Motel Hell (1980)

R | 106 mins | Horror | 24 October 1980

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HISTORY

End credits include the following statements: “Special thanks to: Colorado Pridham, Richard Berres, Frank and Vera Vacek, Chris Outwater” and “Studio Interiors filmed at Laird International Studios.”
       As stated in production notes in AMPAS library files, brothers and writer-producers Robert Jaffe and Steven-Charles Jaffe were the sons of the film’s executive producer Herb Jaffe.
       An item in the 25 Apr 1980 HR noted that two Playboy magazine “Playmates” were hired for the film. Monique St. Pierre played the character “Debbie” and Rosanne Katon’s character was named “Suzi.”
       The 12 May 1980 Box reported principal photography began 23 Apr 1980. The primary location was a large ranch property in Canyon Country, CA, according to production notes. The company also filmed in Moorpark, CA, for one day, and Laird International Studios, formerly Culver City Studios, in Culver City, CA, was utilized for much of the interior filming. A United Artists press release announced that filming finished Thursday, 12 Jun 1980.
       An item in the 16 Jun 1980 HR announced that United Artists planned to release Motel Hell on Halloween day 1980. However, the 17 Oct 1980 HR noted that the film would open in the Los Angeles, CA, area one week earlier on 24 Oct 1980 at the Hollywood Pacific theater and the United Artists Cinema in Westwood. On 5 Nov 1980, items in the HR and DV reported that Motel Hell grossed $2.3 million in its first three days of release at approximately 800 theaters. ... More Less

End credits include the following statements: “Special thanks to: Colorado Pridham, Richard Berres, Frank and Vera Vacek, Chris Outwater” and “Studio Interiors filmed at Laird International Studios.”
       As stated in production notes in AMPAS library files, brothers and writer-producers Robert Jaffe and Steven-Charles Jaffe were the sons of the film’s executive producer Herb Jaffe.
       An item in the 25 Apr 1980 HR noted that two Playboy magazine “Playmates” were hired for the film. Monique St. Pierre played the character “Debbie” and Rosanne Katon’s character was named “Suzi.”
       The 12 May 1980 Box reported principal photography began 23 Apr 1980. The primary location was a large ranch property in Canyon Country, CA, according to production notes. The company also filmed in Moorpark, CA, for one day, and Laird International Studios, formerly Culver City Studios, in Culver City, CA, was utilized for much of the interior filming. A United Artists press release announced that filming finished Thursday, 12 Jun 1980.
       An item in the 16 Jun 1980 HR announced that United Artists planned to release Motel Hell on Halloween day 1980. However, the 17 Oct 1980 HR noted that the film would open in the Los Angeles, CA, area one week earlier on 24 Oct 1980 at the Hollywood Pacific theater and the United Artists Cinema in Westwood. On 5 Nov 1980, items in the HR and DV reported that Motel Hell grossed $2.3 million in its first three days of release at approximately 800 theaters.
More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
12 May 1980.
---
Daily Variety
30 May 1980.
---
Daily Variety
5 Nov 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Apr 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jun 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Oct 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 Nov 1980.
---
Los Angeles Times
24 Oct 1980
p. 11.
Variety
22 Oct 1980
p. 24.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Camp Hill Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Gaffer
Key grip
Still photog
Best boy
Best boy
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
SET DECORATORS
Set des
Set dec
Leadman
Const coord
Asst prop master
Const foreman
Swing gang
Swing gang
Drapery foreman
Paint foreman
COSTUMES
Men's costumer
Women's costumer
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
Mus rec mixer
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom man
Cableman
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Supv sd ed
Sd eff ed
Dial ed
Spec sd eff
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Opt and titles by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Asst to the prods
Prod asst
Prod coord
Unit pub
Craft service extraordinaire
Scr supv
Prod auditor
Paymaster
Post-prod auditor
Transportation capt
Co-capt
Exec prod's secy
Extra casting
Asst extras casting
First aid
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stuntwoman
Stuntwoman
Stuntwoman
Stuntwoman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Up To Here With You," written by Donald Martin Nowak and Lance Michael Rubin, sung by Don Nowak
"You're Eating Out My Heart And Soul," sung by Kregg Nance.
DETAILS
Release Date:
24 October 1980
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 24 October 1980
Production Date:
23 April--12 June 1980 in Southern CA
Copyright Claimant:
United Artists Corporation
Copyright Date:
27 October 1980
Copyright Number:
PA96934
Physical Properties:
Sound
Recorded in Dolby Stereo™
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
106
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
26113
SYNOPSIS

