Saturday, November 1, 2008

Horror Hospital (1973)

...aka: Computer Killers
...aka: Doctor Bloodbath

Directed by:
Anthony Balch

We're off to a good start here with the great tag line... "The operation is a success... when the patient dies!" And in my opinion any movie with a sneering, gloriously overacting Michael Gough is automatically worth checking out. You know he'll own it. Obnoxious, smug and irritating Mick Jagger wannabe Jason Jones (Robin Askwith, from all those awful "Confessions" British sex comedies) decides to get away from the pressures of the music biz at "Hairy Holidays," a country health spa for the under 30s. On the train ride over he hooks up with bright (not in the cerebral sense) young thing Judy (Vanessa Shaw) and the two venture on to their destination only to discover it's actually an unorthodox mental hospital where the evil Dr. Christian Storm (played by Mr. Gough, of course) gleefully experiments with lobotomies, zombification and decapitations of unwilling patients. This house of horrors comes complete with helmeted guards on motorcycles, blue-faced zombies, blood-gushing faucets, a slow-witted dwarf (Skip Martin), a head-chopping automobile and a mutant monster. It's a gory, trashy, unapologetic sleaze romp cluttered with assorted nonsense, but colorful presentation and appropriate straight-faced camp acting from the trio of baddies (Martin, nurse Ellen Pollock and especially, Gough) give it a lift. Dennis Price also appears in a small role as a flamboyant travel agent. Bringing the film down somewhat are the young leads, who are terrible and seriously grate on the nerves after awhile.

Though this movie can be hard to track down these days, it's been shown on cable TV here in the States, re-mastered and letterboxed.


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