Saturday, July 18, 2009

"Visiting Hours"(1982)d/Jean-Claude Lord

If you made a slasher pic in the horror-saturated early eighties,chances are,you made out alright for yourself,both at the box office and with ketchup-crazed gore fans worldwide.Unless your name is Jean-Claude Lord,that is.This guy took a cast of cult favorites like William Shatner,Lee Grant,Linda Purl,and scarfaced up 'n comer Michael Ironside(I've always dug this perrenial bad guy with the Nicholson hairline and the creepy grimace),who was coming off of his Scanners(1981) success the year before,a sinister hospital locale,effective incidental soundtrack,and nearly blew it altogether.The movie gods knew I was jonesing to see it after the teaser trailer aired on television,with the movie poster cleverly playing the hospital lighting into a huge skull(skulls are very choice,btw).So when I did see it,I walked out kinda feeling like I missed something.Years later,I can relievedly say that I didn't miss anything.And if you miss this entry,you might not miss much yourselves.
The Shat takes full advantage of his sparse screen time and mananges to shat out on his squeeze,Lee Grant.
Lee Grant has a television talk show,and while crusading for the rights of a battered woman who has killed her husband in self defense,she draws the attention of a letter-crazy bigoted control freak-cum-serial killer(Michael Ironside)who just so happens to keep a shrine of black and white photographs of his victims taped to the wall in his closet.One night after leaving the set,and saying goodbye to her producer/lover,William Shatner(who some may say was criminally underused here,but the fact is,the guy just wasn't given the opportunity to ham it up like he usually does,so you barely notice him!),she is surprised at her apartment by Ironside,who wants to shut her up with his stiletto,but while naked and wearing all her costume jewelry to boot.Okay,blech.Grant manages to survive long enough to be rescued by another tenant in her building and is whisked away to the local hospital,where she is doted upon and guarded by Linda Purl(of "Bad Ronald" and "Happy Days" fame),a nurse so selfless,she works overtime shifts a the hospital,volunteers at the free clinic,all while raising her own kids and developing a cure for Bell's Palsy.Okay,I added that last part,but you get the idea.
Kodak moments like this deserve to be put in an album before they get ruined.
When Ironside sees that he's missed his target,he travels to the hospital to finish the job,after massaging his stroke-ridden father's shoulders at the old folks home and biting the ass of a hapless frizzy blonde-haired prostitute during an abusive trick.This guy is relentless.He dons the uniforms of every hospital worker imaginable,from surgeon,to orderly,to floor buffer,cutting the airlines of elderly patients and snapping photos as the life rushes out of them, while ducking out of sight of the ever-watchful Purl.But he mainly enjoys shanking people in the labonza.I don't think I've ever seen a movie that passes itself off as a "slasher flick" that has as many gutstabs as this one.At one point he stuffs a stress-relief ball into the mouth of none other than Harvey Atkin(Morty from "Meatballs"...Hi Mickey!)and dispatches him with...that's right,folks.Right in the labonza.He follows Linda Purl home that night and I bet you'll never guess what he gives her and where when he ducks out from under the couch.You guys are good.The ass-bitten trick bitch breaks into Ironside's place and trashes it in a wall-pooped evening of vengeance,stumbling upon Michael's closet wall of death,but when the authorities rush to bring him to justice,he's already loaded up on pain meds,smashed his arm into a broken beer bottle(the lone gore effect that's worth an eff!),and had himself rushed to the hospital to finish off Lee Grant once and for all.But she shanks him in the labonza.I shit you not.The end.
Colt Hawker(Michael Ironside) in a pensive-yet-sexy leather wifebeater moment.
Definitely not a top-tier slasher by anyone's standards,despite a genuinely disturbing performance by fan fave,Ironside,and game faces worn by the entire cast,even Shatner when he turns up now and again.Lord went on to direct Eddie and the Cruisers II:Eddie Lives! and a lot of television.Grant who you'll recognize in genre films like Damien:The Omen 2 and The Swarm,went on to work in Lynch's Mulholland Dr.A likeable bad guy like Ironside has historically played throughout his career,has allowed to him to find work in everything from cartoons to the latest Terminator sequel.A lot of you nerds know more about what Shatner's been up to than I would,so I'll leave it at that.Not unwatchable,but not satisfying,due to the lack of grue,and multiple script flaws,this hospital horror gets prescribed two wops on the scale,and LOTS of shelf rest in the near future.
One broken bottle of beer in my arm,one broken bottle of beer...


Tower Farm said...

As much as I love 80s slashers...especially when they involve incredibly unrealistic "newspeople"...this one was TOUGH to sit through for me. Ironside is completely crazy, though, and makes for a few good jumpy moments!

beedubelhue said...

Yeah,I'm with you there,Billy.Ironside puts on a show,but the rest is an endurance contest that I won't be signing up for again any time soon.To the shelf with you!


Anonymous said...

Loved this movie, he's so friggin' sexy in it! <3

beedubelhue said...

Who's that?

viagra online said...

I think Visiting Hours is very terrifying! I like the scene of the photos in the album because the photos are of a murdered woman!

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