It takes all kinds of fritters to make Farmer Vincent’s fritters! Veteran character actor Rory Calhoun takes the starring role as Farmer Vincent, the owner and proprietor of the seemingly innocent Motel Hello, which is marked by a neon sign in which the last “O” needs to be replaced. As a side business Vincent sells his state wide famous smoked meats, of which he proudly boasts are all natural and use no preservatives. But the meats aren’t exactly pork or beef — IT’S PEOPLE!
Aided in his business by his creepy sister Ida (Nancy Parsons of Porky’s trilogy fame), the amiable Vincent punishes those he feels are leading an amoral lifestyle by harvesting them in his garden before he slaughters them for his meats. Everything is business as usual until he takes out a motorcylist and his girlfriend, the latter of whom lives. Vincent falls in love with Terry (Nina Axelrod Cobra and Critters 3) and nurses her back to health, claiming that the motorcycle spun out of control and that he buried the boyfriend. Vincent’s younger brother Bruce (Paul Linke, K-PAX and pretty much every major TV show from Happy Days to Judging Amy) is the sheriff and backs up the claim that under country regulations it’s okay to bury people in extenuating circumstances. As it turns out though, Bruce isn’t in on Vincent and Ida’s nefarious deeds, but he does take a liking to Terry. As the love affair between Vincent and Debbie leads to Vincent proposing to her, Bruce starts to act on his suspicions of Vincent’s activities which leads to the brothers getting involved in a chainsaw duo to the death!
Director Keven Connor previously helmed the Amicus anthology From Beyond the Grave which led to him getting the director role for this movie after screening it for writers Robert and Steven-Charles Jaffe. They are the sons of Herb Jaffe who produced such classics as Fright Night 1 & 2 and Demon Seed. After this film Steven would go on to produce Near Dark, The Fly II, Ghost, Star Trek VI, and K-19: The Widowmaker. The Jaffe brothers had been trying to get the film sold to Universal Studios to be sold by Tobe Hooper but they turned it down because of how bizarre it was. The original script was very different and darker including elements of bestiality and was not funny at all. Kevin Connor told them he would only direct the film if he could make changes to the film and play it as a dark comedy, and they agreed. Thank God for that, because we ended up with a cult classic. No doubt Rory Calhoun wouldn’t have starred in the film if it didn’t have the humor in it and he is really what makes the film work. He’s a lovable wacko that you can’t help but like and it’s no doubt that Terry actually falls for him, or that he has his own RetroCrush page.
Kevin Connor went on to direct TV movies for companies like Hallmark in the late 90’s and it is what he continues to do today. Some of his recent work includes Mary Mother of Jesus and Strawberry Summer. Those types of films have become a new found guilty pleasure for me.
There was talk of a remake in 2008 but thankfully nothing has come to fruition. However, IDW make a comic book adaptation/remake of it. I haven’t read it but judging from the preview here it seems to include some of the sicker elements left out of the original film.
Back on topic: this movie is highly entertaining and one I watch every few years and enjoy it more and more each time. There is a lot of wit at work here and quite a few character actors chewing up the scenery, including Wolfman Jack as a televangelist. It’s a cult classic well worth it’s weight in meat and if you have never seen the film before, you are in for a treat. AMC usually manages to work it in as part of it’s FearFest marathon when it’s not showing Friday the 13th films and since the film is relatively goreless (despite it’s thematic material) you won’t really be missing out on much by catching it there. There is a bit of nudity from Nina Axelrod that you won’t see, so it won’t be entirely unedited, so your best bet is to procure a DVD of this film….but I’m pretty sure most of you have it already.