“What did you expect? A Holiday Inn?”- Mountaintop Motel Massacre

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The title card assures us that Evelyn is certifiable. In the first scene, we see her gardening with a sickle. And guinea pig blood. Meanwhile, Evelyn’s daughter, Lorie is conducting a séance. She’s trying to ask her dead father for advice on how to deal with Evelyn’s relapse.  Sadly for Lorie, Evelyn bursts in brutally murders her. Proving she has some tenuous grasp on sanity, Evelyn hides most of the evidence and phones the police. When the sheriff arrives, Evelyn’s only friend and motel guest, Reverend Bill comes to her defense. Oddly, the sheriff buys the story of ‘vague accident’ and leaves.

 

After Lorie’s funeral, Evelyn comes completely unhinged. Luckily for us, this is when guests start arriving. First up is Crewshaw the spiritual handyman. He practically has to pry the key out of Evelyn’s hand. Next, the Newlyweds Vernon and Mary arrive. Using her network of tunnels under the cabins, Evelyn begins to have some fun. She fills Reverend Bill’s room with rats and gifts a venomous snake to the newlyweds. Vernon gets a bite to the face and swells grotesquely. A frantic Mary runs outside and meets the last of our guests. Al is pretending to be a record producer to score with cousins Prissy and Tanya.

 

Things are going to shit at the motel. Torrential rain, no power, phone lines down and a large tree has fallen across the only means of escape. Playboy Al comes to the rescue with his fancy, totally 80s car phone and flash light. He gets a hold of the questionable sheriff, who promises to head over. Elsewhere, Evelyn seems upset no one has died of fright from the rat/snake attack. She moves to up the ante. Taking to the tunnels, she fills Crewshaw’s room with cockroaches. Prissy is the first to be killed (and Evelyn makes off with her body) Now, Evelyn is on a roll. Al and Crewshaw team up to get to the bottom of things. Rev. Bill bites it next and our heroes hustle over to the newlyweds. The news there isn’t good either, finally our heroes stumble upon the tunnels.

 

Crewshaw and Al go underground to find Evelyn, after locking Tanya in the car. The guys conduct the most relaxed underground search for a sickle welding maniac imaginable. As exactly as you’d expect, it leads to Crewshaw’s death. With Al still bebopping around, our sheriff arrives after what seems like six hours. A terrified Tanya sends him right into the tunnels. Following a little more aimless pursuit, Evelyn is killed with her own sickle.

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Bobi Lobotomy: Another clunker, I fear we’re having a bit of a bad streak. There’s an unnameable quality to GOOD Bad horror films. I’m sure we could debate forever the exact qualities and in what quantities it takes to elevate something bad to something Positively, Legendarily Bad. We’ll save that for another day as this one is just bad (lower case bad). Were you to look at the cover art and imagine the kind of film that would feature a deranged senior citizen with a sickle, the film you’d imagine would win an Oscar compared to this. The most fun Mountaintop Motel Massacre has to offer is its tongue twister name.

 

There are a few interesting bits to this one. You could view it as a low budget, crappy prequel to Psycho. Evelyn, as a villain, isn’t the typical immortal, hulking mute of textbook slashers. We also see an African-American character survive almost the entire film! I had high hopes for Crewshaw being the hero; he’s arguably the only likable guy in the movie. With a name like Major Brock, I was sure he was going places. Those places were likely adult and graphic in nature. When I saw Amy Hill (50 First Dates, All-American Girl, and Strip Mall) in the credits, I squealed. I waited as all the characters were introduced and I couldn’t find her. My partner in crime had to IMDB it to find out she plays Prissy. It was almost worth the 95 minutes to see a young Amy NOT playing an ethnic grandma.

 

This one follows the basic format of unsuspecting people encounter psychopath, psychopath starts killing until incapacitated. The only curveball it throws is more confounding than interesting. Why does Evelyn bother with the half-hearted pest torture? Is she trying to warn them? It’s like she wants them to run away. However, being the kind of people to stay in a Mountaintop Motel they’re barely fazed by the critters, with the exception of Vernon. The death scenes are all pretty underwhelming, with the possible exception of the guinea pig. Although he had no lines, his death touched me the most. Sidebar: Who lets a guinea pig play outside? The goat is hanging out at the occult tea party in the basement and your guinea pig is roaming the yard? *Sigh* Anything I wanted from this movie, I didn’t get. This gets one bloody sickle.

