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|Tags: 80's Slashers, Barbi Benton, Boaz Davidson, Charles Lucia, hospital massacre, John Warner William, Jon Van Ness|
Cast:Barbi Benton, Charles Lucia, Jon Van Ness, John Warner William
If you are going to spend three minutes or more in the bathroom, never do it without a copy of John Stanley's "Creature Features" or Martin Popoff's "Collectors Guide To Heavy Metal". In my nine years of laying it down I have read about a ton of films that have had me searching pawn shops and Ebay in glorious hope of finding a three star movie deemed by Mr. Stanley as worthy of watching.
The movie that always seemed to stick in my mind was 1982's "Hospital Massacre", and depending on the shelf of Goodwill or the pawn shop it is also known as "Be My Valentine Or Else", "X-Ray" and "Ward 13". Stanley awarded the movie three stars and celebrated director Boaz Davidson's style and eerie ambience. The biggest compliment that Stanley mentioned was simply the setting of a hospital and compared it to "Halloween II" in that respect. I personally have a fond attachment to that first Myers sequel so I finally found a copy of the VHS online and grabbed it faster than a rat on a cheeto.
Director Boaz Davidson has touched just about a zillion movies in his thirty years of film making, from producing the newest "Conan" film hitting cinemas in 2010 to horrible action vehicles like "American Cyborg" and "Delta Force 3". With this 1982 effort it is easy to see why Davidson is attached to a ton of films out there. The man has a unique style that is rich in atmospheric elements, building on a shadowy underworld wherever the story goes. In this case the film stays in dark hospital wings and dimly lit corridors and uses some disturbing medical images that would recall "Jacob's Ladder" and "Exorcist 3".
The story unfolds with a beginning flashback sequence showing a child murdering another child in a jealous rage. From there fast forward fifteen years and we witness a stunning character named Susan Jeremy (played by the beautiful Barbi Benton) entering a hospital in daylight hours to get results from a routine physical. During the first half hour we see Susan going from doctor to doctor trying to obtain the results. In the middle of these scenes we see a male nurse in smock and mask killing off the hospital staff members in rapid fashion. Most of these scenes are done fairly well under dim lighting and sporting a good deal of splatter minus gore.
As night begins to unfold Susan is told that she must stay at the hospital for a few days under some type of strange observation due to her unannounced test results. What the Hell is wrong with these doctors and why is the test results so secretive? Unfortunately the writer never goes into any detail about this, instead we get tons of killing through the night until very few staff members remain. Eventually the last twenty minutes or so has Susan running through the hospital avoiding Mr. Killer Smock And Mask.
The film has some serious storyline holes including the above mentioned delay in test results, the overwhelming amount of staff for a handful of patients and the general lack of any actual jobs or tasks for the staff to perform. Most of the time we just simply see the staff members walking aimlessly down hallways doing absolutely nothing, only to be whacked off with very little notice from the other co-workers. A big problem for me was the silly props laying throughout the hospital. Seriously, why would a hospital need a sink full of sulfuric acid? Why not just go with the scalpel, skull hammer and mandatory bonesaw. These are good choices of weapons in a hospital setting under a title of "Hospital Massacre".
Beyond that the film wastes so much air time trying to get more testing accomplished on Susan and some meaningless on screen filler with a few suspicious old ladies. Most horror fans worth their salt will nail the killer's identity in the first twenty minutes. The movie does have some good scares and really is eerie in some spots, unfortunately these are few and far between. I did enjoy the score with its almost occult-like chanting numbers. It reminded me of "Amityville Horror" and "Children Of The Corn".
Good style, creepy atmosphere. Wasted screen time, silly props, decent chase scene. Nowhere near as effective as "Halloween II" in showcasing isolation or a sense of panic as staff members dwindle. Great score. Barbi Benton...and yeah...she shows'em.
|Posted on September 6, 2009 - 6:42pm | EC|