Mountaintop Motel Massacre (1986)

The old folks have taken over the asylum. High-fives to the old folks.

Mental hospitals are The Best, especially when it comes to slasher films. Grandmas are The Best, especially when it comes to real life. Mountaintop Motel Massacre initially utilizes both of these things, but somehow, it is not The Best. However, it’s still pretty good. How do I know? Well, when two newlyweds arrive at Grandma’s motel of death, they discover a filthy sack in the middle of the bathroom.

Bride: “Eww. Vernon, what is this?”

Vernon: “Ah, just an old sack. Throw it in the corner. I’m so horny, I can’t stand it.”

Thus, we, as cultivated slasher devotees, stumble upon what this film can offer our sensitive palettes: Personality. Lots of it. Mountaintop tells the story of an old lady, her dreary motel, and her penchant for killing random guests. That in itself is a serviceable, if uninspired, place to hang a hat. Yet, as a slasher film in search of deliverables, this sucker falls flat. Gory excitement bookends the whole thing, but overall, it’s just people running around in the rain and banging on cabin doors. Or is it?

Working kind of like Final Exam, but exchanging developmental charisma for entertaining emptiness, the almost-slick Mountaintop dishes out some fun, all thanks to its goofy leads: an elderly, whiskey-chugging preacher; his craggy carpenter pal (who actually stops to take a dump midway through the film); the randy newlyweds; an exquisitely portrayed mid-80s Dude; two bimbos in search of a singing career; and, of course, Grandma and her killer animals, underground tunnels, and cold detachment. You can’t latch onto these people emotionally, but you can latch on superficially. And who doesn’t want that once in awhile?

Mountaintop Motel Massacre may be out of shape, but glory still lingers. This is a sedate, mid-fi slasher which should warm the cockles of most anyone looking for that. Old folks included.

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