The Film (4/5)
Slightly off topic, but it feels like Scream Factory more than any other company right now is filling the gaps in horror fans 70's and 80's Blu-ray collections. If they haven't announced it, and it's not part of some greater 80's horror franchise it feels like it is eventually coming down the line, and now they have delivered a long awaited to Blu title with the Kevin Connors directed camp-horror classic MOTEL HELL.
Motel Hell tells the tale of Farmer Vincent and his sister. The duo have been making meat products in a small California region for a number of decades, and have become locally famous for their meat. What the local buyers are unaware of is that Farmer Vincent, is not a traditional farmer, he doesn't keep livestock, pigs, cows, etc. Farmer Vincent sets traps for drivers on rural roads, and nights, drags the victims back to his farm, plants them in the ground up to their necks, surgically removes their vocal cords, and force feeds them until they are ready to be processed into his food products.
There is more to the film than that, such as a near victim of Vincent named Terry waking up from a Vincent-created accident and finding out her boyfriend is dead, and then falling for Vincent over time, and the local sheriff falling for Terry so hard, that he is inspired to investigate Vincent's wackiness.
The film is grounded by the lead performance by Rory Calhoun (Night of the Lepus) who takes his role as Farmer Vincent, and plays it up to the extreme. Adding to the camp atmosphere is Nancy Parson's as Vincent's overweight sister. She is absolutely hysterical throoughout the film, and many of the films biggest laughs come from her performance.
Motel Hell from the description might sound like a disturbing horror-fest, but for the new viewer that might be watching for the first time understand it is anything but. The film has some violent sequences, but the whole thing is treated with an atmosphere of camp, and skews more to the side of a sleazy comedic horror film (not Dead Alive slapstick, but humorous), than something more serious.
Scream Factory have brought Motel Hell over to HD beautifully. I did not get a chance to ever get a look at Arrow's HD offering of the film to compare, however, I can say that Scream offers q uite a naturalistic transfer with organic film grain present, excellent detail, solid black, and excellent colors. The transfer is presented in a 1:85:1 AVC encoded 1080p transafer.
The audio is presented in a DTS-HD MA stereo track in English and is also quite good with dialogue, score, and effects mixed nicely, and with nothing drowning anything else out. I did not detect any issues with the audio such as pops, cracks, or hissing.
Scream have gone all out with their edition of Motel Hell bringing over some of Arrow's stuff, and creating some exclusive features of their own. We get a commentary with director Kevin Connor moderated by Dead Hate the Living director Dave Parker (I know he's done a lot more since then, but I really love the shit out of that flick). A making of documentary with members of the cast and crew, and an interview with the films cinematographer. We also get a series of interviews with Paul Linke and Rosanne Katon, and a look back at Ida Smith. There are also photo galleries, and a trailer.
Motel Hell is a sleazy and fun camp horror classic. The film delivers all around, and is a real 80's horror classic. The Blu-ray from Scream Factory looks and sounds great, and comes piled with extras. It is no surprise that Motel Hell comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!