The Film: Visiting Hours
Year Made: 1981
Overview: A man who is still traumatized by events that transpired from his childhood of his abusive dad against his mother, goes on a killing spree. His target is a news anchore woman who speaks out against violence and triggers the killers' inner rage. The hospital should be a place of safety and healing, but visiting hours is about to begin!
The Package: 3 Stars. The outside of the DVD holder has a eerie picture of the hospital with a skull in the windows. The inside of the case does not have any kind of inlay which is disappointing though. The disc itself has graphics of doctors faces on it wearing masks, which although cool, it would have been more creepy to have the killer himself wearing a doctor mask. The disc stays in place in the holder very nice and is easy to pop out of the tray also. There are TV trailers and radio spots on the extras as well as some movie previews for other films which I always like to watch. Overall a good package but could have been better and should have come with closed captioning which is missed greatly.
Spook Meter: 4 Stars. Visiting hours is a creepy film. The killer hardly talks at all, yet is shown clearly throughout the film. Brilliant camera work as the killer is walking as well as all the pictures on the walls of his apartment where he keeps photographs of his victims he has killed, really bring the overall creepiness' to life as you watch this. I loved the fact that most of the action takes place in a hospital setting which works very well here. The flashbacks of the killers dad being abusive to his mother and seeing the conflicting hatred he has for his dad and also for his mother for what she did to his dad is brilliant. That is made clearer as he kills women and men as things progress. Michael Ironside played the part of the killer to perfection and he truly fit the roll well in his look as well as acting. William Shater I thought was one character that did not fit well in this film. William Shatner is a superb actor, but he just didn't seem right for this.
Gore/Violence Meter: 5 Stars. In the gore department, I would rate this about average for a slasher film, it's got some blood but it's not excessive at all. Violence is why I drove the meter way high. The visual effect and the slow prolonged death scenes when someone is killed as well as the killer taking pictures while the victim is dying is very intense. The visual/brutal way it's all acted out and captured will make you cringe and feel each and every death scene. Very violent!
Profanity Meter: 5 Strikes. Sadly, this was a huge letdown. Why all the profanity, I really feel it spoils any film and this one had a lot of language throughout. I hope a closed captioned version comes out so at least my editer will work!
Sexual Meter: 2 Strikes. There is not much as far as offensive scenes. There is one scene while the killer has a woman over at his place and begins to get a bit rough with her and pulls her hair. Nothing much is shown overall though and there is no nudity at all, although the woman does take off her jeans and is standing in her panties at one point. One other scene, the killer is shown reaching down with his hand under a woman's shirt, although suggestive, nothing is shown and no nudity here either. I'll bump up the sexual meter to two stars for these scenes but overall this was non offensive in this area for most viewers.
Final Thoughts: Visiting hours is very well done and what I consider to be a highly underrated lost gem in the slasher film genre. When most people think of horror/slasher films, they think of the main ones like Friday the 13th, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street. Visiting hours IS that good and even though it stands as a somewhat unrecognized film in the classic time of the early 80s, any true horror slasher fan will love this brutal uniqueness of Visiting Hours. The one single let down of it was all language, if not for the language, I'll stand on my 5 star rating as a horror slasher film and rank it right up their in my list of all time favorite horror films.