Saturday, June 12, 2010

MOUNTAINTOP MOTEL MASSACRE (1986) - when you get to the top of the mountain, your accommodation options become pretty limited

The tagline is "Don't disturb Evelyn...she already is". Well, I tend to ignore the elderly anyway.

Your kids tossed you in a nursing home
But they’d rather have put you to sleep
You can’t feed yourself
I’d hate to fucking be like you
- Anal Cunt, “Because You’re Old”

Old lady Evelyn is finally let out of the nutter farm, and you would expect her to end up in a nursing home, thereby jumping from a shitty frying pan and into an even shittier frying pan. However, Evelyn bucks the trends, and decides to live with her disturbed daughter, hoping they can rehabilitate each other to mental stability. The plan is to reopen the family business, as staying busy is a good way to keep your mind off of how fucking crazy you are. Who knows, maybe the business will thrive, starting off as a redneck version of the Bates Motel and ending up…oh wait. Uh oh.

Well, I’ll remain hopeful anyway. The first obstacle to be overcome is a rascally guinea pig that starts putzing around Evelyn’s garden, so she lets loose her trusty sickle on her daughter’s pet furball. The teenage girl’s bedroom is filled with dolls, candles, and children’s drawings; a rotting childhood preserved. She sits in a chair much like Norman Bates’ corpse of a mother, in a rather interesting reversal of Hitchcock’s film. Well, they tussle over the decapitated pseudo-rat, and Evelyn “accidentally” murders her own daughter. Well...that could have been handled better I guess.

Evelyn somehow escapes legal action and is out walking the streets or, more specifically, running a worthless business all by herself. Lo and behold, this shithole mountain motel in the middle of nowhere suddenly becomes a thriving haven, as a parade of paying customers/victims drive in from all over to hold up for the night, amping up the hag’s workload. It seems that a raging rain storm is the catalyst for this spike in business. Thank god for mother nature, otherwise every creepy motel/old dark house/lesbian vampire castle would fold.

Well, wouldn’t you know, the storm knocks the power out, forcing the tenants to use candles. To amp up the creep factor, some asshole critters are scurrying about (a snake, rats, cockroaches), and the daughter’s creepy artwork hangs in all of the rooms, like a posthumous gallery show forced upon a group of commoners. Meanwhile, Evelyn is really not taking the power outage well, twitching profusely, staring at the ceiling for no reason, and shining a light in her face, like she’s perpetually trying to tell a campfire story but is stricken with stage fright. She then starts playing with a doll while dolled up in crazy person make up, as if she’s becoming her own dead daughter. Then again, she was already insane, so maybe that’s a normal night in for her.


One such tenant is a mustachioed pimp who picks up two girls who are having car trouble, both wearing white shirts in the heavy rain (keep in mind that this is a regional film shot somewhere in Louisiana, so the girls are a couple of homely locals, and not Hollywood strippers like usual). He gets them liquored up and makes his move, claiming that he is an important record executive, but is unfortunately interrupted by Evelyn. She sneaks through a trap door and goes to work, as apparently every room is connected by a series of trap doors, but the spacial dynamics are fuzzy to say the least. Several of the more adventurous tenants find one such door and explore the cavernous underpinnings of the motel, reminiscent of the mine scene in My Bloody Valentine (minus that "aboot" nonsense).

An oink officer shows up, and apparently stands in the rain for twenty minutes while a lot of the murders take place, although it may just be a case of shitty editing. Then again, the reality of the film is the reality of the film. Anyway, he finally gets his courage up enough to explore the “basement”, finding the slasher “body altar” we all know and love. Oink boy finally catches up to Evelyn but, even with his gun drawn, has to struggle with the old lady while parts of the ceiling crash down. I guess Evelyn’s habitat is crumbling to correspond with her crumbling psyche, just like the crumbling apartment in Repulsion, but then again, maybe it was due to shitty set construction. Who knows.

Evelyn drops dead of her own accord, avoiding the humiliation of having to spend her final days back at the nuthouse. In a way, at least she went out with a bang, rather than rotting away in a home watching Mannix reruns. Curiously, Evelyn’s dead daughter is seen walking around the next morning. I guess this is supposed to be her ghost, ready to star in the sequel about a young girl who manages a thriving shithole motel all by herself, in the middle of nowhere, despite being dead. I don’t know about you, but I’m sleeping in my car from now on.

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