Another day, another movie. Nice not having to worry about classes and all for a little while. I was going to start the day watching nothing but movies today but that didn't work out so well. But I did get one movie in at least. One day, before heading back to college I will try and fit in as many movies as I can just to end the year on a bang. After this review, the next set of movies up for review will be a series. Tune in soon to find out which series it will be. As for today, I watched a movie that came with a different movie that I reviewed a long time ago. Mountaintop Motel Massacre (1983) was originally released as Mountaintop Motel when New World picked it up in 1986 and added the Massacre to the end of the title.
Mountaintop Motel Massacre starts off by telling us that Evelyn (Anna Chappell) was committed to a mental hospital in 1976 and released in 1983, if I am remembering the dates correctly. Now that she is home again she takes care of the motel that she runs just off some highway. Actually it is set back away from the highway down some dirt road. When we catch up with her, she is busy working in her garden and spots one of her daughter's pets. She yells for Lori (Jill King) to come and get it before she kills it but Lori is busy inside with some of her other pets and talking to a picture of her dad. Since Lori didn't come out to get the critter, Evelyn takes her handy dandy hand scythe and kills it. Doesn't everyone use a hand scythe while working in the garden? I thought so. Evelyn heads into the house where she discovers that Lori is no where to be found. She heads to what I thought was the basement at the time and discovers Lori in some kind of trance while having a tea party with her pets, which include a goat and a rabbit. Evelyn starts to swing the scythe around, knocking down everything and accidentally hits Lori and kills her. She drags Lori back into the house and calls for help. Despite the best efforts of the paramedics, they can't do anything for her. The Sheriff wants to know what happened and Evelyn says it was a horrible gardening accident. The Sheriff wants to press the matter but Reverend Bill McWiley (Bill Thurman) tells the Sheriff that now might not be the best time to question Evelyn considering how upset at losing her daughter has made her. The next thing we know, Lori is being put to rest while Evelyn hears the voices of those present accusing her of killing Lori.
From there she heads back to the motel and we meet the rest of the cast. Bill either lives in one of the rooms or is staying there for a short while. I wasn't real clear on that but either way he is a family friend and is helping out at this time of need. The first guest to arrive is Crewshaw (Major Brock), an unemployed carpenter. Making their way to the motel still is Mary (Marian Jones) and Vernon (Gregg Brazzel) who will be spending their honeymoon there. It isn't much but Vernon can't afford a fancy hotel like the Holiday Inn. Also on the way is Al (Will Mitchel) who picks up Tanya (Virginia Loridans) and Prissy (Amy Hill) after they get a flat on their car. All eventually arrive and each time someone checks in, Evelyn sometimes acts like she is off in space somewhere. With Lori's voice saying things like, "Kill them mommy. They want to send you back to the hospital," you can probably guess what is in store for all of Evelyn's guests at the Mountaintop Motel.
The way things started out with the killings, I thought it was just going to be a little blood here and there that, at times, looked too watery. The film did surprise me later, by adding a couple of bigger effects. While they didn't look great, at least it wasn't just some blood being thrown around everytime. One very fake looking hand gets cut off. The best effect was probably the scythe through the mouth. It goes through both cheeks. The effects shot is done quickly which is a good thing because if you pause it to take a longer look at it, you will notice that the scythe is only on the outside of the cheeks. You can't see it at all inside the mouth. I know it is only a movie but that would have added a lot to the effect in my book. The acting wasn't too bad but there was no one that really stood out to me.
Mountaintop Motel Massacre isn't too bad of a movie but for some reason I found it just a tad boring. For one thing, Evelyn never came across as scary to me. There does seem to be a bit of a following on IMDb of people that love this movie. That is cool and all but I can't say that I get it. They say that you shouldn't watch this film as a slasher film but as a mood piece. I would say fine to that but to me it doesn't ever set up much of a mood. There is no real tension ever. Evelyn is able to get from room to room by a series of tunnels that are under each room. There seems to be a trap door, cleverly disguised by a rug and easily kept shut by one nail apparently, in the bathrooms. At first Evelyn takes some of Lori's pets and puts them in some of the rooms. She takes a snake and put it in the newlywed's room. She takes a bunch of rats and puts them in Bill's room. She takes some cockroaches, which I think were being used for food by the snake, and puts them in Crewshaw's room. Not real sure what the point of that was except maybe to fill in some time. The only pet that does anything is the snake which bites Vernon. I have never been bitten by a snake nor do I know my snakes too well, so I don't know if it was poisonous. But the area of the bite swells up and Vernon lays in bed for the rest of the film.
What keeps all of these people from leaving you ask? It is a stormy night and raining hard. As Al comes up the road to the motel, lightning strikes a tree and it falls across the road. Now they are trapped there at the motel. The storm has knocked out the power and the phones. As Al would explain to each person that a tree is blocking the road out, I kept thinking to myself, God forbid you should have to walk to the highway and flag someone down! Don't get me started on how lame the fight scene at the end of the movie was. If you like your early '80s slasher films, you might want to pick this one up just for old times sake but for me, it was a fairly boring movie.
2 out of 5 Should have hired Betsy Palmer
6 days ago