It Takes All Kinds Of Critters…To Read IDW’s Motel Hell

So last update we took a look at IDW’s “IT! Terror From Beyond Space,” and this update we are going to look at Motel Hell, thus far the second and last in IDW’s Midnite Movie comic series. From an early age I found myself drawn to horror films, and some of my first memories of TV were of watching Shock Theater hosted by Dr. Creep, Star Trek, MTV and wrestling making my likes from an early age fantastic, scary and over the top entertainment. My brother Bryan was also very much into horror films and would get old Fangoria & Starlog Magazines from time to time, and one image always stuck with me and that was an ad for an older issue that had a man with a chainsaw and a pig’s heads! Being little, I called him Pig Head Guy and thought Motel Hell was about this killer Pig who killed with a saw.  This image made my imagination run wild as I pictured sexy blonde ladies being chased by this pig killer who would oink super loud as the women would scream at the top of their lungs. In my mind this was a slasher film with a mutant Pig Man! My brother never seemed to show it as much attention as me but would also call him Pig Head Guy when we spoke of the film we both had never seen. But my version of the film was about to come to an end thanks to a childhood icon of mine, and through him I was about to see the real story of the Pig Head Man!

The Pig is LawFangoria 9Farm Land Massacre

In the 1980’s and 1990’s, TV had many great horror hosts, many of whom I watched and some of whom are the key reasons why I make movies and shows now, and on one of these horror host shows is where I got to see Motel Hell for the first time and that show of course was Commander USA’s Groovie Movies! When the movie was about to be shown I remember being super hyped to see this killer Pig Man do all types of evil things, and after watching it I felt let down.  In fact, the version of what the film really was to me was only a so-so slasher film that packed very little punch to younger me. After viewing it the first time the charm of Pig Man who I found out was really farmer Vincent Smith who was a mortal man who killed people to make into meat snacks and only puts the pig head on in the final moments of the film in a crazed state, wore off and I soon forgot about the film. The film would run again on USA’s Saturday Nightmares, a great little block of horror inspired program that would show a film and TV shows like The Hitchhiker and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, but I would skip the showing of the film and watch the horror shows after. The next time I would see this film was when my brother rented it from K&L Video, and we gave the film another shot.  Now in my late teens, I found the film to be a fun cheesy film that had some good horror moments.  I would then see it again years later hosted by Joe Bob Briggs on TNT’s Monstervision and again found it to be fun, but I am sure Joe Bob also made the watching of it more so fun. After all these years a film that after seeing it crushed my vision of it, still remains a fun silly, cheesy, hammy watch that I have grown to like.

Commander USA!USA Saturday NightmaresJoe Bob Briggs

Motel Hell is about Farmer Vincent Smith and his fat and nasty sister Ida Smith who kill people along side the road and who stop at their motel called The Motel Hello.  They mix the human meat with pig meat to make meat snacks like beef jerky and BBQ. But Vincent, who is an old man, falls in love with a young woman who he has caused to get memory loss after he kills her boyfriend.  Their human crop, who they bury and remove the vocal cords from, are getting fired up to fight back. Throw in brother and cop Bruce Smith, and you have one bad situation. I don’t want to spoil to much of the film so I will stop here. The film has been put out on many home media like VHS, Laserdisc and DVD making it easy to find for those who would like to check it out.

Motel Hell VHSMotel Hell LaserdiscMotel Hell DVD

One thing before we get into this review, much like last update in which I noticed the rise of super cute nerd girls who read comics, play Magic and dress up as characters,  with all this talk of pork, I need to talk about this weird trend of hot girls who love bacon! Bacon is a greasy mostly breakfast food that is known for being bad for you.  Fast food places like Wendys add bacon to many of their cheeseburgers and for the most part this food product is junk food. But somewhere along the way girls have found that this pork product is good comfort food and has now become an obsession to some. Bacon is now everywhere in culture from stuff dolls, tattoos, shirts, bras, fetish pics, chip dip, hot sauce, lip baum, gummi candy, bubble gum, vodka, sandwich spread, breath mints, books, popcorn, potato chips, car air fresheners, cup cakes, more fast food burgers and the list can go on and on! While I don’t get the love of bacon, I find that if you love it then enjoy it just don’t get the tattoos.

Bacon GirlSlab of BaconBacon Girls

Now let’s get down to the review of IDW’s 3 issue mini series of Motel Hell! Just a reminder once again I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, its art and story. And after I will throw in another review for an old Marvel horror comic. All the comics on this update are thanks to the team up of Mavericks Cards and Comics, Game Swap Kettering and a special thanks to Bell, Book and Comic for having Motel Hell issue 1 after mine went missing, so thanks Pete! 

