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X-Ray / Schizoid


Prognosis: 178 minutes of frightful fun.

Rod Lott August 6th, 2013

Continuing its reissues of finely aged cheese from the Cannon Films vault, Shout! Factory presents a welcome double feature of silly-ass slashers in 1982’s X-Ray and 1980’s Schizoid.

xrayschizoid

The former, perhaps better-known as Hospital Massacre, comes from the age where you not only could smoke inside a medical center, but could rest a nationwide release on the shoulders of a Playboy personality — in this case, Barbi Benton. She plays Susan, a beautiful divorcée who goes to the hospital to hear her results from some vague tests. Because her X-ray purposely is switched with one that looks like a Slinky resides in the pictured torso, she’s kept there against her will.

Who would do such a thing? I’ll tell you who: Harold (Chip Lucia, Rage of Honor), who’s carried a childhood grudge ever since she crumpled his Valentine to her. Nineteen years later, Susan’s all grown up and filled out, yet so dumb she can't even press the correct elevator button. Still, Harold still wants her, and wants her bad — bad enough to kill everybody in the place. A heavy breather with no apparent peripheral vision, Harold walks around slowly in surgical mask and scrubs, as he looks for victims to stab, saw, syringe and soak in acid.

It’s not all that bloody, actually; director Boaz Davidson (who’s interviewed in the genial “Bad Medicine” featurette) secures his R rating mostly by getting Benton nude for an “exam” sequence that feels particularly exploitative.

The other half of the double feature, Schizoid, also centers on an attractive divorcée with an overly large head of hair. Newspaper advice columnist Julie (Marianna Hill, High Plains Drifter) receives a string of death threats in the mail — the kind with letters cut out from magazines — just as members of her weekly group therapy sessions are murdered one by one.

Could the two problems possibly be connected? Given that the therapist is played by that on-and-off-screen oddball Klaus Kinski, it’s safe to say they are. Oh, yes, indeed.

Writer/director David Paulsen seemingly packed his flick with as many red herrings as he did with scenes of the killer scissoring unfortunate supporting players right out of the cast list. And what a cast it is, peppered with character actors like Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future’s Doc Brown), Joe Regalbuto (TV’s Murphy Brown) and then-starlet Donna Wilkes as kinky Kinski’s daughter. Wilkes sits down for a 10-minute interview in the extras to discuss Schizoid, as well as career highlights Jaws 2 and Angel.

For horror enthusiasts, especially of the stalk-’n’-stab subgenre, this Blu-ray/DVD combo release under the Scream Factory banner is a no-brainer blind buy. Those fans know going in that neither film is “good” in the traditional sense, yet that both are colorful and inventive within their limits. As with Shout!’s 2011 pairing of Bad Dreams and Visiting Hours, this new twofer makes for ideal marathon viewing for a lazy afternoon or a stormy night, preferably with pals, pizza and pilsner. It's one of my absolute favorite B-movie packages of the year. —Rod Lott

Hey! Read This:
A Bullet for the General Blu-ray review    
Bad Dreams / Visiting Hours DVD review  
Candy Loving: Norman's Playboy Playmate interview
Captain America: Collector’s Edition Blu-ray review      
Ninja III: The Domination Blu-ray review     



 
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