“What did you expect? A Holiday Inn?”- Mountaintop Motel Massacre

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The title card assures us that Evelyn is certifiable. In the first scene, we see her gardening with a sickle. And guinea pig blood. Meanwhile, Evelyn’s daughter, Lorie is conducting a séance. She’s trying to ask her dead father for advice on how to deal with Evelyn’s relapse.  Sadly for Lorie, Evelyn bursts in brutally murders her. Proving she has some tenuous grasp on sanity, Evelyn hides most of the evidence and phones the police. When the sheriff arrives, Evelyn’s only friend and motel guest, Reverend Bill comes to her defense. Oddly, the sheriff buys the story of ‘vague accident’ and leaves.

 

After Lorie’s funeral, Evelyn comes completely unhinged. Luckily for us, this is when guests start arriving. First up is Crewshaw the spiritual handyman. He practically has to pry the key out of Evelyn’s hand. Next, the Newlyweds Vernon and Mary arrive. Using her network of tunnels under the cabins, Evelyn begins to have some fun. She fills Reverend Bill’s room with rats and gifts a venomous snake to the newlyweds. Vernon gets a bite to the face and swells grotesquely. A frantic Mary runs outside and meets the last of our guests. Al is pretending to be a record producer to score with cousins Prissy and Tanya.

 

Things are going to shit at the motel. Torrential rain, no power, phone lines down and a large tree has fallen across the only means of escape. Playboy Al comes to the rescue with his fancy, totally 80s car phone and flash light. He gets a hold of the questionable sheriff, who promises to head over. Elsewhere, Evelyn seems upset no one has died of fright from the rat/snake attack. She moves to up the ante. Taking to the tunnels, she fills Crewshaw’s room with cockroaches. Prissy is the first to be killed (and Evelyn makes off with her body) Now, Evelyn is on a roll. Al and Crewshaw team up to get to the bottom of things. Rev. Bill bites it next and our heroes hustle over to the newlyweds. The news there isn’t good either, finally our heroes stumble upon the tunnels.

 

Crewshaw and Al go underground to find Evelyn, after locking Tanya in the car. The guys conduct the most relaxed underground search for a sickle welding maniac imaginable. As exactly as you’d expect, it leads to Crewshaw’s death. With Al still bebopping around, our sheriff arrives after what seems like six hours. A terrified Tanya sends him right into the tunnels. Following a little more aimless pursuit, Evelyn is killed with her own sickle.

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Bobi Lobotomy: Another clunker, I fear we’re having a bit of a bad streak. There’s an unnameable quality to GOOD Bad horror films. I’m sure we could debate forever the exact qualities and in what quantities it takes to elevate something bad to something Positively, Legendarily Bad. We’ll save that for another day as this one is just bad (lower case bad). Were you to look at the cover art and imagine the kind of film that would feature a deranged senior citizen with a sickle, the film you’d imagine would win an Oscar compared to this. The most fun Mountaintop Motel Massacre has to offer is its tongue twister name.

 

There are a few interesting bits to this one. You could view it as a low budget, crappy prequel to Psycho. Evelyn, as a villain, isn’t the typical immortal, hulking mute of textbook slashers. We also see an African-American character survive almost the entire film! I had high hopes for Crewshaw being the hero; he’s arguably the only likable guy in the movie. With a name like Major Brock, I was sure he was going places. Those places were likely adult and graphic in nature. When I saw Amy Hill (50 First Dates, All-American Girl, and Strip Mall) in the credits, I squealed. I waited as all the characters were introduced and I couldn’t find her. My partner in crime had to IMDB it to find out she plays Prissy. It was almost worth the 95 minutes to see a young Amy NOT playing an ethnic grandma.

 

This one follows the basic format of unsuspecting people encounter psychopath, psychopath starts killing until incapacitated. The only curveball it throws is more confounding than interesting. Why does Evelyn bother with the half-hearted pest torture? Is she trying to warn them? It’s like she wants them to run away. However, being the kind of people to stay in a Mountaintop Motel they’re barely fazed by the critters, with the exception of Vernon. The death scenes are all pretty underwhelming, with the possible exception of the guinea pig. Although he had no lines, his death touched me the most. Sidebar: Who lets a guinea pig play outside? The goat is hanging out at the occult tea party in the basement and your guinea pig is roaming the yard? *Sigh* Anything I wanted from this movie, I didn’t get. This gets one bloody sickle.

Alisa Ramone:   I picked Mountaintop Motel Massacre because I was sure it would be a superb bad horror quickie! A crazy old woman with a sickle sounded perfect.  I was hoping for a crazy, campy good time, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. The acting is bad, the corny dialogue is worse and I can’t find a cohesive plot to save my life.  This film contains no boobies either. I am still a little frightened by Evelyn, but I feel ridiculous admitting it. This is one of the only times that I think more money and time could have helped. Usually the magic of campy 80’s horror is the lack of money and time, but not MMM. We are introduced to a lot of ideas that are never real followed through; the dead husband, the daughter doing dark magic, and the daughter showing up again after being killed. I wish the plot had been a little more fleshed out. We spend too much time getting to know the characters that are going to be killed off and not enough time on Evelyn’s craziness. I was also constantly annoyed by the pace of MMM. It was way too slow. I’m not even sure how that is possible because so much is missing from the story. I will give the film only two positive comments and then just conclude that it just wasn’t for me. First, the atmosphere was fantastic. It was the only thing that could place this film in the horror genre. Second, the guests at the inn and their stories were almost interesting to me. I liked several of the secondary cast members and wished that the entire film had been about them. The sickle was definitely my favorite character by a head! How is it possible to make a dull movie about a crazy old woman who hears voices that tell her to kill people with a sickle? Somehow Mountaintop Motel Massacre managed to be pretty bad with such a wonderful plot idea. I give it one bloody sickle.

One response to ““What did you expect? A Holiday Inn?”- Mountaintop Motel Massacre

  1. “She fills Reverend Bill’s room with rats and gifts a venomous snake to the newlyweds. Vernon gets a bite to the face and swells grotesquely.” LOL !!! what a sequence of events

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