Horror Hotel the Movie
horror hotel the movie | ricky hess | al hess | tera buerkle | deborah childs | jordan demers | anthology | alien | aliens | comedy | sci-fi | sci fi | united states | austin freeman | michael gladden | j michael grey | troy halverson | baby norman | derrell keith lester
Film: Horror Hotel the Movie
Director: Ricky Hess
Writer: Al Hess
Starring: Tera Buerkle, Deborah Childs and Jordan Demers
I actually checked this one out when on Twitter I was asked to watch the sequel to this. I have a weird OCD about things like this when I realized that it was a sequel. I decided to give this original one a watch first. When I saw this was an anthology, it definitely intrigued me as I can dig that. The synopsis here is 6 tales of horror that involve aliens, coma patients, switching bodies, clones, hit-man and a different future all at the same motor court.
What I’m going to do is give all of these an individual breakdown and then just kind of give any left over general thoughts. The first segment is Aliens Stole My Boyfriend. We start with Rodger (Austin Freeman) as he is kicked out of his girlfriend’s room. She is Cindy (Kalyn Wood). Things take a turn when two women show up during their fight. One is Aeliana (Stephanie Stevens) and the other Minoria (Anastasia Pekhtereva). Their ship crashes on to Cindy’s car and they want to take Rodger with them, as their planet doesn’t have any males on it. Cindy realizes she needs to do something before these aliens’ take her boyfriend.
I actually thought this was a good way to kick off this anthology. This one has some interesting social commentary on ‘illegal aliens’, which in this sense is real. We also have this odd aspect where Cindy is over Rodger’s lack of wanting to grow up and it really has an EC comics ending to it as well. I did like that the aliens also are stuck in the 1950’s as their planet is now receiving television waves from Earth. It makes a scene I really dug with Minoria. The acting I thought was good and it is has a solid runtime for how things play out. The CGI is definitely green screen and the ship looked bad. I will say it is quick in showing it so I’m not overly harsh there.
Next is Coma Girl. We have Marvin (Neil Ramsay) who pays Bob (Troy Halverson) to allow him to take his wife out of the nursing home she’s staying. She’s there, because she’s in a coma. The price to take her out keeps going up and it is actually their anniversary. It is interrupted though when Bob shows up and an odd love triangle begins.
This one was definitely odd. I thought the performances were fine, but the story itself is actually quite creepy, just not in a good way. I also didn’t feel like the reveal was all that impactful, aside from someone getting what they deserve. The pacing of it is fine, it just didn’t really build tension for me.
We then go to The Problem with Clones. Cooper is a skip tracer, so he is out to ensure that if you skip out on your bond, he brings you in for a fee. He’s there to find Georgia for this reason. The problem that he runs into is that the mother (Baby Norman) tells him her daughter isn’t there and she doesn’t like his line of work. He sees Paris (Norman) and asks her about Georgia. It turns out that Georgia is her sister and they are a group of 5 clones. This takes him to meet the rest and things get pretty odd as they go.
I will say that this one does have an interesting concept. I like that we have a group of twins who are cloned from each other, but they’re all distinct. Props have to be given to Norman as she does a great job at being 6 different characters in this one. Each is distinct and I thought it was kind of funny with the meeting of them overall. The story though wasn’t very impactful so it is hard to build tension when that’s the case.
Next is Brain Robbers in Love. Dr. Merkin (Derrell Keith Lester) has Phoebe Bird (Deborah Childs) along with her assistant Mr. Homm (Ryan Littmann) come to his lab. We learn that she’s the head of a publisher that is number two currently so she wants to take over another body of someone at the other publisher for insider information. We see that she’s not a very nice woman and murders Dr. Merkin to take the machine with a spray he made. She then meets with Sylvia Bunch (Tera Buerkle) so they can exchange bodies. The problem is that Sylvia is hiding a secret.
Now I will say that this one is back to something you’d see in a Tales from the Crypt. It is a bit sloppy though as I knew what the reveal would be pretty early on. I do have to give credit thought to Buerkle and Childs. They both do a great job as acting as the other person once they’ve ‘switched’ bodies. I can really dig that for sure. This one is paced well overall, it was just the story doesn’t necessarily carry the impact.
As for the next one, we have Four-Eyes. Four Eyes (J Michael Grey) is in a wheelchair and he meets with Sid (Michael Gladden). He wants him to murder his ex-wife, but we see that even though Four Eyes is a former military man, he really doesn’t have the experience doing what he claims. This does make for an interesting reveal as they talk out how he can get this done, it just isn’t necessarily what Sid had in mind.
Much like the last one, this does have the feel of an EC comics’ type story. I really like how outrageous Four Eyes acts and it is funny how Sid just plays right into it. I actually thought this was paced really well and it flies through their interactions together for sure. The ending definitely fits for what they needed and it could even possible be darker as well.
And now our final story is that of Life after Men. This is set in a futuristic world where men no longer exist and the women wear their cellphones on their arm. The reason is that they’re all connected to the server and they have agents that go around to ensure that they’re following the rules. That brings us Alice (Jordan Demers) and Zoe (Erin Ownbey) as they check into the motor court with Grandmother (Childs). Currently the server is down so they can’t be traced. That doesn’t stop two agents from coming, as they suspect there are men possible still alive at this place.
This one has an interesting concept, but the problem that I run into is that they really don’t establish the world that we are supposed to buy into. I think this one doesn’t necessarily work as a short because of this. There’s a lot that is just told to us and it really didn’t keep my interest. I did think that Demers, Ownbey, Pekhtereva and Norman were all solid here and I have to give that group credit for their performances. I think the back-story is interesting, we just needed more of it. I also don’t necessarily feel it plays out as well as they would have liked either.
Just some last thoughts on this before wrapping it up, I do like that all of these segments take place in the same motor court. It actually looks to be the same room to be honest, they just tweak how it looks so that is kind of cool to keep with the low budget feel. The issue I have is that I prefer my anthologies to have a wraparound story to connect them. All we really get here is just where it takes place.
Now with that said, I did think that this is a pretty fun watch overall. It does run a bit long, but we are looking at 6 segments that are all 20 minutes a piece. The only one that felt a bit too long was the last one and I get why as it has the biggest story it is trying to present. I did think that the acting was a bit amateur, but it never took me out of it. I would actually say it was better than I would expect for a film with a budget as we get here. Not all of the stories work for what they’re going for, but I would say that half of them were solid in their effects. Overall I’d say this film is just above average for me.
My Rating: 5.5 out of 10