Hospital Massacre (aka X-Ray) (1982)
The makers behind Hospital Massacre had to know they were making a comedy. They just had to. Based on what's on the screen I can't believe for one second anyone involved thought they were creating a scary, or at least halfway plausible, horror movie. Were they serious? Naw...they can't have been.
Hospital Massacre has to set some kind of record for implausibility, miscalculation and the number of characters who act like they are brain damaged. It stars Penthouse Pet Barbi Benton in her feature film debut, after toiling in network television for a number of years, as a divorced woman who arrives at her local hospital in order to pick up some results from a checkup she had earlier. It's going to be a long night for her.
You see, 21 years earlier, a little boy named Harold killed her childhood friend after they made fun of Harold's attempt at giving her a valentine. Needless to say, this is the day for his revenge. And before the film has even run ten minutes we have a plethora of bizarre hospital patients and employees who all could potentially be the killer. Is it the creepy janitor? How about intensely creepy doctor John Warner Williams who has the worst bedside manner in movie history? Or is it Chip Lucia, who plays Harry the intern? Her surly ex-husband?
Let's see. First we are shown that the 9th floor is closed and is being fumigated. Benton's doctor gets paged from her office to go to the 9th floor...that's closed....that's being fumigated...and when she arrives there which is completely deserted except for a toxic cloud of chemicals, she decides to look around instead of leave (smart doctor) and is killed all so the killer can switch out Benton's results with a different set of X-rays. Williams sees these X-rays and makes Benton have another checkup which he does veeeeeeery sloooooowwwly, and even draws blood without warning her. The killer then stabs a secretary so he can change out these test results which causes Williams to forcibly make Benton stay in a hospital bed....but he won't tell her why. You know, like all doctors do. Every time Benton tries to leave the hospital he gets some burly nurses to force her back to her bed at one point even strapping her down on a gurney. What is this, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest? Other random doctors and nurses are slaughtered and Benton's fiance gets tricked to go up to the 9th floor (still full of chemical clouds), after walking up a stairwell that is completely dark, and is decapitated with a bone saw. Eventually we find out who the killer is, as if it's a big surprise that "Harry" is short for "Harold" and Benton kills him by dousing him with formaldehyde and setting him on fire and he dives off the roof of the hospital.
Where do we begin? The mystery isn't mysterious, the hospital is like no hospital anywhere, characters show up randomly, hallways are full of people and then are completely deserted seconds later, all of the patients act completely insane, all of the doctors are cretins, when we find out who the killer is it becomes clear he had many opportunities to kill Benton easily but never does until the script tells him to, and scene after scene left me outwardly laughing. The sole bright spot is Benton herself who bravely slogs through this ridiculous junk like a trooper and remains likable throughout.
Hospital Massacre is awful, sure, but it is actually highly entertaining in its own schizoid kind of way. If you are looking for a "talk back" movie, one where you get a group of friends to jeer and yell at the characters, I can't think of a better example.