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
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
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
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
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.
Discuss this baby.
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Devil Times Five Sean
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The Spook Who Sat Next To
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I Woke Up Early The Day I
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