Review: Mountaintop Motel Massacre (1986)

Mountaintop Motel Massacre

Directed by Jim McCullough, Sr.
Starring Bill Thurman, Anna Chappell, Will Mitchell, Virginia Loridans

As a young man on the cusp of maturity, I’ve been trying to learn all I can about sex appeal. How can I increase mine? Is there special equipment I need? Are there classes I can take?

Mountaintop Motel Massacre brings me one step closer to sexy, and I didn’t even have to pay tuition.

Vernon is a country-road type of guy, with an enchanting southern warble of a voice and a fine crop of red hair above his lips. He’s a newlywed, and his bride is an intelligent, thoughtful young woman. When the two find themselves spending their honeymoon at the seven-dollar-a-night Mountaintop Motel, he gets ready for bed by stripping down to his whitey tighties to reveal his handsome fat-free yogurt physique. With skin the color of fresh milk and come-ons as zippy as “I’m so horny I can’t stand it,” he’s as seductive as the flatbed of a stranger’s pick-up truck.

Al is the creative type. His 1983 Plymouth Caravelle boasts four doors, spacious seating, and a car phone with buttons placed directly on the handset for on-the-go convenience. His hair is the shape and density of a large brillo pad. His mustache is just bushy enough to be authoritative, yet frisky enough to tickle the lips of a young female companion. His sweater collection is on-point, and he always packs his best one for long road trips. His briefs are an exciting shade of boiled peach. At the Mountaintop Motel, he settles in with not one – but two! – young girls looking to gain his approval any way they can.

These two men attract ladies like a rotten birthday cake attracts flies. If sexy could have a face, it would be both of theirs.

Vernon and Al are only two of the Mountaintop Motel’s guests on the night Evelyn, the proud proprietor, decides to test out her hand sickle on human flesh. Using her extensive underground murder-passageways, she finds a way to enter each of her guests’ cabins and explore creative ways of making sure they each get their money’s worth. Snakes, cockroaches, and rats are each let loose, much to her boarders’ delight. A lightning storm sends a tree crashing into the middle of the long motel driveway, confirming a late check-out time. Needless to say, for Evelyn, business is booming.

Director Jim McCullough, Sr., working with a screenplay written by his son, spends the first ten minutes of Mountaintop Motel Massacre painting Evelyn as a sad, pitiable character before spending the next 85 showing her methodically terrorize people with zoo animals before chopping them up with a gardening tool. If this were played for laughs, one might forgive the ridiculous premise. But there are no attempts at intentional humor to be found among the game stabs at real-life drama and oddly detailed characterization. It’s all meant to be taken seriously, even as our studly heroes find themselves taken down by an overweight 60-year-old schizophrenic with a weed whacker.

The players each operate with the enthusiasm of a husband messed up on Nyquil and shoe-shopping with his wife. The murders are staged as if the footage would be sped-up in post. Tiny rugs the exact shape and size of trapdoors shockingly cover each of Evelyn’s passageway entrances. Vernon gets bitten by a rattlesnake and his wife doesn’t know what to do. If there were signs hanging on the cabin walls that read “SUCK OUT THE POISON,” I’m quite positive that we would soon find out that on top of her lack of fundamental first-aid knowledge, she also never learned how to read. Each boarder ignores Evelyn’s outright insane creepiness to the point where she could wordlessly spray blood out of her mouth and they would still ask the price of a room.

The movie manages to be both glacially-paced and annoyingly ridiculous.

But as I type I’m staring into my full-length mirror, modeling my new briefs and admiring my especially pasty milkflesh. I’ve grown out my mustache and styled my hair with sandpaper.

Sex appeal, thy name is Mountaintop Motel Massacre.

Links:

Amazon – Mountaintop Motel Massacre DVD
Amazon – Mountaintop Motel Massacre VHS
Netflix – Mountaintop Motel Massacre
YouTube – Original Theatrical Trailer
YouTube – Complete Movie (Part 1)

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