Director – Jim McCullough Sr. (Video Murders, Charge of the Model T’s)
Starring – Bill Thurman (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Gator Bait), Anna Chappell (The Man in the Moon), and Will Mitchell (The Aurora Encounter)
Release Date – 1983
Rating – 3/5
Blu Release – 3.5/5
Tagline – “Please do not disturb Evelyn. She already is”
When I was first getting into horror I found myself renting or buying everything I could from the 80s. My obsession with this decade runs deep and for the longest time this was the only films I would watch. I remember all the awesome tapes my local video store had when I was a kid and how I never made it through all of them before the owner sold it to someone else.
One tape that I never got around to renting was the 1982 horror flick Mountaintop Motel Massacre. When the new owner of the video store was selling the tapes I went through them all looking for select tapes I wanted but someone had already nabbed it. I got the DVD some years later but never watched it. It’s gathered dust on my shelf for sometime now but I never could find the time to check it out due to the films I needed to see for reviews. I got lucky when Vinegar Syndrome announced the film on blu. I forgot to reach out for a review copy but I did order a copy a few weeks back because I needed it for my collection.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows a cheap motel centered deep in the woods during a bad storm. A tree is blocking the road into town so many motorists are seeking refuge at the cheap establishment. What they don’t know is that the owner, Evelyn, is mentally unstable and thinks that everyone that has checked in is out to get her. She sets out to kill them one by one before the storm breaks.**spoiler alert**
I wasn’t expecting a perfect 80s horror movie when I tossed this one in but I was expecting a fun trip back to my favorite decade. Mountaintop Motel Massacre did not disappoint. Sure, there was room for improvements but the film is just fine the way it is.
The acting in this one is solid and fits the film. I really enjoyed the cast and the characters even though several were painfully clichéd. By 1983 we have seen hundreds of slashers using the same type of characters. With that being said, I really enjoyed the cast and the characters they gave the viewers. They were fun and you really enjoyed each scene with them in it.
The story for this one is a bit of a stretch even for an early 80s horror flick but if you just roll with it you will find yourself having some fun. It slows down in several of the scenes but the “what happens next” holds you to the screen. The movie trades excitement for mystery and it works for the most part.
Finally, the film has some on screen kills and some blood but don’t expect gore. The kills are what you would get in the slashers of the time and they were fun. They worked very well with the movie. The effects are minimal but they work for the movie as well. Fans of early 80s slasher will enjoy these kills and effects. Overall, Mountaintop Motel Massacre is a very enjoyable early 80s slasher. It may not be your typical slasher but many of the elements are there. I highly recommend grabbing a copy on blu from Vinegar Syndrome.
Newly scanned & restored in 2k from 35mm negative elements
“Under the Influence” – an interview with assistant cameraman David Akin
“Mountaintop Motel Memories” an interview with production designer Drew Edward Hunter
Original theatrical trailer
Reversible cover artwork
English SDH subtitles