Here we are with yet another Tobe Hooper flick, another one I’ve never seen. For some strange reason, I always thought this was gonna be rubbish. Wrong again!
Nev Brand plays a crazy motel owner with a huge pet Alligator which he keeps well fed on his unlucky guests. This has to be the simplest of plots and it works so well. Brand’s character is outrageous and nasty, totally believable in a comic book way. Again, Hooper uses the basics from Chainsaw to create a film of terror once you step off the regular path. Visit this motel and you are gonna end up in trouble. Judd (Brand) is not only concerned about the welfare of his pet, he’s engaged in delight as he hacks and murders his motel guests with an assortment of household or garden tools. The insanity in his eyes is outstanding, and realistically, if you stumbled across this motel, nothing would make you want to stay really, no matter how desperate. Other fine performances include a young Robert Englund and Marilyn Burns returns from Chainsaw, the original Scream Queen.
Hooper knows how to shoot a film, he knows how to play the audience and draw them in, not afraid to take chances with plot and characters. This being one of his early films, he shows such talent here in his skill of the field. The film looks gritty and dark, but captures a comic book feel as he does with Funhouse and Poltergeist to some extent. A strong American look and feel fills the movie with classic stereotypes. The film also manages a retro feel, reminiscent to monster films of the 50’s, but explodes in colour and gore with crazy effects which take to genre to the limit. For it’s time, this must have been one of the most shocking films ever made. The scene with scythe through the neck is relentless and graphic.
It’s always a please watching Hooper, and here, this could be one of the finest of the year so far. It’s just got something for everyone.