Vincent Smith and his sister, Ida Smith, operate “Farmer Vincent’s Smoked Meats” and “Motel Hello” on their farm near Grainville, although the “O” in the neon sign does not work and therefore, it reads “Motel Hell.” One evening, Vincent turns on the “No Vacancy” sign, gets his rifle and equipment, and sets a trap on a nearby road. Motorcyclist Bo Tulinski and his girl friend, Terry, drive over Vincent’s trap and crash. Vincent loads Bo’s unconscious body into his pickup’s bed, but places Terry in the front seat and, the next morning, informs Ida that he wants to keep the girl alive. When a family stops to buy a box of Vincent’s meat, the two daughters sneak into the smokehouse and wander among the pigs’ carcasses until Ida, wearing a large pig’s head as a mask, scares them away. The local sheriff, Bruce Smith, visits his older siblings as Terry awakens and asks about the accident. Vincent claims that he was hunting, heard the crash, saved Terry, and buried Bo’s body in the local cemetery. Bruce offers to place Terry in a county agency, but Vincent has room for her at the motel and could use the additional help. Later, as Vincent feeds the pigs, the health inspector, Bob Anderson, arrives for an unexpected “spot check.” Vincent goes inside the smokehouse while Bob examines the pigs, although the inspector’s attention wanders to the farm’s garden, locked behind bushes. That night, after Terry falls asleep, Vincent hits the “No Vacancy” button and starts to leave, but notices Bob’s car drive slowly toward the garden. Bob climbs over the fence ... +


