I’ve talked about giallo films before, but I still have yet to experience many. And you don’t just watch giallo…you really do experience it! If you’ve never seen one, now is the time, and PLAY MOTEL is a perfect place to start. This dark comedy quickly spirals into the darkside as a killer starts picking off people in their most intimate of moments. This is truly Euro-trash at its finest, and I suggest you give this one a shot soon.
If you are not familiar with PLAY MOTEL, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Raro Video:
A milestone production from Mario Gariazzo, notorious for his tasteless sexploitation epics such as The Sexorcist /LOssessa. Assembling here one of the worlds finest trash film collectives and eschewing all correct agendas, the director punctuates his fleshy tapestry with incredibly sleazy imagery involving Marina Hedmann/Frajese and Patrizia Di Rossi/Webley, the sluttiest actresses in Italian cinema. At the garishly lit Play Motel, these two warhorses and other bleached blondes are first seen being secretly photographed while having kinky sex. As the film serves also as a giallo, they are later stabbed to death by an assassin dressed in black. Conveying a sense of mad comedy, this inexhaustible supply of indignities and leopard skin underwear should be sought out at all costs.
You certainly won’t want to watch this movie if you are offended by nudity, however. The title alone suggests a bit about what you’ll see, but I will also mention there’s MUCH more involved as well. This is part of the fun, and just a small part of what the film offers.
PLAY MOTEL is definitely dated, and it shows with everything the film contains: the sets, the cars, the outfits, the hairstyles, etc. But this is part of the film’s charm. In a bizarre sort of way, it helps set the mood for the movie as well; I don’t think this film would have been nearly as effective if it had been set in the late 80s or afterward.
The acting is exactly what you would expect out of a film like this. The description above describes some of the cast as “the sluttiest actresses in Italian cinema,” and that is very fitting. Although many of the women in this film can act a little, several of them cannot act at all. But again, you don’t watch giallo films for stellar performances. Doing so would be a complete waste of time.
The storyline in PLAY MOTEL is what shines. Yes, the film is filled with nudity and sex. And yes, there’s not a whole lot of plot, to be honest. But when people start dying, the true fun arrives. Dark with slight comedic undertones, the film works best when it switches from smut to suspense. And it works. Many films have tried to pull this off, but only a handful has succeeded. PLAY MOTEL ranks up there pretty high.
PLAY MOTEL won’t win any awards, but it is a heck of a lot of fun, and I recommend giving it a look. This won’t be for everyone, though, so be ready. But if you can look past the trashiness and see the true giallo within, you’re in for a real treat. The film is available now.