Visiting Hours (1982)


Nastiness Rating:

Directed by: Jean-Claude Lord
Written by: Brian Taggert

When Deborah Ballin (Lee Grant) goes on the air with a lawyer who got a wife-beater off, she lets him have it and tells him that the wife has a new lawyer. Unfortunately, her producer/boyfriend, Gary Baylor (SHATNER!!!!), tells her that he can’t let the segment air.

But someone was watching. (Uh….what?) Colt Hawker (Michael Ironside) now wants Deborah dead. And he’ll stop at nothing to help her get that way.

His first attack is in her home right after she tells Gary that she’s not going home, she’s going to walk. (The next shot is of her getting out of her car…at home.) He, for some reason, is naked and chases her around her house, giving her enough injuries to put her in the hospital.

Eventually, there are attacks at the hospital, including one on an old lady in a room that Deborah was moved out of that night. And yet, the staff STILL won’t believe that the guy’s after her!

Of course, we learn bits and pieces about Colt as time goes on. He’s the son of a man who beat his wife, but got beaten by her for doing it. He’s impotent. (We learn that in a very creepy “sex” scene where he cuts a girls top off, but it’s magically glued to her chest.) He’s just a child in a man’s body…kinda. He’s stronger than your average bear.

But he’s not a particularly good killer. He kills people who mean nothing to him, not even bothering to look at a face before he kills. Then he makes a giant mess every time he kills anyone.

A slasher movie partly in a hospital is a great idea. Unfortunately, Jean-Claude Lord is a bit too inept to make it into a good movie. Not only is there the whole “I’m walking” bit, but there’s a really stupid “cat in the closet” scare when a nurse steps on a crying doll outside of her house. And why is Colt naked when he first attacks Deborah? The fuck?!

I guess, overall, it’s not a horrible film. Its main crime is that it’s just so damn mediocre. It’s boring! There’s hardly any real suspense (although it tries), there are no histrionics from Shatner (dammit!) And this was made in the same year as Kahn!

The movie doesn’t get even a little bit interesting until the very end when Colt starts to use the hospital to his advantage. He breaks a bottle with his arm to get himself sent to the hospital and then starts ringing patient bells to get the nurses to leave him alone so he can find Deborah.

There’s a pretty good cat-and-mouse scene that ends the whole thing. It’s nice to see an older lady be a hero in one of these movies. Unfortunately, that still doesn’t make it a good movie.

LOW POINT: That weird-ass sex scene. He slowly draws his knife all the way down and back up her body, cuts her blouse off and then turns her over, her blouse still intact somehow. That’s about all we see, but we see the scars on her back when she goes to the clinic…where the same nurse who is helping Deborah works!