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Motel Hell

By: Jessica Vacco Photos Provided by: Motel Hell Cast

In my eyes, there is nothing better than watching someone succeed in something they love doing, that’s exactly what Carlos Jimenez, director of Motel Hell is doing. Luckily for us, Carlos gave us his personal insight about the film and about his determination to overcome adversity.

“Motel Hell is a hybrid of different forms of horror. There is a little bit of slasher film, like what we see in Nightmare on Elm Street. There is a little bit of ghost haunting, like what we see in Paranormal Activity. There is a love story, like what we see in Romeo and Juliet. There is also an element influenced by the reality TV show, Ghost Adventures, where a team of paranormal investigators visits the motel. We see the events unfold through their experiences and cameras. Motel Hell keeps you on the edge of your seat and just when you think you have it all figured out, there is a twist at the end” says Carlos. He explains to us that the Motel that the film takes place in actually has some of its own “horror stories” that have taken place there, and that helped inspire the film. The Motel is a local Motel in Markham, Illinois in which a friend of his, Robert Sircher, owns. “I showed up at the end of November 2011, he gave me a tour of the place, shared some horror stories of actual events and that is how Motel Hell was born. Eight weeks later, on January 13, 2012, (Friday the 13th) we wrapped on our feature” explains Jimenez.

Jimenez is a native of Chicago, although he grew up in Puerto Rico and wasn’t aware of his Chicago birth until he was eight years old. He says, “I did not know I was born in Chicago until I was eight years old, which was a very traumatizing revelation. My earliest recollections are of Puerto Rico.”

We all face adversity for many reasons, so, being from Puerto Rico, and with Spanish being his first language, I was interested in hearing what Carlos had to face in order to make this film. He explains to me that “When it comes to Latinos in the US, it does not matter what profession one chooses to pursue since there will always be obstacles put forth to discourage us from advancing. It seems we have to work twice as hard just to get recognized. The advantage of that is that it makes me hungrier. I work harder; therefore, I am better prepared. I did not face any adversity in the making of this film. I had a great team. However, I have faced adversity in the pursuit of my career as a filmmaker, but I am prepared.” He also mentions that he was very highly influenced by Roberto Clemente,” Clemente embodies what every human being should strive for, sacrifice. He is the epitome of humanitarianism” says Jimenez.

Lastly, Carlos shared with us some of his favorite cultural traditions, saying “I must begin with food. Being from the island, we eat a lot of seafood. We also eat a lot of pork. I love lechón asado, arroz con gandules, pasteles, I can go on and on. Music and dancing is also vital in the Puerto Rican culture. I love salsa, reggaetón and jíbaro (folkloric) music. As far as tradition, in my soul, nothing can beat Christmas season into Three Kings Day, with parrandas (which is our form of caroling but with a stronger sense of family and community). We start with a small group in the evening and go from house to house singing. Then the house we were singing to invites the group in and hosts. Then they become part of the group. It keeps growing with each stop until dawn. There is something magical about that tradition since it reinforces community.”

We are excited and looking forward to seeing “Motel Hell!”

Recently Carlos received RAVE reviews for his latest movie “Scalene.” It’s playing in New York now and was a New York Times Critic’s Pick.

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