There are a few notable delineations worth making in our humanity's timeline. The birth of Christ, for example. The Magna Carta in 1215. Or 1980, not because it was the year John Lennon was shot, or Ronald Reagan won the presidency. But because it's the year Motel Hell was released.
Motel Hell predates Cabin in the Woods (2012) or Scary Movie (2000), but the premise is the same: making fun of the horror genre. Unlike the others, Motel Hell's intentions aren't made obvious for much of the movie. Cabin in the Woods keeps you guessing about outcome, but the comedic tone of the movie is established in the first scene. Scary Movie's intentions are known from the poster, or trailer. Motel Hell is a deadpan Steven Wright to Scary Movie's frenetic Robin Williams.
If one didn't catch on from its over-the-topness, then only one of the last lines of the movie truly tips its hand -- this whole thing was a send-up. Anyone watching it as a serious movie probably would have turned it off much, much earlier. The movie is grotesque and bizarre if a viewer doesn't attribute it to parody early on (and is still grotesque and bizarre, even as a parody!)
Highly recommended if you enjoy the horror genre and parodies of it. Other than attire, it's not at all obvious this movie was made 36 years ago. Horror movie tropes remain the same throughout all of these years. No wonder the genre is so tired.
JSS rating: Good/Bad movie. It's an exceptional B-movie. Why didn't I watch this years ago?!