College student Regina has won the vacation of a lifetime at The Red Wolf Inn along with two additiomal young ladies. The guests are thrown a gorgeous feast but the old folks running the show have alterior motives.
The cannibalistic sub-genre graces the shelves of many eager VHS collectors complete with their mom’s label maker guiding their way. Along with Terror at the Red Wolf there are titles like Frightmare, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Parents, Blood Diner, Motel Hell, Rabid Grannies, and Flesh Eating Mothers. Of all the cannibal films at our disposal, Red Wolf is not one of the better of the batch but it’s far from the worst and it still manages to bring its own uniqueness and form of entertainment.
The charactization is unbelievably bad. While the lead Regina (Linda Gillen) is mind-numbingly gullible the others are outright bizarre and not in an enigmatic David Lynch sort of way. I strongly believe it’s due to the film’s lack of character development and atrocious dialogue. It’s almost as bad as Death Nurse. Almost. If I didn’t know any better I’d suspect the writer of spending a mere 30 minutes putting the hot mess together.
Upon introducing the other two unsuspecting female victims, Edwina and Pam, excited Pamela abruptly breaks the ice with, “Hi. I’m a model!” This breezy introduction is followed by the cast gnawing into a plethora of meat while commenting on how succulent, tender, and juicy it is. Rib tenderloins have never looked so gross. This was the most bizarre dinner experience I had ever seen portrayed onscreen. It’s almost orgasmic to the characters but stomach churning for the viewer. Even the dream sequence is criptic and off putting. Regina is running on a beach in between stuffing her face with a mountain of mashed potatoes.
The horrid dialogue and comedic tone excel to a higher level when the old couple’s son, Baby John, kills a baby shark on the beach by smashing it into a rock while screaming, “SHARK! SHARK! SHARK! SHARK!” As if that didn’t escalade quickly into something terrifyingly hilarious he begins to punch the stiff fish corpse. Wait! Just wait! It gets better. When he is done beating the crap out of the baby shark he creepily turns to Regina and says, “I think I love you.” One would think after their awkward kiss and the fish beating Regina would be out of there but she decides to stick around a little longer.
It’s hard for the viewers not to question Regina’s logic and sanity. Normal girls do not go on vacations they didn’t even enter into without doing a little research. Eventually she does come to her senses but the hosts easily catch up with her. This couple’s creepy meter is miles beyond Sheila Keith and her companion in Frightmare. The grandpa especially comes of as a sadistic pedophile much like Albert Fish. Whatever you do, stay away from their plants! I will not spoil the ending for you but I can say that it’s surprising and fitting.
The sound and audio are exactly what you can expect from a low budget horror film made in the 70s. Though there’s a lot of parrot screeching and train noises blasting along with the screams. Not sure what that’s about. The DVD print is exactly the same but with an unattractive cover sleeve from Grindhouse Releasing. Code Red announced they are working on a release in 2013 but I haven’t seen any productive updates. From what I have seen, there are six different VHS releases floating around. Some cut and one allegedly uncut.
Terror on the Menu (Lettuce) This copy was said to be restricted to PAL only but that’s a myth. This is an uncut version that has two additional scenes. One featuring the old broad stiring a human foot in a stew pot, gross. The other featuring grandpa holding a jar of fingers before he eats one of them. The back of the box includes stills that are not available in the film.
Terror at the Red Wolf Inn (Academy) Pictured above. It’s the only copy I’ve managed to get my hands on.
Terror at the Red Wolf Inn (JTC)
Terror en el Menu, a Spanish release with unknown company but there is a label that says, “1995.”
There are two more foreign releases and for all I know there’s probably more out in the wild.
One of the tapes quotes that the film is in the tradition of The Addams Family and Beetlejuice. I have no idea why they would pair those two title with this rump roast.
Overall this is almost a horror spoof that never loses the viewers attention. You might even find yourself quoting, “What’s in the key lime cake?” It’s a shame because Terror at the Red Wolf Inn had so much potential. The ominous atmosphere is present but it doesn’t save the film due to the comedic tone overshadowing the positive. It almost seemed they were being playful on purpose. The closing credits features the cast in the categories; Hors d’oeuvre, Main course, Side dishes, and Kitchen helpers with a clever quote, “We reserve the right to serve anyone.” As the credits roll over two decapitated heads, one of the heads turns and winks at the camera. Director Bud Townsend is also responsible for Alice in Wonderland: An X-Rated Musical that’s filled with comedy. Maybe Townsend doesn’t have a serious bone in his body. Though I have not seen Nightmares in Wax.