Visiting Hours (1982)

Oh Visiting Hours — I’ve stared at your box art so many times and never watched you, despite you being on rental shelves and in my collection for years. I’ve been meaning to watch it for awhile, but every time I grab the case of the Shout! Factory DVD, I just end up watching Bad Dreams, which is one of my favorite films despite just how much it rips off of the Elm Street films.

Oh Canada — your tax laws are just as responsible for slashers as much as sex and drinking in the woods!

Also known as Get Well Soon and The Fright, this movie tells the tale of Deborah Ballin, a feminist journalist and activist, who is played by Lee Grant (The Swarm, Valley of the Dolls). She gets under the skin of misogynistic serial killer Colt Hawker (Michael Ironside!), who has a name like a gay porn star. He attacks her, but she survives and is placed in the generically named County General Hospital.

As Deborah befriends a nurse named Sheila, Colt starts killing old people and other nurses. He also starts dating a girl named Lisa (Lenore Zann, who is also in Happy Birthday to Me) only to assault and torture her.

Our heroine is convinced that Colt is stalker her, but everyone — including her boss, played by Canada’s greatest export William Shatner — thinks she’s gone crazy.

Speaking of crazy, we learn that Colt got that way because his father was disfigured by his mother. That’s how these things happen, one assumes. He’s also nuts enough to take out everyone connected to our protagonist and then stab himself with a beer bottle so he can go to the same hospital as her.

Despite featuring little to no outright gore, Visiting Hours made the video nasty category 2 list, causing issues in the UK throughout the 80’s. Ironside really has a focused and evil performance, but I don’t know why this would make that list. Maybe I’m jaded.

Visiting Hours doesn’t live up to its poster art. Even by ripping off the theme to Halloween and aping Halloween 2‘s hospital setting, it can’t live up to other slash classics. Watch it for Ironside and Shatner, or just because you love Canadian tax shelter laws.

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