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Be Kind, Rewind — 'Hospital Massacre'

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VHS collectors seem to be coming out of the woodwork lately. What many thought was a dead format seems to be making a major resurgence, similar to the way vinyl did. We wouldn’t dream of telling you that the quality of a VHS cassette provides superior picture, sound, or anything. But it is certainly a lot of nostalgic fun to revisit some of the more obscure titles by way of your VCR. 

 
Be Kind, Rewind is your one stop destination for all the information you could ever want about horror films exclusively available on VHS. We will give you the low-down on the title we are re-visiting, including where to find it, the going rate, a review of the film, and we will even provide an expert recommendation as to whether the title is worth the money. If this segment is successful, we will be examining more titles in the upcoming weeks, so tell your friends and fellow lovers of antiquated technology. 
 
Hosp_Mass
 
Title: 
Hospital Massacre (a.k.a. X-Ray)
 
Year of release:
1982
 
Distributor:
MGM/UA
 
The Talent:
Barbie Benton (known for being a Playboy Playmate)
Chip Lucia (Tank Girl)
Jon Van Ness (The Hitcher)
John Warner Williams (Black Magic Woman)
 
Synopsis:
 
While out for a routine physical, Susan Jeremy (Barbie Benton) is stalked and tormented by a crackpot with an axe to grind. It seems this particular whack job has some unresolved issues from his past; specifically, our madman has yet to forgive Susan for her involvement in an embarrassing Valentine’s Day mishap that took place many years prior. 
 
Review:
 
The opening score is sinister. The opening credits are intentionally ominous. To some extent, the tension tapers down from there. But it’s more than made up for by the campiness that follows. The atmosphere is much campier than Friday the 13th or films of that ilk. But, as a nostalgic, sentimental, collector of outdated mediums, I am quite pleased with the campy nature of Hospital Massacre. And, the camp value doesn’t stop there from being a few worthwhile scares throughout the course of the film. 
 
As you can probably guess, the performances are not the film’s strong suit. However, they are not nearly so bad as to render the movie unwatchable. 
 
At the beginning of the film, we see a brief-but enjoyable-cameo from Elizabeth Hoy, who played the murderous Debbie Brody in Bloody Birthday the year before. I’m pleased to say that Hoy (Playing Susan Jeremy at about 10 years old) was almost as wicked in Hospital Massacre as she was in Bloody Birthday. 
 
The killer sounds like he is lifting his absolute max at the gym, when he impales his victims. He also has some really exceptional dialogue in which he explains sex as “She lets you touch her in all her secret places.”
 
Barbi
 
Hospital Massacre uses its hospital setting to its advantage. There are some inventive kills that wouldn’t have been possible at many other locales. In one instance, we see one of our victims getting what looks to be a good old-fashioned acid bath. 
 
The gore is not bad. There are a couple of cool effects. Since it was a low budget film, Hospital Massacre won’t delight you with amazing death scenes, but it definitely has a couple of noteworthy moments. 
 
Fans of gratuitous nudity will find plenty to gawk at: Miss Benton’s extremely large breasts and equally sizable areolas are put on display quite liberally. The camera pans, slowly across her chest for anyone who might want a closer look at her bountiful assets.  
 
There are a couple of things about the film that are hard to swallow. For one: Susan’s doctor gives her what looks like a sensual massage and calls it a “physical.” Two, the hospital set that was used looked like it would be condemned in a third world country, let alone the United States. There are a couple other nuances that surprised me a little. But, if you are watching low-budget 80s slasher films, perhaps you are not the type to be terribly put off by such things. 
 
The pacing is a little up and down. The film gets a bit slow towards the middle, but picks up again in the last 30 minutes. 
 
In terms of quality, the copy I have has not experienced any deterioration of the picture. Certain portions of the film are quite dark, but that is not uncommon for VHS transfers of low-budget horror films. 
 
Overall, Hospital Massacre is not a masterpiece, but it’s certainly has its moments. It’s not a bad way to kill 89 minutes. 
 
Going Rate:
$125 (New)
$85 (Used, Very Good Condition)
$68 (Used, Good Condition)
 
Where to get it:
As of writing this, Amazon is the only reseller that has copies in stock. EBay and Half.com will occasionally get copies of Hospital Massacre in and sell them for lower prices, but they always go fast. 
 
Is it worth the price?
For the devout collector, it’s well worth the price. There are whisperings of an eventual Scream Factory release, so the casual collector may want to wait and see if that comes to fruition before laying down serious skrilla for their copy of the film. 
 
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