Motel Hell 1Motel Hell # 1  **1/2
Released in 2010   Cover Price $3.99   IDW Comics   #1 of 3

Farmer Vincent Smith and sister Ida are back, and this time besides making their famous smoked meats they are also making fine wine! And they start the issue off attacking a family with twin girls. Holly Bell is a reporter who has been sent to write a story about the wine the Smiths are making and is a guest to the Motel Hello Spa alongside wannabe rock star Sage, Desirae a rich bitch, con man Joss, perverted old man Rupert and NFL star and dog killer Freddie. The group climbs aboard a run down old plane and are taken to the Motel Hello Spa, but the first night the peace and quiet are disrupted as the plane takes off.  Ida, now in Pig Mask, has Sage tied up and dead bodies all around and jumps from the plane leaving him to die in the crash. The other guests watch in horror, and so ends issue 1.

This first issue is a little disappointing and changes the whole core of who and what the Smiths do! The idea of them inviting all these high profile people to the motel to kill is a little over the top and leaves way too many openings on how they will be caught.  I mean I understand they want the outside world to believe that they all died in the staged plane crash, it just seems overdone. Vincent seems more off his rocker in this one and seems to snap in and out of being sweet farmer and raving lunatic. Ida in this issue the main killer who plops on the pig mask and does all the killing.  She also seems to enjoy humping some of the victims again changing her film tomboy nature. The issue has some blood and gore, and while well done, the story so far just seems to be lacking something to really draw me in. The art is pretty cool, and I enjoy the dark nature of the presentation. The cover is really well done and has the American Gothic Painting nature to it. The comic has some basic elements of the film but has taken many liberalities with the source materials that thus far I am not sure how I feel about. Plus how the hell are Vincent and Ida still around after the events of the film? Over all the series is starting slow but let’s see how issue 2 does and if it can bring this so far average series up a notch or two. 

Motel Hell 2

Motel Hell # 2  **1/2
Released in 2010   Cover Price $3.99   IDW Comics   #2 of 3

The next morning the group meets for breakfast, and Freddie gets insulted by Vincent.  The old farmer uses a stun gun to knock out the young man and forces the rest of his guests outside for a long hike. Freddie is taken and becomes Ida’s plaything, as Vincent takes them 3 miles out and explains to them no matter which way they walk they will never leave Motel Hello alive! They are then forced back into their rooms and the doors are locked.  Freddie meanwhile wakes up in a cage where Ida lets her giant pet Boar attack him.  After he’s badly hurt Vincent and Ida try and pry the boar off and so ends issue 2.

This issue is the same as the first and seems to be lacking something.  Being the second in the series and next issue being the last, it makes me worried that the end of this story is going to be so badly rushed. More of the same in this issue as Vincent this time lets more of his evil side out and lets his guests know he has a greater plan for them all.  Ida is once more a fat crazy sex craved killer, and both brother and sister wear the pig masks. Holly who is clearly the main hero of the story don’t seem to have much to do in this issue and makes you wonder how much of a threat is she to the killers. The rest of the group seem to be throw aways and none of them seem like good likeable characters. This one has blood as well but has no kills. The giant pet boar is funny and its name Hogsquatch reminds me of the legend boar himself Hogzilla. The art is the same as last issue so it’s good.  The plot is a little lack luster, and the cover this time around is kind of lame. Let’s see if the 3rd and final issue will be a gem in this slightly disappointing series. 

Motel Hell 3

Motel Hell # 3  **1/2
Released in 2010   Cover Price $3.99   IDW Comics   #3 of 3

Freddie is taken and buried to where only his head is out, as Joss and Rupert escape their motel room only to be captured by Ida. Holly and Desirae also escape but are seen by Vincent who wants to turn it into a cat and mouse game. After running, the two woman find the twin girls locked up in a barn and free them only to be ambushed by Ida, who kills Desirae and is then attacked my Holly with a hammer.  Before she can kill the fat crazy bitch, Vincent comes to his sister’s aid. With Holly tied up and the twins on the run, they release Hogsquatch to bring them back. Vincent and Ida go to work on making their next wine batch that is made of human eyes that they get from all the captured guests as the twins free Holly.  Together they make a plan that leaves brother and sister dead as well as their giant pet boar.

