stand out from the competition! It’s literally a dog eat dog world in Motel Hell, as our homicidal duo take care in selecting those they feel don’t contribute to society like bikers, metal bands, working girls, swingers and FDA inspectors, and add them to the ever growing mouth watering deathloaf. Even though the public has no knowledge of the human content in their smoked meats, at least they can rest easy knowing here are no chemicals or preservatives in the product they just ate. Hey, that’s just good, down home quality! Who has time to worry if a couple members of that missing hair band you saw last week are in that jerky stick?

Grazing in the grass is a gas, baby, can you dig it?

Grazing in the grass is a gas, baby, can you dig it?

As we all expected from the beginning, Terry wonders into the smokehouse and stumbles onto the big family secret and end sup bound, gagged and listening to Vincent’s fundamentalist dogma as he explains why it is he does what he do all while chopping a human body into hot dog meat. Vincent goes on to explain that he’s helping out the human condition by controlling over population and handling the food shortage problem all in one fell swoop. “What gives you the right to play God?” Terry asks. “Play God? I wouldn’t even know where to start! I’m just helping out.”  It’s a strange “Greater Good, God’s Plan” argument I feel many folks on the political right could totally get behind, especially when espoused by such a seemingly down to earth and loveable folk hero as Farmer Vincent. Hell, we all have to make sacrifices, right? Might as well be the working class that won’t be missed!

As soon as the heroic, if incredibly dumb and rapey, Bruce bursts into the smokehouse to save the day, “Motel Hell” dives head first into it’s absurd, surrealist underpinnings and bursts through the floodgates with blood spattered jubilant glee as Farmer Vincent dons a severed pigs head, picks up his chainsaw and engages his little brother in chainsaw, to chainsaw combat while laughing like a maniac the entire time. It’s graphic, it’s goofy, it’s gory and unlike anything I’ve seen before or since in the annals of American backwoods cannibal horror cinema. It feels like some kind of blood drenched fever dream you would have after consuming to much Christmas ham and then getting a stomach bug. My words fail to do the finale of “Motel Hell” justice, you’ve gotta see it to even begin to comprehend it.

Babe III: The Reckoning

Babe III: The Reckoning

“Motel Hell” is a queer duck of a horror film. It delivers the horror and the comedy, but it doesn’t exactly mix and ends up more often than, simply being absurd. I laughed my ass either way,  as this is some truly peculiar, yet, entertaining food for thought.  Try not to fall in love with Farmer Vincent and Ida, I dare ya. Those two are such fantastic, memorable characters, you’ll find yourself deeply saddened to see them go by film’s end.

So, this Thanksgiving, be thankful for your family, friends and take a closer look at that dead thing you’re shoveling into your face. you never know just who might be over for dinner.

Four and a Half out of 5 Dumpster Nuggets. Root highly recommends you spend a night at “Motel Hell!”

Stay Trashy!

-Root

08
Jun
10

Monster Bash 2010: Movies, Monsters, and Mayhem

The Primal Root’s Dirty Thoughts

Hey gang, Jess (Moonshine) and I just came back from Atlanta Georgia after attending The Silver Scream Spookshow’s Rock and Roll Monster Bash 2010 over at the Starlight Six Drive-In Theater. As a life long student of Drive-In culture and one of the many carrying a torch for this long standing American tradition I felt it was my duty, my destiny to be in attendance. The Drive-In tradition is one of exploitation, sleaze and mindless fun where everyone drops their hang ups and goes for it. I went for a bash, I went for spectacle, I went for some Trash Cinema Classics. I did not leave disappointed.

Moonshine and I got in a right at noon, the skies were dark and overcast which made us a little nervous about the rain but otherwise thrilled that it would be cooler out there than anticipated on that long stretch of black top in the hellish Georgia summer heat. We drove directly to the same spot we claimed at last year’s Drive-Invasion, popped up our shade, filled up our cooler with the essentials and got ready for the long, nasty, fun filled day ahead of us.

PBR: Official Cheap-O Beer of the Trash Cinema Collective

Once things got swinging we both took a trip up to the vendor area to check out what people were selling. There was an excellent selection of vintage Grindhouse posters and lobby cards, original art work, and all manner of t-shirts emblazoned with every sleazy flick you could imagine. There was some very cool stuff on display, as always, and my lovely lady Moonshine and I had a pleasurable time perusing and chatting it up with our Drive-In brethren.


Another great feature of the Monster Bash were the six ass kicking rockabilly, metal, and rock and roll bands who got this hootenanny hopping. Probably my favorite performance of the whole day happened early on as The Luchagors took the stage in full costume and gave a no holds barred, high energy, performance. Not to sell the other bands short because Grinder Nova, Apocalyptic Visions, Daikaiju, Iron Maiden Tribute, and Frankenstein all got in the spirit of things a gave their all.

