5 Things: Hospital Massacre (aka: X-Ray) (1982)

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(1) Playboy playmate Barbi Benton is the star, and here’s the thing: she’s probably the best actor in the movie. I’m pretty confident it was her turn as a playmate rather than a commitment to the teachings of Lee Strassberg that got her the part, but as far as slasher scream queens go: Benton did an admirable job.

(2) This movie has a bunch of connections with Snowblood favourite Bloody Birthday. The younger version of Barbi Benton’s character is played by Elizabeth Hoy, the little blonde killer from Bloody Birthday, and the doer of the deed in Hospital Massacre‘s opening sequence is Billy Jayne (aka Billy Jacoby), who also plays one of Hoy’s accomplices in Bloody Birthday. Finally, composer Arlon Ober contributed the soundtrack for both films. The soundtrack for Hospital Massacre is great too: it’s in your face and hits a nice balance with both dissonant electronica and Bernard Hermann-esque strings.

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Sidebar: Elizabeth Hoy was interesting. As a child actor, she appeared in The Blues Brothers, Bloody Birthday, and Hospital Massacre. Around the same time, she appeared on TV in Mork & Mindy, CHiPs, Fantasy Island, Eight is Enough, and Magnum PI (as well as some other roles in other series as well). Not a bad resume at all. She did all this over the span of 5 years from 1979 – 1984. Then she disappeared from film and TV. I wonder what happened?

(3) There are some great scenes in this film where the killer just becomes UNGLUED. A staple of other films of the sub-genre is for the killer to be a stoic and relentless machine (there are notable exceptions, like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but the sub-genre was so thematically incestuous that the blueprint was mostly lifted from the Friday the 13th and Halloween films), but in Hospital Massacre, there are some scenes where he’s clearly filled with rage. Sometimes this rage is more unintentionally funny than it is menacing, but it’s always entertaining.

hosp_massThis scene was later echoed in The Exorcist III

(4) The movie gets really weird in parts. There’s a room full of women (?) that you won’t soon forget. There’s no real explanation for them either. There are twists and turns that are borderline nonsensical. Being willfully sleazy or willfully weird (as long as you’re sleazy and/or weird with at least some vision, however whacked that vision may be), is the path to the heart of Snowblood Cinema.

(5) You can now get Hospital Massacre under the X-Ray title on a budget priced double feature Blu-Ray with Schizoid from Shout Factory. Schizoid stars Snowblood Cinema royalty:

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… so if a great soundtrack, and unglued murderer, a liberal dose of whackiness, and gratuitous Barbi Benton nudity isn’t enough to sell you: there’s always Kinski.

There’s always Kinski.