This final issue seems rushed, and the story is not fleshed out making it a disappointing read. The way they blow through all the guests this issue just seems tacked on and not impactful, as are the “deaths” of the bad guys, Vincent and Ida go down way to easy and the end “fight” is a rushed anti climatic way to end the terror. The fact they use human eyeballs in the wine is also not as shocking as I think they were hoping it would be, if you have seen the film you knew that the secret had to be some human body part. Holly who turns out to be the hero to no ones shock seems cold blooded as she sets the place on fire with some of her eyeless fellow guests still alive. Using the Twins at the end was a fun nice twist as they add a little humor and spice to the plot. The art in this one also seems as rushed as the plot making the final issue an average read. This issue does step up the blood and for those who hate eyeball violence, you might not want to read this series. Issue 3 was not the saving grace I was hoping it to be, and oh yeah why the hell does Vincent start talking about Charles Manson as he’s “dying”?

Motel Hell was a comic mini series that had lots of potential but never seemed to reach it.  While the film’s plot was a dark comedy horror style, this comic series seemed more of a rushed horror comic that tried to spice up the characters. First Vincent, while the character is a psycho he never was as mean spirited in front of multiple people nor would he have given away the fact he wanted to kill them all that easily. Ida, while a stone cold bitch of a character never was a sex crazed rapist. But in this comic mini series they both did the stuff mentioned and then some. Plus were the hell is Bruce Smith, their brother and Terry, the woman he kidnapped in the film? They just seem to be phantoms. Motel Hell the comic was a letdown much like the film was when I first viewed it many years back, making this second Midnite Movie IDW mini series an average at best horror comic that packs some blood and gore, cult horror characters, a rushed storyline and good art. This one changed the source material, and I think by doing so is what lead to the so-so run of the series. IT! was a fun surprise that I found entertaining, Motel was just a nice warm up for what I hope are more Midnite Movie mini series to come.

Motel Hell artFarmer VincentPig Head Hump

Marvel Comics has also had its share of great classic horror inspired comic series that chilled the bones of the youth of the past. Many great titles like Tomb of Dracula, Werewolf by Night, Man-Thing, Monster of Frankenstein, Ghost Rider and many more kept the youngsters reading as they hid under cover late at night with flashlights and read these spooky issues. But some but not many of today’s readers remember a series called Uncanny Tales From The Grave or also known as Uncanny Tales, Marvel’s Tales From The Crypt style comic. But what the series really was reprints of past old short horror comics crammed together to make a new series from. So while we can, let’s take a look at issue 5 in this series and see how good it holds up to a first time reader. 

Uncanny Tales From The Grave 5

Uncanny Tales From The Grave # 5   **1/2
Released in 1974   Cover Price .25   Marvel Comics   #5 of 12

4 stories to chill your blood in issue 5 of Marvel’s Horror comic. “The Strange Machine” is set during the Spanish Inquisition and has a mean ass judge getting what’s coming to him via his own hands when he tries to set up his rival. In “A Little Pain Never Hurt Anybody” a dentist is cruel to his wife and patients, and when he comes home and finds a world famous brain surgeon hitting on his wife he snaps! But the Dentist has one slight issue with passing out and when he awakens it’s revenge time by the hands of his enemy. “The Man in Black” ia a cold hearted spy who comes to America to steal weapon plans but makes a big mistake that could lead him to his own death. In “The Little Pests,” a man and his girlfriend kill his wife for the insurance money, but the truth might come out thanks to some winged insects.

This is a very cheap imitation of Tales from the Crypt that crams 4 reprinted stories into an issue and passes it off as a bone chilling read. Each story is a bloodless horror thriller with a twist ending that is set to shock. The big issue with this comic is the fact none of the stories stick out and there was no host such as Vault Keeper or Old Witch to keep the pacing up and to add some spice to the mediocre stories. The best story out of the 3 has to be The Little Pests.  While it’s simple in nature, the shocking pay out in the end is well done. The art in the comic ranges from good to so-so as do the stories themselves. The issue’s cover is super misleading and nowhere in the issue does this take place with a raving monster, in fact there is not a monster to be seen! Over all this is my first time reading an issue of Uncanny Tales From The Grave, and this did not make me a fan.  While I would be fair and check out another issue, I am not going to be in any hurry.

So we stayed three issues at Motel Hell and then got an uncanny tale.  Now it’s time we say goodbye for now but I am sure you’re wondering what the next update is going to be.  Well in my youth one thing would always make me happy in comics and film, epic battles between two things that shouldn’t be fighting but are.  So next update, we will be looking at battles in comics that are so amazing you will be cheering for a side and finding out who I think should have won! So see you next update, and get ready for some epic rumbles!

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