Review: Mountaintop Motel Massacre (1986)

September 12, 2012

This blog needs a new motto. If you weren’t aware, my first blog, Picture This! was originally called Picture This! Reviews, and the motto I had for it at that time was:

I watch all the crap so you don’t have to.

But most of the movies I reviewed weren’t that terrible, and so it didn’t really fit. On the other hand, the high majority of the movies I’ve been reviewing for the past month have been pretty horrible. As one of my friends, Nate, asked me in a tweet earlier this afternoon:

@MGLeet How do you find all these horrible movies?

And my friend Tom asked me in a tweet last night about the 1313 franchise:

@MGLeet I don’t even know what they are. How did you discover this franchise?

While I’m not at liberty to publicly disclose my secrets, the fact that I’m asked these questions is indicative of the state of things. Unfortunately Mountaintop Motel Massacre does nothing but add to the growing list of bad movies which populate this blog. In fact, excluding Walther (which is an outlier), this is the low point of my blogging career thus far.

So enough with the elephant in the room.

Written by Jim McCullough Jr. and directed by his father Jim McCullough Sr., Mountaintop Motel Massacre follows seven strangers and their night staying at the Mountaintop Motel. The rooms cost only $7 per night which sounds like a bargain to the guests until they realize the hidden cost — their lives! The Mountaintop Motel is run by Evelyn (Anna Chappell), a strange old lady who has “former mental patient” and “daughter slasher” on her resume, so any gruesome events should surprise no one. Unfortunately the gruesome events really aren’t that gruesome and the definition of “massacre” is stretched very thin.

Prior to today I was unaware that a Horror film could be this excruciatingly boring. Murders are a very exciting thing to depict; the end of a life to the hands of someone can be cheap but inarguably effective, for better and for worse. Somehow, someway, the McCulloughs make the action boring. As the characters get murdered one by one, I felt nothing. I wasn’t angry, sad, or happy. The characters are so unbelievably droll that they have no life force. As they die, nothing changes in the world, and the murderer being an old lady with a garden tool doesn’t help make anything exciting.

The Mountaintop Motel guests include a reverend, an old unemployed carpenter, poor newlyweds, stranded cousins, and a person with a car phone who claims to own a music label. These characters are more boring than I make them sound, which I’m guessing is quite a feat. Mountaintop Motel Massacre was ruined at conception because of these characters alone, and not an iota of effort was spent even trying to make them interesting.

The reverend (Bill Thurman) quips early on that he’s shocked to not be the only one “brave enough” to stay the night which adds to the confusion; if it’s known that the motel owner is an old psychopath, why are there so many guests in a single night? Add the fact that the Mountaintop Motel is almost as isolated as the Bates Motel, and the entire presence of the characters becomes unbelievable.

The characters are dreadfully boring, the killer is dreadfully boring, the kills are dreadfully boring, and everything about Mountaintop Motel Massacre is dreadfully boring. The acting is horrible, the writing is worse, and the direction is lost on an unmarked highway. If I had never seen this movie it would have been too soon. I didn’t get the sense that I wasted fifty years of my life as I had with Walther, but again, that bad movie is in a league of its own.

Mountaintop Motel Massacre is on Netflix as of this writing, and I’m sure it can be found elsewhere. I highly recommend skipping this one, however.

Perhaps I should consider resurrecting my old blog’s old motto.

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