Director – Kazuya Ogawa, Screenplay – Kazuya Ogawa & Simon Sato, Producers – Hisashi Kimura & Akira Yamaguchi, Photography – Sone, Music – Yasuhiro Segawa, Makeup Effects – Mio Chiba & Tokihiko Endo. Production Company – T.O. Entertainment.
Emi Ito (Alisa), Akari Hoshino (Landlady), Ren Ayase (Yuka), Yuhki Maeda (Michiko), Sola (Takeshi), Jordon Cheung (Jack), Junko Nakazato (Shinobu), Masahiro Sugiyama (Landlord), Yasushi Yasuda (Zombie)
A couple sign in to a motel in the remote countryside. Also present is Alisa, a writer of erotic horror. Not long after, they are joined by another couple who are brought there after the woman is injured when her foot is caught in a trap in the woods. The landlady’s husband then starts killing various of the group, while it is discovered that her brother is a zombie lurking around the premises.
This is a completely obscure Japanese genre entry. It was the second film for director Kazuya Ogawa who is listed as having made three other horror films, including a segment of Slit Mouth Woman in L.A. (2014). That said, nobody appears to have seen any of these – this is the first review of Killer Motel, Japanese language or English, to be published online, for instance.
Killer Motel comes with an appealing sense of not knowing where anything is going. The characters are the standard complement you might find in a backwoods slasher (albeit with the ages bumped up a few years). Indeed, Killer Motel could easily work a Western Backwoods Brutality film – a la The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) et al – about travellers falling afoul of backwoods locals.
Soon in things start to get bizarre. We see one couple engaged in vigorous sex with he humping her from behind yelling “who’s your daddy?” while someone peeps in through the door and there are all manner of oddities including a very hyped-up performance from Jordon Cheung and the appealing notion of a game of strip ping-pong. Then we start to get the intrusion of horror elements – where the landlady (Akari Hoshino) comes across Sola taking a shower, strips down to join him and comes to give him a blowjob – only to bite his dick off in her mouth; before we cut to the woman of the couple (Junko Nakazato) taped up as the landlord (Masahiro Sugiyama) gets out a chainsaw and is later seen carting the body away; or of Emi Ito tripping on poison mushrooms and ripping out the landlady’s tongue.
One is reminded somewhat of Takashi Miike’s Gozu (2003), which progresses through a series of exceedingly stranger and more surreal happenings around a town as a hitman searches for his brother. However, there is the point where you have to start asking what is going on. We never get any particular insight into why the landlady and her husband are killing people. For some reason, there is also the zombie of the landlady’s brother wandering around. What exactly a zombie has to do with anything is just one of the completely random things about the film.
You might compare Killer Motel with a similar Western film such as Motel Hell (1980) or Vacancy (2007), which build a standard horror story out of the situation and the way people are drawn into the sinister happenings at the motel, whereas here the only sense you get is of a series of bizarre goings-on but reach the end of the film with no idea what anything that transpired was meant to be about.