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Home | Film Review: Mountaintop Motel Massacre (1986)

Film Review: Mountaintop Motel Massacre (1986)


After accidentally killing her daughter, the already mentally unstable Evelyn (who runs an old rundown motel in the middle of nowhere) goes completely nuts and decides to kill off all of the guests who are staying at her motel.


My cousin Dana told me about this movie when I was about 11 or 12 and after hearing her talk about how much ass it kicked I couldn’t wait to see it. I have always loved anything with the word “massacre” in its title and when I finally got to see it years later it was definitely as good as my cousin said it was. I watched it again just the other day and while I still liked it, it wasn’t as violent and bloody as I remembered it. There isn’t a huge body count and since Evelyn goes out of her way to do annoying things to her guests before she kills them (such as putting roaches and rats in their rooms) I think that Mountaintop Motel Minor Inconvenience may have been a more appropriate title. Regardless of feeling a little disappointed by the overall lack of blood and guts and the relative small amount of victims that die at Evelyn’s hand I still dig this movie and think that it is nothing short of awesome.

If you were unfortunate enough to see Vacancy a few years ago (and I am truly sorry for you if you did for having to go through that mess of a film) you will no doubt agree that the makers of it saw Mountaintop Motel Massacre and pretty much ripped off some of the things that it does. The most blatant rip off is that Evelyn has a series of underground tunnels that run under the motel and she can get to the rooms by traveling through said tunnels. She has a habit of popping up through hidden trap doors in all of the rooms and sneaking up on the guests inside who think that they are safe because they have their motel doors locked and secured. The same thing happens in Vacancy, and there is no way that this is a coincidence.

The big difference is that Mountaintop Motel Massacre is a great film while Vacancy is not. I think that there is just something creepy about Evelyn being able to use the trap doors for a variety of reasons be it using them to dispatch rats, snakes, and roaches into your room or utilizing them so that she can sneak in and kill you. To be honest after seeing this movie as a kid I used to always check whatever motel or hotel room I was staying in to make sure that there were no hidden doors anywhere that would allow someone to come in my room and kill me. I think that it is a cool concept and makes Evelyn a little more threatening because you never know what room she is going to pop up in.

I absolutely loved Anna Chappell in the role of Evelyn. She does an amazing job playing a totally deranged older woman and you can tell that she had a total blast playing the part. I know some people may not think a character like Evelyn could possibly be intimidating, but I assure you that they are wrong. While she isn’t a big, hulking, unstoppable juggernaut like Jason or Michael she gets the job done when it comes to killing others and is effectively creepy in her own way. If you don’t believe me then just look at the cover art for the DVD as the demented, totally batsh*t crazy, out of her mind expression on her face will make you think otherwise. It’s unfortunate that Chappell only did one other movie as I think that she had the potential to be a huge star in the horror industry. Given that her acting ability is limited I still think that she could have had a pretty good career playing the crazed mother character in a variety of horror films.

The only real downside to the movie is the bad acting, but to be honest I really wasn’t that bothered by it. Sometimes bad acting isn’t always a bad thing and actually makes me enjoy the movie even more, and that is the case with Mountaintop Motel Massacre. Considering that only a few people who appeared in it actually went on to do other things I have to assume that most of the cast were just friends and family members of the filmmakers, which would account for the poor acting. As bad as the acting is at times it is still better than what I have seen in some other films, so no one who appeared in this movie should feel ashamed of his or her performance.

While it is pretty tame considering its title I still think that it is a good movie. If you go into it expecting only a few cool death scenes as opposed to a total bloodbath of a film that features death after gruesome death you will enjoy it. I think that it has a fairly original premise and that the character of Evelyn (due mainly in part to Chappell’s portrayal) is excellent. If you haven’t seen it then you should definitely check it out. I think that both fans of 80’s slashers and non-fans alike will enjoy it.

Mountaintop Motel Massacre (1986)

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