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TERROR AT THE RED WOLF INN is one of those mysterious early 70s wonders that has been released again and again on video, each time marketed with a different title and different ad campaign. You may have caught it as TERROR HOUSE or TERROR ON THE MENU or THE FOLKS AT THE RED WOLF INN or perhaps even CLUB DEAD. Chances are that none of these versions of the film are the same. Rated from "R" to "PG" in various versions, I long to see the complete film uncut. That will probably never happen, thena again there are DVDs flooding the market that offer the colon scrapings of the "Best Boy" involved with the project so anything is possible.

TERROR AT THE RED WOLF INN uses an all-time favorite horror device as the main plot thread; cannibalism. The consumption of humans by humans. I'll get to that. Regina, a shapely and somewhat ditsy co-ed receives a letter in the mail proclaiming her "a winner." She phones to claim her prize and finds out she has won an all-expense paid vacation at a resort somewhere on the coast. There is only one catch, the chartered plane is at the airport waiting, and she must leave immediately. So Regina does. He are given glimpses of a kindly, old grandmother talking on an antique phone to someone, confirming Regina's impending arrival. Regina arrives at the airport and remembers she forgot to phone her mother, the pilot assures her she can call when she arrives at her destination.

Regina is met at the airport as her plane arrives by a hunkish oaf named Baby John; Baby John is there to drive her to the Red Wolf Inn. The two make small talk and seem to hit it off when Baby John asks Regina, "You ever like to drive fast?" She does, sometimes…so Baby John speeds through the empty streets of some no name burg until the cops take pursuit, Baby John won't pull over because "too many tickets" and ducks his Country Squire behind a house as the cops whiz by. The young pair have shared a moment…they've connected.

When they arrive at the inn, Regina finds out she is not the only guest. A couple of other young gals are wrapping up their stays there. Edwina, a fine Nubian princess drifter and Pamela, a model, she introduces herself as such, "Hello, I'm a model." The host and hostess are a loveable looking elderly couple Henry and Evelyn. They look like they have stepped of the American Gothic painting and the inn itself is a beautiful old Bed & Breakfast style home.

No sooner than the intros are finished, Evelyn whisks everyone into the dining room for a huge feast. Red Wolf Inn style. Feast they do, but not before Regina tries to use the phone, it's dead, Evelyn will get someone out as soon as possible to fix it. The feast is a long drawn out affair that features a rack of ribs the size of something out of THE FLINTSTONES. The hungry hoard go at the damned food as if they had not eaten in weeks, and we are shown each and every detail, as they grunt, groan, belch, giggle, stuff and then do it all over again and again. Whatever this meat is, it sure am good! And so our tale of decite, human consumption, and yes, even love, is told.

TERROR AT THE RED WOLF INN is brought to life via a Allen Actor screenplay. Actor, even with an incredible Hollywood name can only claim the scourge known as THE DUNGEONMASTER as his other produced work, that one, a Charles Band piece of shit that even the most forgiving Dungeons and Dragons geek might shit a 12 sided die while viewing. But it ain't about Mr. Actor's contribution; the man of the hour is the one and only Bud Townsend. That's right the man behind the erotic retelling of ALICE IN WONDERLAND and the absolute craptastic classic NIGHTMARE IN WAX. Bud Townsend is one of those Hollyweird enigmas, cutting his teeth at the TV studios in the 50s, Bud directed some of the crucial TV series Death Valley Days, which I sure wish had survived on videotape, with the likes of Ray Milland and Merle Haggard hosting this episodic Western wonder, Death Valley Days has cult status to burn. Townsend also did time on the primetime travelogue of sorts Adventures in Paradise. But it wasn't until the sleazy 70s that Townsend became a player. ALICE IN WONDERLAND is still considered the best of the musical fairy tale porn genre which, believe it or not, was a huge fucking thing from about 75-78 the everything from PUSS IN BOOTS to SINDERELLA being covered. ALICE held up and even was a hit without the X rating when the distributors cut it down for the drive-in circuit. Townsend's work on RED WOLF proved he had a knack for pulling off style on a budget.

RED WOLF INN is a moody, strange, Gothic-tinged throwback to a different era; it is not the psychedelic 70s, although it is not meant to be a period piece. His control of his characters is evident. His work with the character of Baby John is nothing short of bizarre genius, John Neilson who starred the year previous in the incredibly rare but nonetheless mandatory HONKY, pulls off a bit of subdued psychosis, courtesy of Townsend's direction.

Baby John is capable of unpredictable violence, best portrayed in my favorite scene, when he and Regina finally kiss and he gets a nibble on his deep sea pole (no she ain't sucking his dick) and it turns out to be a small lemon shark, Baby John snaps and beats the shark into a piece of driftwood before diving on top of it and pummeling it with his fists. He then stares at Regina and proclaims, "I think I love you" before storming off. Most of the scenes with Baby John all contain that same loose cannon behavior, he even drops his pants to receive a belt whipping from Evelyn near the climax of the film, giggling as she spanks him. I'll give Nielsen his credit but Townsend's direction plays it not for laughs but for a Lnychian weirdness that predates any of that pretentious hoohaa by ten years.

