Picks and Pans Review: Motel Hell
Ever since that rainy night in 1960 when Janet (Psycho) Leigh walked into the Bates Motel, travelers have been alert to the idiosyncrasies of roadside innkeepers. Here we go again with a new loony, that old cowpoke Rory Calhoun, looking craggily handsome at 58. He seems to be a benevolent hotelier who also makes the best smoked meat in town. His goofball sister, Nancy (Where the Buffalo Roam) Parsons, helps him with the secret recipe, which turns out to include human flesh from bodies the pair raise in the garden. Despite a preponderance of gore, the film is respectably shot and edited, and Calhoun does justice to an often ridiculous script. There is one scene right out of Night of the Living Dead that indicates how effective genuine horror can be. Also, after a string of chillers in which any female under 95 was fair game, here is a non-sexist approach in which everybody gets it, regardless of gender. (R)
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