Mountaintop Motel Massacre

Mountaintop Motel Massacre (1983)
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Cast: Bill Thurman, Anna Chappell, Will Mitchell
Extras: Theatrical Trailer

The good news is that the folks at Anchor Bay Entertainment continue to scour film vaults around the world, looking for obscure films. The bad news is that sometimes they find things like ’Mountaintop Motel Massacre’. Anchor Bay is pushing the camp aspects of this film, and it’s ’so bad, it’s good’ qualities. That’s probably a wise idea, because there’s not much else to it.

As the ’Mountaintop Motel Massacre’ opens, we are treated to a title card, which informs us that Evelyn Chambers (Anna Chappell) has been incarcerated and recently released from a mental hospital (although we aren’t told why). Then, we are treated to roughly thirteen minutes of film with very little dialogue. This isn’t for any artistic reasons, it’s simply because the characters don’t have much to say. Anywho, after Evelyn ’accidentally’ murders her daughter, she goes off the deep end and begins a murder spree at the rundown motel she operates. Well, now that I think about it, murder spree is a bit of an overstatement, as Evelyn merely releases animals into people’s cabins (snakes, roaches, rats) and then only kills a few of the guests. Evelyn uses a series of tunnels and trapdoors to get from cabin to cabin and generally wreaks havoc on the people stupid enough to stay in a $7 motel room! ’Mountaintop Motel Massacre’ is very slow, and the only reason to keep watching is to see if Evelyn is ever going to kill anyone. The acting is atrocious and the sets appear to be collapsing around the actors. For those of you who like campy crap, then ’Mountaintop Motel Massacre’ is for you. Personally, I think that any film that has a character named ’Bill McWilley’ should be locked away for good.

I actually rented the VHS of ’Mountaintop Motel Massacre’ in the 80s and I can tell you that Anchor Bay’s new DVD blows the old edition away. The new digital transfer presents the film in an anamorphic widescreen, letterboxed at 1.85:1. The one thing that I remember about the VHS version was that many scenes were too dark to make out the action. Anchor Bay has corrected this problem with the DVD, although there are a few scenes, which are still quite dark. The image is sharp and clear, showing only a fine sheen of grain. The colors are fine, although they are slightly washed out in some scenes.

The audio on the DVD is a Dolby Digital mono track, which provides adequate reproduction of the dialogue and sound effects. (Although, being able to clearly make out the dialogue here isn’t necessarily a good thing.) The only extra on the disc is the theatrical trailer for the film, which is letterboxed at 1.85:1. If you must watch ’Mountaintop Motel Massacre’, then do what I did. Turn the volume down and give the ’MST3K’ guys a run for their money!