Directed by Jean-Claude Lord [Other horror films: The Vindicator (1986), Summer House (2008)]
I’ve seen this perhaps three times now, and I could swear that I enjoyed this a decent amount the last time I saw it. I still think it’s an okay slasher movie, but boy, this isn’t the forgotten B-flick I remember it being.
Hospital-based slashers always interested me, mainly because I just find the idea of a killer chasing someone around a brightly-lit (or rather dimly-lit, depending on the realism) place of healing rather amusing. Halloween II is of course the best one, but Hospital Massacre (also known as X-Ray, which, on a side-note, is a God-awful title) has a little charm too. I enjoy the chase scenes in this film toward the end, but a lot of the time, Visiting Hours just sorta drags.
The cast is solid, for what it’s worth. Sure, William Shatner was pretty much a waste (I think the best horror film I’ve seen him in was Kingdom of the Spiders, and that wasn’t even good because of him), but star Lee Grant was decent, and Linda Purl too. Michael Ironside (Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II) probably made the best impression, as a woman-hating psychopath. He certainly had persistence, I’ll give him that.
Overall, Visiting Hours’ story is okay, but it takes side-tracks that don’t really do it for me (such as Ironside’s character beating up a woman but not killing her, or going after Purl’s character). I enjoyed seeing Ironside’s mostly-silent killer try to outmaneuver the police to finish off his victim, but the extra stuff felt more like filler to me than anything else.
I have no objections to the kills, though I don’t think any particularly stood out. The setting, as I sort of alluded to, is on point, and I think the final twenty minutes are perhaps my favorite in the film (along with the opening attack). Also, I like the little snippets of the killer’s past that show why he’s enraged with strong women who stand up to abusive men (some context: Lee Grant’s character is an outspoken feminist journalist), which made the film slightly more interesting.
In the end, though, Visiting Hours is just okay, and a moderately-below average slasher that does some things well, but might lean toward the tedious side (and it doesn’t at all help that the movie’s an hour and 45 minutes). It’s still worth a watch, but it’s not near as good as I recalled it being.
This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss Visiting Hours.