Saturday, August 27, 2011

Intensive Scare.

Hey-la, hey-la, my hubby's back. From Vegas, that is. I know that whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, or comes back as crabs, or worse—returns in the form of a teenager in search of his biological father and 18 years of back child support—but as I was unable to tag along this time, I asked The Amazing Jonathan to shoot some footage of his mini-holiday, and this is what he brought back:

LAS VEGAS BLOODBATH from joe lando on Vimeo.

Incredible, huh? I think he said he filmed it in the law offices of Jacoby & Meyers.

Anyway, while John was running all over the Strip in search of enlightenment and a good buffet, I parked it on the couch at home and did what any woman would do left alone for a week to combat the scorching summer heat by leaving the windows wide open—I watched Michael Ironside go against type and play a homicidal maniac in Visiting Hours (1982).

Oh my goth, I love that film. That's a subgenre unto itself, isn't it? Hospital slashers. First the franchises scrubbed up, with Halloween II (1981), and later, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984). The former featuring hot nurses who were literally scorching. No, really—that jacuzzi scene? Of course, my horror-loving heart is cross-sectioned for other equally enjoyable slasher subgenres, all putting the woman in indefinite, unimaginable peril from high school to college, even from her gym (Killer Workout, aka Aerobicide [1987]) to her career as a sexy real estate agent (Open House [1987]).

But hospital slashers are remarkable because we're supposed to be safe in hospitals. Especially if they hand out free samples and accept patients on a sliding scale. Schools? Forget it. I think my generation was the last to experience academic life without the fear of getting shot sometime between homeroom and the crappy cafeteria cornbread. As for work? Two words: going and postal. And scratch the gym; people kill themselves at the gym every day to look good for other people who kill themselves at the gym every day to look good for other people. They don't call it a meat market for nothing.

Hospital slashers (not to be confused with mental hospital horror films, e.g., Bad Dreams [1988]—I'm talking Hospital Massacre [1982]) are great for many reasons. Bitchy head nurses we love to hate; the beautiful, virginal nurse; the patient in danger, usually confined to her hospital bed; sexy, busty nurses who are either getting it on or discussing their failed relationships when they should be checking their patients; the security guard comic relief; his foil, Deputy Serious, who thinks it's all bullshit until he bites it in the end; and dark, empty hospital corridors—as if to suggest that every patient but the film's star has suddenly recovered and been discharged to the safety of their cozy, psychopath-free lives. I'll take it all, and more, please.

There seems to be an old Grindhouse revival of late, but I'd love to see someone bring back the good old hospital slasher. Filmed on 35mm, with unknowns, a Tangerine Dream score and an Ironside-y villain or Rollercoaster (1977)-era Timothy Bottoms-type? That would be killer.

Bad Dreams/Visiting Hours