Alisa Ramone:   I picked Mountaintop Motel Massacre because I was sure it would be a superb bad horror quickie! A crazy old woman with a sickle sounded perfect.  I was hoping for a crazy, campy good time, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. The acting is bad, the corny dialogue is worse and I can’t find a cohesive plot to save my life.  This film contains no boobies either. I am still a little frightened by Evelyn, but I feel ridiculous admitting it. This is one of the only times that I think more money and time could have helped. Usually the magic of campy 80’s horror is the lack of money and time, but not MMM. We are introduced to a lot of ideas that are never real followed through; the dead husband, the daughter doing dark magic, and the daughter showing up again after being killed. I wish the plot had been a little more fleshed out. We spend too much time getting to know the characters that are going to be killed off and not enough time on Evelyn’s craziness. I was also constantly annoyed by the pace of MMM. It was way too slow. I’m not even sure how that is possible because so much is missing from the story. I will give the film only two positive comments and then just conclude that it just wasn’t for me. First, the atmosphere was fantastic. It was the only thing that could place this film in the horror genre. Second, the guests at the inn and their stories were almost interesting to me. I liked several of the secondary cast members and wished that the entire film had been about them. The sickle was definitely my favorite character by a head! How is it possible to make a dull movie about a crazy old woman who hears voices that tell her to kill people with a sickle? Somehow Mountaintop Motel Massacre managed to be pretty bad with such a wonderful plot idea. I give it one bloody sickle.

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“So be it” – Crawlspace

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A young tennant is searching for the landlord, Karl Gunther. She wanders into his apartment/torture chamber and meets his tongueless captive, Martha. Gunther isn’t far behind. He laments that he ‘liked’ her before springing  a long blade from the ceiling to impale her. After, Karl plays Russian Roulette alone and lives to torture another day.

Meet Sophie. She’s giving boyfriend Hank an intentional eyeful as he hides in the bushes. Karl is also treating himself to an eyeful from his air duct hiding space. The next day Karl rents the vacant apartment to young student Lori. He wastes no time being creepy, cooking his hand on the stove until she agrees to rent. At home, Gunther is regaling Martha with tales of his childhood exile in Argentina.

Sophie and the rest of the girls in the building invite Lori over for tequila milkshakes. Karl invites himself and introduces the girls to a few of his rodent friends. A little later Karl initiates Lori further with his ritual vent tapping torture he uses on all the girls. Sophie sets out to rile Hank up again, this time with music. Karl has other ideas and takes Hank’s eyes. Then he plays another round of solo roulette, again he wins.

A very expository guest comes to visit Karl. We learn that when Karl was chief of medicine in Buenos Ares sixty seven people died of routine illnesses. Including this man, Josef Steiner’s brother. He also reveals that Gunther’s father was a Nazi doctor. Gunther kicks him out but Steiner is tenacious. He returns the next day, speaking first to Lori then letting himself into Gunther’s apartment. Unfortunately for Steiner he sit in the only booby trapped chair and is killed. Gunther plays another winning round of roulette.

Rapidly spiralling out of control, Gunther punishes Lori for talking to Steiner by dropping Steiner’s corpse in her tub. Karl applies some sloppy makeup and give Lori a blank look from outside her window. Lori’s no dummy, she attempts to make a break for it but Karl locks her in. She attempts to alert the other girls only to find them all dead. Ok, maybe Lori is a dummy. First, she chooses to hide from Gunther in his torture chamber and then in his beloved crawlspace. Lori frees Martha and then plays hide and seek with Gunther in the air ducts. When Karl is momentarily distracted faking his death, the girls make a break for Karl’s apartment. As he advances, laughing, Lori finds his roulette gun. Karl Gunther loses.

Bobi Lobotomy-

HA! Bet you thought we were dead, we’re back!

I was legitimately excited when we stumbled across Crawlspace. An eighties German torture flick sounded like just what I needed. Sadly, it was an American flick with a German in it and no visible torture. The real selling point to this one is the absolutely bat shit Klaus Kinski. Actual Nazi, Actually crazy.

Generally, my biggest problem with this movie was that I overhyped it for myself. In the ten minutes between when I’d heard of it and when I decided to watch it, I’d already played out dozens of wonderfully bloody scenarios.  Nothing that I came up with was featured on screen. I think I was expecting the eighties precursor to Saw. Instead, we’re given a slightly bloody, nipply Lifetime cautionary tale. Of the eight murders Gunther commits, only two are actually on screen.