Vincent Smith and his sister, Ida Smith, operate “Farmer Vincent’s Smoked Meats” and “Motel Hello” on their farm near Grainville, although the “O” in the neon sign does not work and therefore, it reads “Motel Hell.” One evening, Vincent turns on the “No Vacancy” sign, gets his rifle and equipment, and sets a trap on a nearby road. Motorcyclist Bo Tulinski and his girl friend, Terry, drive over Vincent’s trap and crash. Vincent loads Bo’s unconscious body into his pickup’s bed, but places Terry in the front seat and, the next morning, informs Ida that he wants to keep the girl alive. When a family stops to buy a box of Vincent’s meat, the two daughters sneak into the smokehouse and wander among the pigs’ carcasses until Ida, wearing a large pig’s head as a mask, scares them away. The local sheriff, Bruce Smith, visits his older siblings as Terry awakens and asks about the accident. Vincent claims that he was hunting, heard the crash, saved Terry, and buried Bo’s body in the local cemetery. Bruce offers to place Terry in a county agency, but Vincent has room for her at the motel and could use the additional help. Later, as Vincent feeds the pigs, the health inspector, Bob Anderson, arrives for an unexpected “spot check.” Vincent goes inside the smokehouse while Bob examines the pigs, although the inspector’s attention wanders to the farm’s garden, locked behind bushes. That night, after Terry falls asleep, Vincent hits the “No Vacancy” button and starts to leave, but notices Bob’s car drive slowly toward the garden. Bob climbs over the fence and finds the garden lined with rows of burlap-covered “plants.” When one moves and makes a hissing sound, Bob removes the burlap and discovers a man’s head. The man tries to speak but can only hiss. Vincent sneaks behind Bob and knocks him unconscious. Later, Vincent sets another trap, and a van carrying a band named “Ivan and the Terribles” crashes. Vincent loads the unconscious people into his truck, then picks up Ida and they drive to the garden, where she is excited to discover that Vincent “planted” Bob. Vincent tills four new holes, and Ida plants the band members, leaving their heads exposed, then the siblings slice their victims’ vocal chords. The next day, Vincent, Ida, Bruce and Terry picnic and, as they enjoy the smoked meats, Vincent reveals that when he was young, his grandmother became angry with her dog, so Vincent smoked the animal like a hog and Granny loved the meat. Terry is surprised, but Vincent and Ida claim there is no distinction between meats. That night, Vincent and Ida feed the “animals” in the garden through funnel contraptions strapped to their heads. Bruce asks Terry for a date to the drive-in movies and takes her to a hillside, where many couples enjoy romantic liaisons in parked cars. Bruce flashes his sheriff’s lights and orders everyone to leave, then takes out binoculars to watch the drive-in movie showing across the hill, ordering his dispatch officer to patch the sound to his car radio. Nearby, friends Debbie and Suzi drive through the area, but are stopped by several false wooden cows blocking the road. When Suzi attempts to move the roadblock, Vincent knocks her unconscious as Debbie drives away. Meanwhile, Bruce tries to kiss Terry but she refuses, so he slaps her and she hits him back. The fight is interrupted by Debbie’s screams on the Citizen’s Band (CB) radio, yelling that she is being chased near Grainville. Bruce and Terry race to find her, but their pursuit comes to an end when Bruce’s vehicle gets stuck in a ditch. Meanwhile, Debbie faints and her car stops by a swamp. Vincent grabs Debbie and pushes her vehicle into the water. Later, as Vincent and Ida plant and de-vocalize Debbie and Suzi, they hear a car honking from the motel and Ida realizes she forgot to turn on the “No Vacancy” sign. Vincent and Ida greet Edith Olson and Guy Robaire as Bruce and Terry arrive, police sirens blaring. Bruce announces they are searching for a woman who might be hurt, but Ida insists that teenagers were playing pranks on the CB radio. As Bruce leaves, Edith and Guy admit they have arrived for a sexual adventure, not realizing they have mistaken the motel for “Vincent’s Motel for Swingers.” Expecting a wild experience, Edith and Guy allow Vincent and Ida to hog-tie them, enabling the siblings to render the couple unconscious and plant them in the garden. The next morning, Vincent promises to teach Terry how to smoke meat and she kisses him before he drives off on his tractor. Curious, Terry wanders into the smokehouse where Ida is surprised to learn of Vincent’s offer. Ida suggests they float inner tubes on the pond and Terry, a non-swimmer, is reluctant until Ida admits she cannot swim, either, but the tubes will keep them afloat. When they are on the pond, Ida cuts Terry’s tube and pushes the girl underwater, but Vincent rescues her. At the motel, as a recovering Terry lies naked in bed, Ida apologizes, claiming she was overcome by fear. After Ida leaves, Terry thanks Vincent and offers to have sex with him, but he refuses, insisting they must be married first. Vincent visits the Grainville “Eurekaistic” church and asks Reverend Billy to perform the wedding ceremony. Later, Reverend Billy congratulates the sheriff about his brother’s upcoming wedding. Bruce rushes to the motel and is shocked to learn Vincent is not forcing Terry into marriage. Bruce confesses his love for Terry and disparages his older brother, but Vincent arrives and orders Bruce off the property, punctuating his demands with shotgun blasts. Vincent presents Terry with an engagement ring and Ida serves champagne, but Terry’s drink is spiked with drugs. She passes out, and the siblings return to the garden. Using nooses attached to the pickup truck, Vincent and Ida snap the necks of three victims and drag them out of the holes. They take the bodies to the smokehouse, not realizing their actions disturbed the dirt around Bo, allowing him to free himself. Meanwhile, Bruce investigates Bo’s motorcycle crash site and finds part of a trap embedded in the wheel, then discovers Debbie’s car in the swamp. He sneaks back to the motel and awakens Terry to inform her of the situation, but Ida returns, knocks Bruce unconscious, and leads Terry, at gunpoint, to the smokehouse. Meanwhile, Bo frees the other victims in the garden. Vincent orders Ida to bring Bruce to the smokehouse, but, as she returns to the motel, Ida is accosted by the vengeful victims. As Vincent prepares the three torsos, he informs Terry that his work helps solve the problems of overpopulation and food shortages. As she attempts to escape, Vincent realizes that Terry will not fit in. He ties her up and places her on a conveyor belt, but is interrupted when a garden escapee falls through the roof. Vincent overpowers the man, strangles him and tosses him into the smokeroom. Meanwhile, Bruce regains consciousness, grabs a rifle, and runs to rescue Terry. Vincent, wearing the pig head, attacks with a chainsaw, but Bruce grabs his own chainsaw. During the ensuing battle, Vincent ignites the conveyor, sending Terry toward the meat slicer, but Bruce slices Vincent with a chainsaw, and saves the girl. As he dies, Vincent bequeaths the motel and garden to his brother. Hearing screams, Bruce and Terry rush to the garden and discover Ida buried head first in a hole, with her feet sticking out. Bruce is glad he ran away from home at eleven years of age and Terry suggests he burn the motel. As they walk away, the “Motel Hell” sign explodes. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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