Review Date: January 23, 2000
Released by: Elite Entertainment
Release date: November 2, 1999
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 1.85:1 | 16x9: No
Elite Entertainment released Horror Hotel
on DVD, so it's only fitting they release Horror Hospital
, a British film made in 1973 and directed by Anthony Balch. Horror Hospital
may very well have the most corniest looking, and acting, monsters and henchmen from a film of that period. Elite has now released it onto DVD so let's take a look.
Jason (Robin Askwith) is tired of the music business and wants to get away for awhile. He decides to take a vacation after he's shown a brochure for "Hairy Holidays", who specialize in "Fun & Sun for the Under 30s". The proprietor there recommends a resort called Brittlehouse Manor and before long Jason is on his way for a nice relaxing get away. Taking a train to his destination Jason meets a beautiful girl by the name of Judy (Vanessa Show) on the train who is also headed to the resort to meet with her Aunt Harris (Ellen Pollack). Upon arriving, Jason and Judy realize this resort seems more like a Hospital and the "vacationers" more like patients. Soon it's revealed to them that the resident doctor Dr. Storm (Michael Gough) performs operations on the guests, which turns them into mindless zombies that he can control.
Dr. Storm also seems to be hiding a secret about himself. It isn't long before Jason and Judy realize they are next for an appointment on Storm's operating table. Jason's attempts to escape are futile, as he's clobbered by the "Biker Boys" en route to freedom. With time running out for Judy, Jason must find a way to stop the mad doctor. Luckily he's joined by another "patient", Abraham (Kurt Christian), who came in search of his lost girlfriend. Together, with the help of Frederick (Skip Martin), who is a disgruntled midget employee of Dr. Storm, the trio must battle the Biker Boys, stop the Doctor and save the damsel without losing their heads.
is a good little B horror flick with some nice gore, which consist mostly of beheadings. Basically a "mad scientist" film, Horror Hospital
introduces us to a twisted doctor played by Michael Gough. Batman fans will recognize Gough, who played Bruce Wayne/Batman's trusty butler Alfred Pennyworth in all four Batman films. Here he plays Dr. Storm, a mad genius that was screwed over by the man and now spends his time sifting through people's brains. He plays the part well creating a "gentleman" mad scientist. The other actors are pretty standard fare and do a fairly good job.
The film starts out pretty promising, but soon degrades into a B level film as we are introduced to such strange characters such as the "Biker Boys", which act as guards. They consist of men in leather jackets wearing crash helmets. We also get glimpses of something I can only describe as a "mud man". In reality I guess he's supposed to be horribly burnt and that's where the somewhat effective twist in the story occurs. Too bad the creature looks awful and I'm pretty sure the crew did their best to show as little of it as possible. The film overall fails to build any suspense or atmosphere throughout. However, there are some nice moments like the introduction to Abraham's character which I found funny. Give the film a rental if you can and if you like it pick up this DVD.
Elite Entertainment Presents Horror Hospital
letterboxed at 1.85:1 in a non-anamorphic transfer. The image looks very good overall. Colors appear solid and nicely saturated; for example the greens of the leaves in the opening scene look natural. Flesh tones look very good without any oversaturation. The transfer exhibits some grain, but for the most part is disguised well and you'd have to take a close look to notice it. The transfer also maintains a very detailed and sharp look making details easy to see. There is some occasional print damage such as scratches and specks, but they are barely noticeable. Blacks were solid, I didn't note any breakup and the smoke and gas that litter the film from time to time flows rather smoothly.
This is a good effort by Elite as always.
Presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 the soundtrack to the film sounds good. If you have the theatrical version of Dawn of the Dead
you should recognize some of the stock music and sound. One in particular is used frequently, that one being the cue that plays when Steven is in the elevator after he gets shot and the zombies come in through the door. Dialogue was clear and I did detect any distortion or dropouts.
Elite supplies us with only a trailer and a very peculiar one at that. The trailer only shows us one shot of the film and the rest are title cards explaining how frightening the film is. Also, it looks like a combo trailer since there is mention of another film - The Corpse Grinder
. I wonder if Elite will release that someday?
This is definitely a B horror film and I found a lot of the film humorous and tongue in cheek. With this DVD Elite Entertainment provides a good presentation at a fair price (List $24.95) so if you read the story synopsis and think this film may interest you give it a try. Just don't expect too much from the film otherwise you're likely to be disappointed
Image Quality – B+
Sound – B+
Supplements – C+
- Running Time - 1 hour 31 minutes
- Rated R
- 1 Disc
- 21 Chapter Stops
- Dolby Digital 2.0