The simple debauchery of Henry and Evelyn's acts are also handled without the overt guffaws played to the hilt 10 years later in MOTEL HELL, these cannibals are just doing it for themselves, not to make money, their crimes are heinous, but they seem to be relatively normal folks outside of their voracious appetites. The video distributors went for comedy, using stupid taglines comparing the film to THE ADDAMS FAMILY or BETTLEJUICE but Townsend's original direction keeps the tone downbeat and the film never goes for the cheap laugh. That is not to say there is not a bit of humor in the film. The constant references to fattening the girls up and Pamela the model's bitchiness are quite funny but definitely not meant to be comedy but more a macabre Twilight Zone sort of twistedness.

Linda Gillen plays Regina, our victim, effectively; she handles the task being at once dingy and courageous. Regina has that natural appeal of a dorkish college gal who just might believe she has won a trip, after all "she never wins anything!" In the "R" version we see a cheap peek of Regina's breasts and even in the "PG" a totally nude side profile makes the cut revealing those wonder 70's style banana breasts this ol' Prof. just loves.

Evelyn, Mary Jackson, is best known from TV's The Waltons, she was one of the Baldwin Sisters who constantly drank corn whiskey masked as Daddy's Elixir, Jackson did duty in tons of films from big budget studio work like BIG TOP PEE WEE and COMING HOME, to guest spots on everything from The Andy Griffith Show to The Fugitive. She is one lady who just looks good in a Bun hairstyle. She is fantastic as the murderous Evelyn, never breaking the character of lovable old lady as she is gnashing her teeth into human flesh.

Henry, brought to life by the longstanding Arthur Space, is no less brilliant as the butcher with a unhealthy love for his plants. Space had a career in movies which lasted 4 decades and he had over 150 films to his credit, many of which were Westerns and Disney turds, but he also did duty in crazed B-fodder like THE BAT PEOPLE and 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH. Henry's big moment in RED WOF INN is when Evelyn prods him into doing a bit from his old military act; he begins with Shakespeare segs into the Charlestown and ends with "When the Red, Red Robin Goes Bob, Bob, Bobbin' Along" all while hopped up on Peach Brandy…Good stuff. Near the end of the film when one of Henry's plants is broken in a tussle, Space shines, showing compassion for the plant all the while his character has been butchering innocent, tender young girls and dressing them out as animals. I'll say it again…Good stuff.

I have to give at least a brief mention to the gorgeous Edwina, the soul sister of THE RED WOLF INN. Margret Avery, who went on to be nominated for her role as Shug Avery in Spielberg's THE BLACK KLANSMAN err, I mean in his THE COLORED PURPLE, shit, THE COLOR PURPLE. Avery had a nice paycheck-making career in some exploitation classics, she was in HELL UP IN HARLEM and played a ho in MAGNUM FORCE. Who can forget her in THE FISH THAT SAVED PITTSBURGH either playing the cross-gender b-ball star. Of course she got all legit with her Oscar nomination and has since decided it is top shelf only for her, with such big time productions as MARDI GRAS FOR THE DEVIL and CYBORG 3: THE RECYCLER just a couple examples of some of her big work in the 90s. Man, that Oscar nomination sure furthers a career don't it? Well, for all except Oprah, that poor bitch is almost homeless.

TERROR AT THE RED WOLF INN is a horror movie that is a little more cerebral than most we feature around these parts, guys if you are looking for a possible date night moldy oldie, then this might be the ticket, if you want to ease your potential booty call into cannibal flix, start here before forcing CANNIBAL FEROX on her, this one you still have a chance of bagging a shag, with FEROX, it will be 2 weeks before you are allowed to even buy her tampons at the store. You probably won't set around drinking beers talking about RED WOLF INN with the boyz, but you'll score some brownies if you add it to your viewing resume. Isn't that what it is all about anyway?

Baby John gets a belt whipping from Evelyn.

Regina should have dialed down the middle.

The credita are finally delivered, Menu Style of course.

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Curlers...now that is frightening!

Lock and Load
The cute as a gnat's sac Regina.

The even cuter Baby John.

The super model Pamela.

The Nubian goddess Edwina.

Lovable old Henry.

Evelyn and Henry after an orgiastic feast of flesh.

Baby John just doesn't like sharks.

He even punches the shark with his bare fists...damn shark!

Did I mention she's a model? Well she is dammit.

There is a nice looking rack of ribs...fuck off Tony Roma!

Dem ribs shooo am good. Sorry couldn't resist.

These ribs sure are kicking. Okay now are you happy?

Margret Avery makes bedhead look totally sexy...

Too bad old Henry doesn't see it that way.

Regina realizes that she might be munching on Edwina...

That would not be my response.
Brains On Film 2003