horror hotel the movieIndie Rights
2016
NR

“Dairy farms in Oregon aren’t cheep.”

The anthology series continues dishing out short slices of sci-fi/horror/mystery tales with plenty of quirky characters and twisted endings. Aliens, psychos, brain robbers, clones and more are caught up in extraordinary situations at this mysterious hotel located in rural Georgia.

I came across the Horror Hotel movies (there are two of them…don’t worry, tender reader, I’ll get to the other one in due time) by way of Amazon Prime streaming. They’re both available on the site to watch for free for Prime members. And of course I would put them in my watchlist. If it turned out to be incredibly bad, at least I didn’t pay anything extra for it.

Spoilers: I still wanted money back after watching this. So you can imagine how the review for the “sequel” is going to go. But, I digress.

So, from what I could glean from the interwebs, Horror Hotel began life as a web series anthology show, obviously inspired by the likes of The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits and Tales From The Crypt. There are three-ish seasons available, and after going through the episode titles, it looks like the first movie was essentially consisting of the second season of the show. This may sound a bit lazy, but for those of us where we were unaware of the series, this is as good as any an introduction to what’s out there. If one was morbidly curious. So help me, I was morbidly curious.

There’s no wrap-around story with this anthology. The movie wastes no time with leaping into the stories, beginning with “Aliens Stole My Boyfriend”, where we’re introduced to the titular boyfriend being tossed out one of the rooms of the Horror Hotel (technically, this is more of a motel, but I’m guessing the creators wanted to go with alliteration or whatever) by his girlfriend because of not being satisfied with their quality of life, when a couple of blonde female aliens crash into the girlfriend’s car and immediately begin flirting with the boyfriend. It doesn’t waste time getting to how bad the quality of these selections are, and it doesn’t help that the two aliens’ whole thing is that they learned about Earth culture by watching old television broadcasts from the 1960s, what with their means of dress, talking, and dancing to the radio. Seriously. The next short, “Coma Girl”, is slightly less painful, and involves a groundskeeper of a nursing home who has fallen in love with the titular lady in a coma, and tries to steal her away from her loving husband as they celebrate their wedding anniversary at the hotel. The following short, “The Problem With Clones”, follows a bounty hunter skip tracer wearing an outfit that will make your eyeballs bleed as he tries to find a particular woman who has skipped out on her trial for murder of her clone “sister” over a lottery ticket. In “Brain Robbers In Love”, the CEO of a book publishing firm is looking to do some espionage into a rival company, by swapping brains with a younger lady who works for said firm. “Four Eyes” finds a man who is trying to hire a paraplegic hit-man to kill his ex-wife, brainstorming the best way to do so. Finally, “Life After Men” takes place in a non-descript future dystopia, where almost all of the men have been hunted to extinction in the female-dominated society in which life is controlled by The Server. Two women are staying the night at the “hotel”, while a couple of agents of The Server show up due to rumors of a man being in the area.

While watching Horror Hotel The Movie, I couldn’t help but think–more than once–that there was very little by way of actual horror in this anthology, making the title a bit of a misnomer, issues with this being set at a motel notwithstanding. I mean, the whole thing starts off with an attempt at science fiction comedy, the second story implies that the janitor may have done some unspeakable acts with a comatose woman, and the third story is once again an attempt at science fiction comedy, with a bit of noir thrown in for…reasons. The two positives I could glean from this were “Life After Men” and “Brain Robbers In Love”, both of which had some interesting concepts going, and one wonders if there was some script doctoring and a decent enough budget behind them, fleshing things out, we could have had a good one-two punch. “Four Eyes” is just…dull. Predictable. Forgettable.

The acting is, as you may have guessed by now, rather bad, but at least it falls under the Unintentionally Hilarious kind of bad. The stories suffer from a combination of an ultra-low budget and some half-baked scripts with incredible leaps of logic that takes you completely out of the movie. Honestly, had the filmmaker been able to procure an actual budget and get to redux maybe three of the stories for the big screen, like with the Twilight Zone movie, fleshing things out and maybe, I don’t know, inject some horror into them, Horror Hotel: The Movie would have been at least a worthwhile watch. Instead, we get a repurposed bundle of crud in a shiny new wrapper. I understand there is a remnant of those who are fans of the Horror Hotel series, but I cannot for the life of me understand why. Watch only if you have the cast iron stomach for things like this. Otherwise, pass.