Schlocktoberfest Day 9: Visiting Hours

Visiting Hours (1982)


*Spoilers Throughout

What’s It About: Michael Ironside plays Colt Hawker, a sadistic, psychotic killer, preying on Deborah Ballin (Lee Grant), a feminist activist. His first botched attempt to kill her in her home leaves her in critical yet stable condition at County General Hospital. The rest of the film Hawker tries in vain to kill Ballin at the hospital posing as a florist (which he accidentally kills an elderly patient and then purposely kills a nurse) and then as an orderly but is again thwarted by security and a young female nurse who admires and cares for Ballin. Soon, Hawker preys too on the young nurse and fails in his attempt to kill her as well. In his final attempt to get to Ballin he seriously wounds himself to get ambulance-rushed to the same hospital and finds Ballin is waiting for him.

Is It Actually Scary: Ironside plays a great psychopathic killer and in the first kill attempt he, for whatever reason, is naked and wearing most of Ballin’s jewelry making him look like Mr. T. The jump scares are minimal and we as an audience are aware of every move Hawker makes so that minimizes the scares.

Scariest Moment: Seeing a naked Michael Ironside running at Lee Grant wearing nothing but a lot of jewelry is very frightening actually.

How Much Gore: Not a lot but some of the kills are actually shown with blood in the wounds but not a gory flick really.

Dumbest Moment: Naked, jewelry-clad killer aside the dumbest moment is how he hurts himself to get an ambulance to pick him up to rush him to the hospital. He comes back home after his third failed try to get to Ballin, wraps a belt-tourniquet around his upper arm, then downs about a dozen pills with some cheap bottled beer, empties the rest of the beer on the floor then swings the arm down on the bottle breaking it. Seems like a convoluted way to maim yourself to get some EMTs to your house. And not like it really matters but how would he explain that as an accident? Plus I’m shocked it worked the way he planned it. The chances that the bottle would break and also stay in place instead of rolling off the table are slim at best.

I had NO idea the bottle was there when I quickly thrusted my arm down on the table... honest!

Really, the hospital and its staff is the real dumb moment, seeing that they couldn’t stop a killer 3 times from getting inside the hospital.

Any Nudity: You see a really odd-looking girl take her pants off revealing her panties. Hawker then not only rapes her but brutally bites her back a few times.

Overall: It was fun watching Ironside play a killer but it’s too bad he was so lousy at it. His weapon of choice was a simple switchblade and he was terrible at using it. They never really explain why he was trying to kill Ballin other than she was a female activist and pacifist and he was misogynistic. They show through a series of flashbacks that his mother maimed his highly abusive father and this was the catalyst to him hating women (they also tell us he is racist as well). So, I’m assuming that the fact that Ballin fought back breaking her pacifism to defend herself from Hawker shows that even she too could be brought to the breaking point. An unnecessary parable in a horror/thriller when the killer simply choose the victim because he watched her on TV being a feminist and fighting for womens’ rights.

Score: 5

One thought on “Schlocktoberfest Day 9: Visiting Hours

  1. Pingback: Schlocktoberfest: Recap of Horror! « Hard Ticket to Home Video

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