Joe Bob's Summer School

"Motel Hell" (1980)

It takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent's fritters

Skinema goes to the Drive-In

"Motel Hell is a gruesome but somewhat tongue-in-cheek bit of rural schlock along the lines of 1974's "Deranged" (which was based on the story of real-life Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein, also inspiring the Texas Chainsaw Massacre), although slicker and less effective. Former Western star Rory Calhoun plays Farmer Vincent, a country hotel keeper (free samples of jerky at the front desk) whose line of smoked meats turns his customers into unwitting cannibals. The movie's got some genuinely creeped-out ideas (a backyard garden of victims, buried up to their necks), but the execution is pedestrian and the humor pretty square. Onetime cultural icon Wolfman Jack has a few scenes as a TV preacher, for no apparent reason."
--Robert Horton, quoted by
Drive-in Totals:
Four breasts.
Eight corpses.
Pig calling.
One untethered wangdoodle.
Chest shaving.
Bullwhip cracking.
Gratuitous "Damsel Strapped to Conveyor Belt" scene.
Multiple shotgun blasts.
Cork popping.
Psychedelic hypnosis.
Gratuitous "Swingers."

Skinematic dermatologist Dr. Vail Reese was featured on Joe Bob Briggs' show "MonsterVision," on the TNT cable network on Saturday night, August 29th, 1998. During the summer, Drive-In movie critic Joe Bob invites guest hosts as part of Joe Bob's summer school. It all happened on "Acne night" during a showing of the cinematic masterpiece "Motel Hell."

A transcript (with most of the naughty bits removed) follows:

W.C. Fields

Joe Bob: Welcome to Monster Vision!

Dr. Reese: Great to be part of the curriculum.

Joe Bob: Was there one skin condition that started it all, that inspired you to do the Skinema web site?

Dr. Reese: Actually, W.C. Fields, with his acne rosacea, pimples and flushing. A lot of dermatologists use that example to teach patients and it got me thinking: what else can we use from movies?


Freddie right Freddie left Joe Bob: Let's talk about one of my favorite skin challenged characters, Freddy Kreuger from the Nightmare on Elm Street series. Could he be treated for his burn scars?

Dr. Reese: You can graft skin from different areas of the body to cover areas that have been burned. Now in his case I don't think that there was much skin left to graft.

Joe Bob: You couldn't take skin from Jason (serial killer from the Friday the 13th series) and put it on Freddy?

Dr. Reese: I don't think Jason would like that. And I don't know who would volunteer to get the donor skin from Jason...


Lon Chaney's Alligator People Skin Joe Bob: What have we got here?

Dr. Reese: This is the Lon Chaney character from The Alligator People who looks very much like someone with a very severe dry skin condition called Ichthyosis. Essentially this translates to "fish skin."

Joe Bob: Horror movies keep you pretty busy.

Dr. Reese: True. There are plenty examples of scarring of evil characters. Some include:

Radiation scars from "The Amazing Colossal Man." Also has baldness (alopecia).

 Amazing Colossal Man's baldness

 Vincent Price's horrible burns
 Vincent Price in House of Wax with burn scars.
 Christopher Lee from The Curse of Frankenstein. Not a very good job of suturing--needs some work.

 Christopher Lee's badly sutured scars


Joe Bob: Do you remove tattoos?

Dr. Reese: Yes, it keeps me pretty busy.

Alien parasiteJoe Bob: Ever remove any of these? This is the parasite from Alien.

Dr. Reese: I hope I never have to! People can get parasites on their skin such as scabies and lice. It usually never gets this bad, though.

Children Of The DamnedJoe Bob: Now the kids in John Carpenter's "The Village of the Damned," I guess they are albinos?

Dr. Reese: They're certainly albino-like. Characters with albinism pop up in films all the time and often as sharpshooters or assassins, which is interesting because most people with albinism have problems with their vision. Using them as assassins is just another Hollywood special effect, I think.

Joe Bob: Dr. Reese, thanks for coming by...

MonsterVision logo from 1998

To see what Joe Bob is
up to these days, try his
Joe Bob Report logo
hilarious web site


As an added bonus, Dr. Reese has organized the following tribute to the skin conditions seen in Drive-In Movies. Joe Bob says, "Check it out!" (archived 2005)

Lobby (archived 2001) including a look at Thirt13een Ghosts

Actors (2001)
What do the Coneheads and Young Frankenstein have in common? click here and scroll to the bottom for side-by-side comparison
And what would Yoda look like with Botox?
And what's up with Darth Maul's horns?

The villains of Blade Runner

More skinterviews (archived 2001-2004)

The current new website is including this look at the Da Vinci Code's evil albino and the X-Men

Seen in a hospital Nurses Lounge:
What's the difference between a surgeon and a puppy? Eventually a puppy grows up and stops whining.

Back to Monstervision

2000 Vail Reese M.D.