Mountaintop Motel Massacre (1986)

Mountaintop Motel Massacre (1986)

Please do not disturb Evelyn. She already is.

After several years in an insane asylum, Evelyn Chambers is finally released and goes back to running the Mountaintop Motel. She kills a young child during a fit of anger and this starts her descent back into madness, which is bad news for the other guests staying at the motel.

 

It’s been a while since I’ve sat down to watch a good ol’ 80s slasher film that I hadn’t seen yet and stumbled upon this when browsing through Wikipedia (damn that site is a gold mine). Maybe I wish I’d never bothered. It was actually made in 1983 but sat getting dusty on some shelf somewhere before the slasher craze really hit it big. Mountaintop Motel Massacre is arguably Psycho for the 80s slasher generation only with a barking mad old lady in the place of Norman Bates. She hears voices from her dead daughter and blames the guests for her daughter’s demise. This is certainly not Hitchcock, nor would the great director have ever envisioned his classic to have inspired such drivel.

Technically appalling, laughably acted and with a snail’s pace, it’s a good hour before the batty woman kills the first guest. It does pick up at this point although the preceding fifty minutes are a bit of a slog to get through. As expected the opening introduces us to the character of Evelyn and throws in a bit of back story. After all, what would a slasher flick be without a kill in the opening ten minutes? I’m not sure whether the young girl is supposed to be her granddaughter or just some random guest but either way it doesn’t really matter as its pointless filler – Evelyn doesn’t get arrested, the girl is forgotten about and life goes on. We’re then introduced to the guests who all arrive at the motel including a handyman, an alcoholic reverend, a couple on their honeymoon and an advertising executive who picks up two hitchhikers and pretends to be a big shot record producer to get them into the sack. The characters are all fleshed out, if badly acted, and they are at least written with a sense of intelligence (i.e. they prefer keeping safety in numbers and not going to investigate things on their own). Unfortunately the characters are all we get and things slowly, and I mean slowly, plod along for ages. They talk to each other. They drive around and arrive at the motel. They meet the other guests.

The kills, when they do eventually take place, are unremarkable and weapon of choice is a scythe. Ketchup and corn syrup is the order of the day although the film isn’t overly bloody. However the old lady has a great habit of using tunnels underneath the motel to get into each of the separate rooms. This leads to plenty of moments of floor tiles slowly lifting in the dark to reveal the candlelit silhouette of the old lady with scythe in hand! It’s quite a novel and effective way to get around each of the locked rooms and is well used. However I can’t for one moment think of how long it would take for me to notice the tiles lifting up next to me whilst sitting on the toilet – it takes one guys ages before he sees the floor tile nearly mid-air! The old lady also has a habit of putting animals and insects into the rooms to spook the guests before she kills them later. For me it was another pointless waste of good slashing time. She should have been chopping up a few more characters instead of wasting her time tipping cockroaches into bedrooms. And don’t get me started on the ending!

 

Mountaintop Motel Massacre is a terrible waste of time and effort and I wouldn’t bother watching it. However I’m actually glad that, even though the film sucks, Anchor Bay and other studios are releasing these drive-in gems to DVD as there is a big market for them. Hopefully I’m stumble across some more of them in the future. As long as I don’t stumble and fall into a pile of crap like this.

 

 ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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