Night #4: Hospital Massacre (1981)

hospital-massacre-movie-aka-x-ray-1982-2

(I know what the title says, it was released under both names)

Directed By: Boaz Davidson

“All her bones are decaying and her organs are all rancid and her blood is malignant as slime…”

Hospitals are messed up places, everyone knows this, so it’s a surprise that there are less horror movies that are set in them. I can think of countless movies set in camps or in the woods or even in a cinema (Hello Demons) but hospitals are generally underutilised.

After Hospital Massacre, or X-Ray in some places, I can’t say if that’s a good or bad thing. 

We start with a valentine’s day prologue, where Susan and her brother are playing with some toys when a creepy boy, Harold, leaves her a gift. Susan and her brother laugh as Harold watches and when she goes into the kitchen, Harold breaks in and impales the brother on a coat rack. I think? I’m not too sure.

Nineteen years later Susan goes for a checkup at her local hospital, though we immediately see a maniac doctor stood in the window, which already raises some questions, the main one being did he just happen to be passing at the same time she arrived? The movie seems to make out it’s that way.

The movie has to draw out its running time, so we’re forced to meet an assorted array of characters and red herrings. One of them is a patient that’s allowed to roam the halls eating messy hamburgers and drinking bottles of whiskey. There’s three creepy old women, one of which is blatantly a man in drag, there’s a doctor who seems to roll with his own crew of bitchy nurses and there’s a janitor who licks his lips and practically eye-fucks poor Susan from about a foot away. Unsurprisingly, he’s the second one to die though hilariously he does so after chasing the killer into a 3-foot by 3-foot room and still managing to lose him. I’m not going to say he deserved to die or anything but…

Despite my better judgement, this movie is actually pretty fun. It stars former playmate (As the poster boasts) Barbi Benton. I don’t know about the rest of Miss Benton’s career, but I think she’s better the more hysterical she’s supposed to be. She’s a former flame of Hugh Hefner, so she’s already had some experience of being chased around a building she’s not allowed to leave by a maniac who wants her all to himself. Also, I don’t think anyone who made it had ever stepped foot in an actual hospital before. Either that or they had a very harsh grudge against them. Nearly everyone that Susan encounters is a weirdo, a borderline pervert (Including one doctor that gives her the type of examination that would definitely get him struck off) or generally apathetic. The doctor she sees regularly is the first one to be killed (after being lured to an empty floor and who sees nothing suspicious about this fact) and her stalker spends the rest of the time kind of faking her test results and notes in an effort to keep her around? I’m not entirely sure to what end since it seems his ultimate plan for her could’ve been pulled off at any time given that he’s able to kill several people…In a hospital…With no one knowing. He’s also one of the slowest moving killers in all of filmdom. There’s one scene in particular that made me think of the scene in Austin Powers where the henchman doesn’t get out of the way of a slow moving steamroller that’s about 30 foot away from him. I know this is all getting really nitpicky right now but why bother with the hospital at all?

Speaking of nitpicky, I’m about to spoil the move for all of you who won’t watch it. So be warned…

…first of all, to show you all how dumb I am, the killer is Harold, the same psycho Harold from the start. So obviously I knew this would be the case, which is the whole point of the prologue, but when one character introduces himself as Harry…I didn’t put two and two together. Ok movie, that one is on me. What makes no sense to me though is what happened after the prologue. Didn’t Harold/Harry, I don’t know, get locked up for literally murdering another child? Susan has apparently been visiting the hospital for a number of years, so why decide to murder her now?

Ah who knows, and does it matter really? The movie doesn’t seem to think so because it’s infinitely less fun once the killer is revealed and it ends so quickly that it seems as though the filmmakers couldn’t wait to get out of there. Harry gets offed, Susan makes it outside just in time for a reunion with her ex-husband and daughter and….freeze frame.

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