Daily Horror Film Fest: Motel on Cinemax

Welcome to the DoT Daily Horror Film Fest! Throughout the month, I’ll be featuring new horror every weekday. Sometimes that will be indie films, sometimes it’ll be big-name stuff, shorts, or even TV shows. Scary, funny, schlocky, quiet, eerie – something for the well-rounded horror fan. Plus interviews with filmmakers and a chance to support projects still in the works. Today’s feature is Motel, a new series from Cinemax, available on demand now.

Don’t let the name and the trailer scare you away – Motel is not part of the “After Dark” series. Yes, it does explore sexual themes, but this six-episode Brazilian anthology series, the first Latino-themes original programming on the network, offers some clever tricks. First, it doesn’t stick to one genre. There is horror, comedy, drama, suspense, romance, and police procedurals, according to the press release, although horror seems to be a part of more than one episode. Each episode takes place in the same motel, called Divino Pecado (“Divine Sin”).

Episode one, “Zoraide,” starts out lurid and winds up charming. It’s the story of a prostitute who was murdered at the motel and is seemingly trapped there for eternity. She amuses herself by watching the living local hookers entertain their guests. No one can see her until hapless Otavio, after embarrassing himself with his lack of prowess, notices Zoraide and freaks out. He thinks she’s an extra prostitute, the last thing he needs after his performance. When they are alone, Zoraide explains her fate. Otavio is smitten and vows to solve the murder. Zoraide tries to discourage him, telling him the killer has “strangled millions of prostitutes.” It doesn’t work. “Yes,” he says, “which means there’s a lot of prostitute ghosts out there that need my help.” It’s an unusual ghost story, and somehow winds up kind of heartwarming.

Episode four, “Lilith,” is the scarier of the two. Lilith and Rogelio visit the motel on their 20th wedding anniversary. They are trying to spice things up to save their marriage, but Rogelio wants to spice things up a little too much. He’s brought handcuffs, wants Lilith to take acid, and tries to tear her dress. At first, he just comes on too strong, but when he complains that Lilith is too nice and proper and tries to take charge, he awakens something frightening. Something much more than he can handle. Be careful what you wish for.

The series may be leaving On Demand availability soon, so catch it while you can.

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