So… Klaus Kinski. He is the real reason to tune in to this one. His performance is unsettling in the best possible way. Crawlspace is not quite a complete picture of his mental decline, Gunther isn’t in good shape when we meet him but it does offer a fairly satisfying look at a man finally parting with reality. I won’t actually say that I think his acting is spectacular, I honestly think this was Klaus being Klaus. Watch him and tell me you can’t picture him scooting around in his air ducts at home terrorizing his children.

Overall, I wasn’t terribly impressed with this one. I was generally bored and underwhelmed, which seems difficult to achieve in eighty minutes. That being said it is worth it to see Klaus in action. This one gets one and a half tongueless captives.

 

Alisa Ramone-

I had really high hopes for Crawlspace.  I was thrilled stupid about it when I read the synopsis, but I was incredibly disappointed by the actual film. How could you possibly screw up a film about a crazy German Nazi who tortures people? Other than Klaus, the acting was sub-par at best and I wanted to see way more blood or guts. None of the female characters, even Lori, were memorable except the captive. Even without a tongue she was the best actress in the bunch. The death traps were pretty awesome though, even if the deaths were mostly off screen. I don’t think I will ever watch Crawlspace again, but I will also never forget it.

Klaus Kinski was the only redeemable part of the film and that’s only because he was terrifying in a quiet, creepy way. Even though he’s a murder; I’m more interested in the fact that he also plays Russian roulette by himself every day. He pulls the trigger at total of 6 times and lives to torture another day. So, I guess he is a suicidal sadomasochistic Nazi wannabe? How can someone that interesting have such boring things to say to his journal?

I don’t quite understand why there’s a side plot about a person he killed while he was a doctor, but it lead to my favorite death scene – the trap chair. I cringed for several minutes after that scene.

I ultimately wasn’t thrilled by this film and wouldn’t recommend it to others, but I was frightened by Klaus, so I give it two tongueless captives.

What the hell is a tequila milkshake?

“For the same reason you have a taco tattooed on your ass” – Dreamaniac

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Totally Metal Adam is dreaming. His dream girl is visibly deranged and taking a literal blood bath. That doesn’t deter him, they enjoy a bloody makeout until Adam’s real world girlfriend wakes him. Pat, the real girl, drops in for some afternoon sexy time and a friendly reminder. Adam has agreed to rent the place out to Pat’s sister for a sorority function tomorrow. He’s having second thoughts but Pat tells him to stuff it.

That night, to prove how much he wants to get out of the party, Adam calls forth his dream succubus into our world.

It’s party day! Pat and her sister Jodi begin their setup. They find Adam still sleeping well into the afternoon and no trace of his otherworldly friend. He tries once more to call off the party and, again, Pat tells him to stuff it. Soon the sorority Bitches and Bros begin to arrive. First to arrive is Francis, queen bitch. She detests Jodi. After she find that Jodi is dating her former flame, Brad, she makes an internal pledge to bang him. More guests trickle in, including Ace. He’s picked up a hitchhiker in the form of Lily, the succubus. Adam makes a half hearted attempt to get rid of her but can’t bring himself to actually send her back to Whereverland.

Everyone hates the party. Even with the pot brownies, coke and booze. Sister Rosie heads upstairs to fix her makeup and meets Lily’s knife. Next, Ace and Lily play a little bondage game. Ace is electrocuted and plunges the party into darkness. Jan and Foster are next to go in a less inspired fashion. Sensible Jamie warns Pat and Jodi that something is very wrong. Worried, Pat searches for Adam, she finds him watching Lily biting off Brad’s penis. Pat takes off quickly, she runs into Francis and tries to warn her to leave. Francis, being Francis, instead knocks Pat out and goes to fuck Adam. Bad news for Francis, Adam has been convinced to join in the bloody fun. He cuts her throat, Lily gives him his next targets, Pat and Jodi.

When she comes to, Pat finds Jamie and tells him to bring the car around while she finds Jodi. Jamie has been reading Adam’s journal. He tells Pat they’re dealing with a succubus and that she must be beheaded or staked. Pat seemingly files this info in her ‘Fuck that Noise’ folder and heads out. In the process of finding Jodi, Pat finds Zombie Ace. She kills him with a ski pole. Poor Jamie makes it to the car and runs into Lily. She strangles him from the backseat (“Monster in the backseat? Oldest trick in the book!” – Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowlorama). Pat takes a few more steps only to be attacked by Zombie Francis. She smothers Francis, turns around and is attacked by Lily. After seemingly choking Lily to death, Pat runs upstairs to find Jodi.

