Motel Hell (1980) - What I would like to see in a remake.
Motel Hell is one of those movies that holds a very special place in my heart. When I began truly getting into horror, my mother raved about this movie called Motel Hell. I still remember her telling me about this movie and how she had seen it at the drive-in with my father and uncle when she was first married. Then how this movie was constantly air on cable in the years following. It wasn't long before she ordered this movie on tape for me and I got to visit the Motel Hello, where Farmer Vincent and his sister Ida live and work, and where they sell the best smoked meats in the entire state! This odd ball black comedy/horror movie was so out there it left a lasting impression on me. I still have wonderful memories watching it with my mother, and always find myself constantly quoting it. "Meats meat and mans gotta eat!" With zany crazy characters, scenes that honestly make you go "What the fuck was that?" and lots of gore, Motel Hell is a cult classic that is highly underrated. Yet again thanks to Scream Factory, this movie finally got the blu-ray treatment and is a must to watch around the summer time. In fact, nothing would seem more relaxing than sitting down to some jerky, beer, and a visit to Vincent's secret garden!
For years rumors have floated around on a remake for this film. Sadly it's been stuck in limbo since no further developments have been issued. Well, as much as I can bitch and moan about remakes of my favorite films, I truly believe if this was made the right way it could actually be pretty good. Here are five things I would do that would make this remake work.
1). The right casting.
- What made the original Motel Hell so good was the casting of Vincent and Ida. If you were to go the younger route, I would have Giuseppe Andrews (Cabin Fever, 2001 Manics) play Vincent and maybe have Rebel Wilson play Ida. If you needed to make the age difference I think it would be a hoot to see somebody like Robert Englund play Vincent. in fact I would jam pack this entire movie with cameos of other horror actors. I mean hell even Sid Haig and Bill Moseley would work!
2) Keep the crazy odd ball tone of the movie.
- So many remakes today try to make the movies darker, scarier, more gritty. Trust me, I'm fully behind it but it really depends on the movie. I honestly wouldn't be able to take a remake of Motel Hell that serious if they tried to make the movie more darker. Add more gore? Sure! Make the butchering/kidding more brutal? Go for it! Still, what made this movie so memorable was the fact that some stuff was so out of left field you honestly had no idea what you were watching. Like the scene with the swingers? Or the huge age difference between Vincent and Terry. In fact one of my favorites has to be the big reveal of the secret garden and what Vincent and Ida do to make their "animals" trip out and have a painless death. Half of this stuff you really couldn't make up. It's a riot. I say keep all the cheese! That's what made this movie the film it is today!
3) Get the right director.
- With the right director anything can happen. In fact, this might be a shot in the dark, but I could see somebody like Adam Green taking over a project like this. It's a bloody, gory, black comedy. Exactly his type of thing! There are a huge new batch of up coming directors that know exactly how to capture the magic that once was in the 1970's and 80's. I think with a director like Green he would be able to pay tribute to this classic movie, while still kicking it up a new notches!
4) Really play up the fact people are in fact…well eating people!
- I really liked how they sorts played up the whole Texas Chainsaw Massacre thing with having Farmer Vincent not only run a lovely little motel off in the middle of nowhere, but sell some of the best homemade smoked jerky in the area. I would have really paid this into focus. In fact the whole motel thing is sorta an afterthought with everything that's going on in the movie. I would play up how there have been missing persons for years, and how cureless the police are. I always found it interesting that Bruce was Vincent and Ida's younger brother who ran away from home when he was young and went on to become a man of the law while his older and stranger siblings ran their business and how he had zero idea any of this was going on. I've always really loved the trap ideas they did (shooting out the tires, putting fake animals in the road.) Ida and Vincent remark on these as well as several others. I would really show how for years they have been doing this and don't see one thing wrong with the whole thing. Maybe there's so a huge meat contest in town and every year the Motel Hello wins. That would be a great place for a showdown!
5) Have the granny character!
- In the original, Vincent and Ida keep talking about their grandmother who raised them. Who taught Vincent all the secrets of her smoking/cooking tricks. I really thought the idea of having this super old crazy woman would be awesome and a great add-on character. Who knows, maybe she's so old she just stays in her room and there's a huge reveal at the end. I always liked little twists like this, that somehow their old grandmother was the master mind behind all of this. Have an epic ending with the victims getting revenge and of course a chainsaw duel and bang, you got yourself on hell of a movie!
So check on in at the Motel Hell, grab some smoked meats, and have a good old' time!