HOSPITAL MASSACRE aka X-RAY (1981)
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This is a routine and rather dull slasher flick from legendary Cannon Pictures schlockmeisters Golan and Globus. The film is written by Marc Behm and directed by Boaz Davidson, whose only noteworthy directorial effort is the cult 80s teen flick, The Last American Virgin.
Flick opens with young Harold (Billy Jayne) leaving a Valentine’s Day card for little Susan Jeremy (Elizabeth Hoy) and then watching through her window as she opens it. When it is greeted with distain and laughter, young Harold murders her friend David (Michael Romano) in revenge. Nineteen years later, Susan is a grown woman (now Playboy Playmate Barbi Benton) who is entering a hospital to get some test results. Guess who works there though and soon Harold in a surgical mask is switching her test results to get her admitted to the hospital for more tests. As Susan tries to convince the doctors there has been a mistake, Harold leaves a trail of bodies as he makes his way to Susan to get his revenge on his lifelong Valentine.
Hard to tell just how seriously director Boaz Davidson was taking this flick, as he really overdoes it with the horror movie tropes and it is almost comedic that every person…save Benson’s heroine…acts like a creep and the hospital seems to be filled with more mental patients than medical patients. The staff alone make this possibly the creepiest hospital on the planet and that’s not even considering the loonies apparently allowed to freely roam the halls. Even Arlon Ober’s score overdoes it and seems more appropriate in an Omen spoof than a legit slasher. Despite that, it’s still a dull affair, even with the overdone atmosphere and generous but routine bloodshed. Harold seems to wander the halls randomly slaughtering folks and one has to wonder how no one in a fully staffed hospital notices anyone missing or sees Harold transporting dead bodies to the empty 9th floor. It also seems weird that despite being left alone constantly, it takes the deranged killer well over an hour to get to finally pursuing Susan. Benton makes a fiery heroine and really gives it her all, but the cast of unknowns around her act fairly woodenly and our killer doesn’t exude too much menace either, despite the decent body count. When his identity is revealed, we’re not all that surprised as the film tried way too hard to make him the least obvious suspect. There is little suspense or tension and it’s only steady bloodletting and some nudity from our Playboy Playmate that holds our interest…and even her nude scene comes from a very date-rapey examination sequence by one of the hospital’s spooky staff.
I love this era of slasher/horrors and so had to give this one a look. There isn’t much to recommend other than Barbi Benton making for a good heroine, running around in her skimpy hospital gown and flashing the attributes that made her fairly famous in the late 70s and early 80s, especially on TV and in the cult classic Deathstalker. Despite a little 80s nostalgia, this is a forgettable slasher and one of the lesser efforts in the 80s slasher era.