Pat arrives in Adam’s room to find him standing over a prone and bloody Jodi. Jodi begins to sit up, it was Adam’s blood. Adam starts screaming. He…he runs to the basement and starts spitting blood on the walls? When he comes back Pat and Jodi have a drill. They decapitate him with it. Finally, Pat remembers she sent Jamie outside awhile ago. She leaves Jodi alone with the drill to check on Jamie. Jodi cannot and should not be left alone. She practically finds Lily and stands under her knife. Pat rushes back in, ready to save the day but so does a doctor. Lily is an escaped mental patient. Pat and Jodi both look toward the camera and we flash to a clean(er) cut Adam. He’s on the phone recounting his latest novel, the events of which we just watched. As he ends the call, there is a knock on the door. It’s Lily! She kills him, messily. We get a close up of a script on Adam’s desk. Presumably, it used to say succubus, now due to some blood editing, it says ‘SUC’. Which it did.

Bobi Lobotomy –

Another one from David DeCoteau. Made before Sorority Babes, this, sadly, has none of the charm or magic. The acting is slightly less than mediocre. Out of the two effects I remember, one was okay and one was pretty ridiculous looking. It also suffers from a head-shaking triple twist ending. Possibly, the worst (or hell, most merciful) part of the film is it’s forgetability. I had to watch it twice to get the synopsis together.
What are the high points, you ask? Well, we have breasts (and possibly the tip of a penis) within five minutes. In another five, we get the first sex scene. That’s getting right down to the point for you. A lot of what this movie has to offer is grinding and semi-nude posing. There is also a literal bathtub full of blood, which is pretty rockin’. Pat, our heroine, is kinda cool. When she finally gets her shit together, she uses a power drill as her main mode of defense.
Then there’s the rest. Aside from Pat, most of the characters suck and I’m glad they die. Ace is a douche, Foster is a douche and Brad is a douche. Anyone that walks into a party and announces himself deserves to be electrocuted. I won’t go as far as to call the acting really bad, it’s not great though. For the most part, the problem is the acting is underwhelming. The entire production is underwhelming, I forgot it as soon as the film was over. Except the triple twist ending, which is still stuck in my craw. I like David’s other work, so I’m pretty sad I didn’t like this one. I’ll give it two twist endings.

Alisa Ramone –

I was really disappointed by Dreamaniac. We were really excited to see something else from the man who brought us Sorority Babes… First of all, why were the opening credits so painfully long? If you only have an hour and a half to tell a story, why waste so much of it on the credits? Second, almost every scene in the film was entirely too dark. I would normally be really angry about that, but my brain stopped paying attention after about 20 minutes. Every character appeared to be a bad stereotype and the acting was pretty horrible. I agree with Bobi – you basically forget the entire movie even happened right after you watch it, which is probably a blessing. Normally B horror films can redeem themselves in the gore department; this film couldn’t even pull that off. The succubus was such an awful/boring villain and the only death that was even remotely interesting was the aforementioned electric drill death. Several scenes felt like bad soft core porn. I would have to say that the worst part of the film was the triple twist ending. I’m normally not a fan of twist endings anyways, but this was the most ridiculous one I have ever seen. I really wish I had better things to say about this film because I’m a huge fan of Sorority Babes, but I wouldn’t subject my worst enemy to the torture that is Dreamaniac. At the end of the film there is a piece of paper that has Succubus typed out on it, but the only part you can read is “SUC,” I think that pretty much sums up how I feel about the film. I give it one twist ending.

On a side note – We have been arguing since last weekend about the opening scene. Bobi thinks you can see the tip of his penis and I don’t. If you happen to subject yourself to this horrible film, please give us your opinion.

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The Return of the Living Blog!

Alisa Ramone and Bobi Lobotomy here, reviewing the best (and worst) of the bad in horror. We are working from what we believe to be a comprehensive list of ’80’s horror. You’ll be getting the worst the decade has to offer. Not everything will be from the ’80’s, be ready for anything we might throw at you.

The two of us rarely agree on what makes a bad film great. For both of us though, the campier the movie the better. Alisa does not care for werewolves (“I’m not worried about a giant dog”), robots or aliens. I don’t like sea creatures or slashers. We do, however, both like zombies, psychological horror and splatterific deaths.

We’ll be watching the classics and the not-so-classics. Everything from mainstream releases to bottom of the barrel Troma films. We have a back log of films that have been watched and need to be reviewed. Please feel free to send us your suggestions and comments.

So, why are we doing this? Alisa and I have recently discovered a shared love for all that is bloody, gory and tacky. Poking around the internet has opened up a world of laughably terrifying horror gems. Maybe we can open someone else’s eyes to the wonders of lousy cinema.