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Review: Motel Hell, Basket Case, and Shock Treatment

May 7, 2012

I’m going to blow through these movies in order to get caught up.

Motel Hell

The main premise is a little motel, out in the middle of nowhere (not, mind you, Nowhere, Kansas from Courage the Cowardly Dog – That might have made the movie good), whose owner Vincent Smith is known for smoking the most delicious meats in the area. This being a horror-comedy made in 1980, the secret ingredient is people.

One night, he shoots out the back tire of a motorcycle, burying the man up to his neck in what I’m going to start calling his Soylent Garden, and taking the woman to the motel and putting her in a room. I’m going to skip to the end, because most of this movie is just murder and sausage, and I happen to like sausage. Besides, the only scene that comes close to redeeming this movie comes just slightly more than an hour and a half in.

There is a chainsaw battle, and it would have been one of the greatest moments I’d ever seen in a movie…if I could fucking see any of it. Apparently they mistook “dark in tone” for “if you turn on one single light I will kick you off the movie.” Vincent is killed by his brother, and with his dying breaths leaves him the farm and garden, and admits to the dark secret of his meat. “I…I…used…preservatives!”

You know something? I’m not going to miss him.

Basket Case

Wow, this…I’m not quite sure what to say here. So I’ll just say it. The actors in this movie are terrible, and it is delicious. Okay, let me back up. This is the cheapest…wait, scratch that. The second cheapest movie I’ve ever seen. After a doctor is killed by…a guy wearing a rubber monster glove, we see  someone walking in Times Square carrying a wicker box. You can tell it’s Times Square because this is 1982 and he passes no less than three porn shops before being approached by a drug dealer. In fact, I’m not even sure the drug dealer was supposed to be in the movie because whoever this guy is never acknowledges him.

Once again, skipping to the end, Belial (the glove/puppet/stop-motion thing) and Duane (the guy carrying the basket and ignoring the dealer) eventually kill each other in a fight by wrestling each other out of the window and falling to their deaths.

This movie is bad, but at the very least the acting is hilariously bad. You’ll be laughing, but the director and actors won’t like it.

Shock Treatment

This is the big one, folks. In fact, this is the only one movie that I’m willing to do background on.

A long time ago, going on forty years now, an English actor named Richard O’Brien wrote a schlock-horror/comedy play called The Rocky Horror Show. It became THE play to see in London, and two years later, 20th Century Fox released a film adaptation that is still in limited release, and is the record holder for longest theatrical release in film history.

Buoyed by this success, he set out to make a follow-up, which ultimately became Shock Treatment.

The movie starts out with a strange sequence with singers talking up the virtues of Denton. I can only describe it as what it would be like if a town held a pep rally. Towards the end of the song, we focus in on Brad and Janet Majors (Yes, that Brad and Janet), now married. Janet is getting into the song along with the rest of the crowd, while Brad appears both confused and slightly creeped out. All the pep rallies I went to in high school…let’s just say that I’m well-acquainted with that look.

We cut straight to Betty Hapschatt interviewing Judge Oliver Wright (AKA “A Criminologist”, AKA Ernst Stavro Blofeld, AKA Mycroft Holmes) and she correctly infers that he finds the town theme a bit manipulative. And then we go to a commercial break (Never thought I write that for a movie) teaching the five Fs: Farley Flavors Fabulous Fast Food. I’ve got a couple of Fs they missed -“Fucking” “Fungible”.

Anyway, after the commercial, it’s revealed that Ralph and Betty Hapschatt have divorced, and that she is now interested in Judge Wright, the two getting coffee together before the start of Marriage Maze, a game show/insane asylum recruitment tool hosted by an allegedly blind Austrian wearing a shitload of pancake makeup. Have I mentioned that we’re ten minutes in?

For brevity’s sake, I’m going to summarize the rest of the movie. The host of Marriage Maze convinces Janet to have Brad committed to Dentonvale, a psychiatric hospital/soap opera, as Rest Home Ricky (played by Rik Mayall, proving that he can give a performance that isn’t godawfully horrendous) brings out a wheelchair to take him away. Brad and Janet meet with Drs. Cosmo and Nation McKinley, an ambiguously incestuous brother and sister team.

I’m going to leave the ending up to you to find for yourselves, because this is the only movie of the group that I will wholeheartedly endorse. A lot of the criticism for this move seems to come from the fact that it isn’t Rocky Horror. Well, it’s not. But on its own merit, it’s a pretty decent movie. The music works, the actors, while not always the originals, seem invested in the characters, and the plot is, much like Rocky Horror, insane. Honestly, if you’re looking for something for a movie night but don’t want to watch RHPS again, Shock Treatment should provide an apt substitute.

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