Mountaintop Motel Massacre

Mountaintop Motel Massacre (hereby referred to as MMM) was forged in 1983 under two different titles.  It didn't scare up much coin, so three years later, Roger Corman's New World Pictures offered to release it under the more exploitative banner that we know today.  I think it was originally dubbed Mountaintop Motel, which sounds like a laborious Hallmark Channel abscission.  Are you familiar with that term?  It involves cutting.  Maybe it's not fair, but I'd compare Hallmark's in-studio movies to a castration.  Look, my mommy has been addicted to those things since Thanksgiving, so my anti-Hallmark rage has been building for awhile now.  Fuckin' arrrghh!

MMM is precisely the type of flick I would have rented from Community Video in the late 90's.  The cover, while charming, doesn't do the film justice.  It makes it look like it was shot on 8mm.  In reality, it was shot on 35mm, and the budget topped $100 million.  Okay, it wasn't that humongous, but it wasn't chump change.  The whole shebang looks appetizing with the exception of Evelyn, the minx behind the door.  At the very beginning, she is discharged from a madhouse and sent to live with her...daughter?  Granddaughter?  She seems too young to be Evelyn's offspring, so I'm going with granddaughter.  Final answer!

In a bizarro plot turn that is dropped as soon as it's decreed, the granddaughter performs some kind of ritualistic seance.  Evelyn sees it, disapproves, and starts swinging her sickle AS YOU DO.  The little filly dies, but Granny convinces the (dumb) sheriff that it was an accident.  Bear in mind, I've only described the first five minutes.  The body of MMM is fleshed out with a string of characters checking into Evelyn's motel and succumbing to her trusty sickle.  She doesn't go for the throat right away, though.  At one point, she releases rats into a preacher's cabin.  Likewise, she sends a poisonous snake into the room of a recently married couple.

But why?  The snake bite isn't even fatal.  The answer?  I don't know, man.  Director Jim McCullough Sr. must have been aiming to pad the running time.  Aside from her killing implement, Evelyn uses a sweet gimmick to access her victims.  She hoofs it and percolates (read: boogies) through an underground tunnel that connects all of the cabins.  It's a neat idea.  That's where Mountaintop Motel Massacre gets most of its atmosphere.  Well, that and the rainy night sky.  This is a dark film, but your eyes won't have difficulty adjusting to the lighting.  Visually, it's well-sorted.

Principally, MMM Bop is the consummate "good-bad" movie.  On the other side of the flophouse termite, it may also be a "bad-good" movie.  The polished production values and interesting premise are dehydrated by bush-league acting coupled with mediocre everything.  Either way you slice it, this is a 3-Z'Dar presentation.

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