The Luchagors


Grinder Nova

Also on hand were the ladies and gents of Atlanta’s own Blast-Off Burlesque who in between bands entertained us Drive-In Mutants with some sultry moves up on the main stage. Those young ladies certainly know how to captivate an audience, let me tell ya.

Who was our Master of ceremonies, you ask? None of than the man behind the Spookshow himself, Proffessor Morte and his gang! This was my first time encountering the Silver Scream Spookshow troupe but they were pretty darn funny. It could be just because I’m a dork but every singles joke they made had me in stitches. Whenever they took the stage I was reminded of the traditional Saturday morning horror movie hosts. they were cheesy, but in the absolutely best possible way. Their tone perfectly fit the show.

Professor Morte overseeing the Brain Eating Contest.

During all this fun there was something called the Model Shoot Out or something…Not exactly sure what that whole deal was but apparently it was the reason there were so many guys and gals running around with heavy duty cameras snapping pictures of all these scantly clad, good looking, women with colored hair and blood spattered across their faces all over the place. I am not complaining one little bit. Hell, as girls would pose I;d snap a few shots myself with my dinky little camera. If anything, it added to the good vibes.

VAMPIRELLA! Thwart my raging boner!


As the sun went down the rain began to come down on the Drive-In crowd for about a half an hour. Thankfully it came to a hault just as our Double Feature of 70’s nature revenge films began. First up…

KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS!

The infamous killer tarantula flick from 1977 starring the ever talented William Shatner. This little beauty of a horror film is about a small country town out in the desert that’s getting ready for some kind of yearly jamboree they always put on to bring in the tourists and help out the local economy. Of course an army of about a billion migrating, flesh eating, uber toxic pissed of tarantulas arrive on the scene mere days before the event killing off livestock and the residents. William Shatner plays the local veterinarian who calls in the help of a sophisticated big city sexy blonde female veterinarian to figure it all out and poke with his cattle prod in the process. Our two scientists come to the conclusion that due to DDT and other chemicals killing off all their typical prey the local spiders have grown aggressive and are now hunting for food in packs and taking on all sorts of bigger game. The question is…how long till they turn on us? Answer: Real quick.

Kingdom of the Spiders may not make a whole lot of sense when looked at critically (Just step on the spiders, man.) but one can’t deny the terror inherent in having a face covered in hairy, bulbous, flesh eating spiders. Another element that sets this flick above many of it’s contemporaries is that it takes it’s time to establish every single character, their relationships and their emotional connections. You really get the feeling that every death is a tragedy and you feel the weight that each of these deaths has on the people closest to the victim. And this is a low budget monster movie! Truly a cut above the typical revenge of nature film.

Our second feature…

GRIZZLY! (1976)

Our second feature of the evening was the intense JAWS rip-off GRIZZLY about a nature reserve and park beset by some kind of prehistoric man eating killer grizzly bear from Hell. This sucker has come down the mountain in hopes of finding some folks eat although he seems to really enjoy just ripping their limbs off and leaving their bodies.

Grizzly was the most successful independently produced film of 1976. Watching it for the first time I couldn’t for the life of me understand why. It’s pretty bad even by Trash Cinema standards. It follows the JAWS outline with no subtlety whatsoever. In fact, I never learned the three main character’s names I just called them by which character from JAWS they were. There’s the frustrated head forest ranger who has just been relocated to this park who is our Sheriff Brody in this picture (played by, to my surprise and enjoyment, Christopher George of Pieces and Gates of Hell fame), there’s our young scientific bear specialist who likes to enter the bears natural environment to study them (Who will be our Hooper) and then there’s our bear hunting, vietnam veteran helicopter pilot to serve as our Quint. Yeah, he even has a Vietnam speech.

It’s all kind of dull outside the highly comical attack sequences where limbs fly through the air covered in red tempera paint and attached to fishing lines. This stuff is classic and I laughed myself silly. I will give kudos to the filmmakers behind Grizzly for having the balls to have their killer bear attack a small child and rip his leg off before killing the little boys broom wielding mother. That scene is the high point of the entire film. Well, next to the part where our Forest Ranger blows the living shit out of the Grizzly with a bazooka.

Moonshine at the 7th Annual Monsterbash

All and all we had sweaty, boozed up, epic time at The Rock and Roll Monster Bash this year and we are both ready for next year’s get down. Now we just gotta recoup for Starlight Six’s Drive-Invasion this September. Thanks for showing us Floridians such a good time, guys! We’ll be seeing you again in a few months. I recommend you guys reading this plan on attending next year’s Monster Bash. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

The Primal Root at the old stomping ground of Trash Cinema.

As my hero Joe Bob Briggs always says, “The Drive-In Will Never Die!”

Stay Trashy,
-The Primal Root




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