Horror Hospital (1973)

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Released 21-Sep-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Audio
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1973
Running Time 90:32
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Antony Balch
Studio
Distributor

Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Michael Gough
Robin Askwith
Vanessa Shaw
Ellen Pollock
Dennis Price
Skip Martin
Kurt Christian
Barbara Wendy
Kenneth Benda
Martin Grace
Colin Skeaping
George Herbert
James Boris IV
Case PUSH-1 (Opaque)
RPI $24.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.75:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

KC:   

    This is the story of Jason (Robin Askwith), a burnt out muso who suddenly and inexplicably decides he needs a holiday. Pronto. Walking down the street he sees an advert pinned to a lane way door. "Hairy Holidays for under 30's" the ad screams. Yep, this sounds like the ideal holiday for our Jason. Through the door he goes. He sees Pollack (Dennis Price), a plump kinda guy behind a desk, red cheeks - a very unattractive man. Now, I'm thinking there's no way I'm booking a holiday through this guy. Jason however, wants to sign up "today", like "now". Pollack promptly books Jason on the holiday, and with a wink and a nod offers to travel with him to Jamaica if he ever gets the urge <  shudder >.

    So off Jason goes alone. As far as musos go, party animal he isn't. On his way Jason meets Judy (Vanessa Shaw) whose Aunt Haris (Ellen Pollock) just happens to work at the "resort". Before getting too involved with the plot (trust me early with this, there's not much of a plot) I just want to say two things to avoid any confusion. Number one, there is no hospital in this film. It's a holiday resort housing secret operating facilities. And number two, ironically, there is no horror either. Anyways. Young couple travel to resort (ahem, hospital?). Within minutes of arriving they witness beds literally dripping with blood (explained away as someone's "little accident") and numerous "under 30's" with massive trauma head wounds, some still bleeding right through the swathe of bandages trying to hold the mush in their skulls. This doesn't put our Jason off though, nooooo, it's straight into bed for a bit of English crumpet for our hero as he hooks up with Judy. Well, as Aunt says, there was only one room left available and so they had to share.

"There's nothing healthier than sex", quips Jason.

    Eventually of course, Jason and Judy meet the good Doctor Storm (Michael Gough), an intellectual fellow (well, he plays chess). He spins some worn-out story about mind control. Look, this film rapidly takes the course of escape, capture, escape, capture, escape again and eventual capture before ... well, more escape. You cant help but wonder why with such lax security and controls that the good Dr and his evil experiment hadn't been unearthed sooner.

"I am the puppet master, of puppets that feel no pain" screams Doctor Storm.

Woody:

    Eh, whatever. This film takes itself far too seriously. There is no hospital, there is no horror or humour and no emotional attachment to the characters, their choice of actions so poor I ended up cheering for the lobotomy to occur. Corny, corny dialogue.

"Unborn cows virgin brains. Never had a thought in their life", a dish served up at Horror Hospital.

    Slumber Party Massacre, also released by Umbrella Entertainment, succeeds where Horror Hospital fails by capturing the audience's attention, creating interest in the story and successful dark humour. This film is just plain bad - it's not even funny bad, it's sad bad. There is some nudity involved, including one scene of full frontal male nudity. There's also some gore but the effects are very dated - nowadays blood is much more convincing as it spurts in pulses from a fatal head wound.

    Oddly enough it might be one of the helmeted "biker boys" who act as heavies who went on to have some success as a career stuntman. Martin Grace has appeared in 51 movies to date as a stuntman (some roles uncredited) or stunt coordinator including numerous James Bond films (You Only Live Twice, Live and Let Die, The Man with the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker and others). Other films include Superman (1978), Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Patriot Games.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is barely passable even given its advanced age.

    Horror Hospital is not 16x9 enhanced and is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.75:1.

    The film lacks sharpness - it's about as blunt as the butter knife Dr Storm uses for his operations. There are shadows in many scenes despite the majority of it being shot indoors. Grain is present but not distractingly so. Low level noise is acceptable.

    Colours are very washed out. Dreary, drizzly English rain on the outside and muted, dull colours indoors do nothing to help.

    There are no subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio is a notch below the quality of the film transfer.

    There is one audio track in English, Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

    There is a small lip sync problem at around 10:00 on the train where the audio and video are slightly out, but apart from that one glitch it seemed fine. More distracting was the variable sound recording. At times there is clearly no sound at all - silence has been dubbed in to mask any small noise that might have been picked up on the set. The silence is so obviously quiet it's distracting, such as the scene at 42:00 when there are people working out in the gymnasium but there is no sound at all. Are we supposed to believe these people make no noise at all as they stretch and lift? At 44:50 there is superficial crashing of glass as someone jumps through a window, but the sound of glass breaking doesn't match the action on screen. This might reflect the special effects budget allocation.

    The start of the movie has Jason's band playing some seventies hard pop. The song they are playing on stage is the same music used at the main menu. The lyrics scream "Something ain't right, something ain't right ... something is wrong". Yeah, well, they got that right. During the rest of the movie there is mood music. Tense, sharp music when the action peaks. Fun, carefree Caribbean music when a certain character makes their first appearance. Nothing to write home about.

    There is no surround sound usage or LFE.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

   The main menu has the "something ain't right ... something is wrong" song loop.

   There is one extra, a trailer for Horror Hospital. It runs for almost 2 minutes and lives up to its claim of not being able to give us much information about the movie by giving nothing of the movie away. Instead it enthusiastically encourages you to watch the movie with a friend, if they are game, or with your enemy! Hmm, in hindsight I should have chosen my enemy to watch this movie with me. I apologize for making you sit through this one Woods.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This movie is available in Region 1 as part of The British Horror Collection (Tower of Evil / Inseminoid / Horror Hospital / Curse of the Voodoo) (1982) or Halloween 4-Pack (Inseminoid / Tower of Evil / Curse of the Voodoo / Horror Hospital) (1982).

    In the United States this movie appears to be called Computer Killers.

    This movie is also available on video cassette, under the name Doctor Bloodbath.

    There appears to be no difference between R4 and R1, however having said that, runtimes for Horror Hospital are variously listed as 85 minutes or 100 minutes (uncut). The movie we reviewed was listed as 90 minutes and ran for 90:32. The DVD case was tagged as "proudly being presented UNCUT, UNCENSORED and in WIDESCREEN". We can only assume the copy reviewed was uncut and the timing of 100 minutes for the uncut edition may be in error.

Summary

    A disappointing movie, with very average visuals and even worse sound.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Kristen Clark & Ryan Woodforde (I love the smell of bio in the morning.)
Monday, February 27, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-533K, using S-Video output
DisplayPanasonic TX-51P15H rear projection TV (136cm).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to Amplifier.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS494
SpeakersKrix Lyrix front speakers, Krix KDX-C centre speaker, Krix Equinox rear speakers, BIC D-121OR 12' 200 watt powered sub-woofer.

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