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The Fifth Floor (1978)

4.5
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Ratings: 4.5/10 from 175 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 4 critic

College disco dancer is wrongly committed to an insane asylum.

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(screenplay), (story), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Carl
...
Kelly McIntyre
...
Cathy
...
Melanie
...
Benny
Anthony James ...
Derrick
...
Nurse Hannelord
...
Dr. Sidney Coleman
John David Carson ...
Ronnie Denton
...
Phil
Betty Kean ...
Sophy
Alice Nunn ...
Emma
Cathey Paine ...
Lois
...
Nurse Whelan
Maggie Appel ...
Mental Patient
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Storyline

A young woman collapses on the disco dance floor of what's revealed to be strychnine poisoning. Assuming that this is an attempt at suicide, her boyfriend and doctor have her committed to the Fifth Floor, an asylum with obviously crazy inmates and a predatory orderly. The problem is, she's still sane! Written by Brian J. Wright <bjwright@acs.ucalgary.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Nightmare Is Knowing You're Sane. See more »

Genres:

Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Release Date:

15 November 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

To pempto patoma  »

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Soundtracks

Spank Your Thang
Written by Jerline Shelton and Maurice Commander
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User Reviews

"Once the door closes..."
9 March 2004 | by (Waterford, MI) – See all my reviews

"Fifth Floor" was actually better than I had expected. What makes it rise above the other, run of the mill B-movies/television movie of the week is the good performances from lead actress, Diane Hull and the supporting cast including Sharon Farrell and Bo Hopkins as an orderly who abuses his authority and terrorizes the young heroine.

Following a young college co-ed disco dancer who is inexplicably poisoned by strychnine in her drink is determined to be a suicide risk and delegated to the titular "fifth floor" psychiatric ward of a hospital for observation for 72 hours. Of course, a lecherous orderly makes things difficult for Kelly and her stay ends up being prolonged and not even her fiancee believes her cries for help. Diane Hull who played Kelly, manages to convey vulnerability and strength at the same time. The only people she can trust are the fellow patients on the ward who help her with a couple of escape attempts. The supporting cast is a who's who of character actors including a younger Robert Englund a.k.a. "Freddy Krueger" as one of the patients. One stand out performance is Sharon Farrell as Melanie, a truly broken woman who may have been made worse by her stay on the fifth floor and trapped there. Looking like Farrah Fawcett, she definitely conveyed the manic madness and becomes an unlikely ally of Kelly. Bo Hopkins, as the abusive orderly, is chilling and disturbing as the villain. The movie was made in the late 1970s and this is very noticeable with the CHIPS like background music and 3 disco dance numbers. Although a bit contrived at moments and an ending that ends abruptly, the film held it's own on it's B-Movie budget and I would go as far as to say that I liked it better than the similarly themed, "Girl Interrupted" which also was based on a true story. Nothing more is made of the true story that this film was based on or when it happened. I have heard of a similar film about an undercover reporter who poses as a mental patient and this is only known to one psychiatrist who unfortunately dies and every time the reporter attempts to tell the staff they give him more tranquilizers. It seems unlikely that this could happen but at the same time it is plausible under certain extreme circumstances where people are going to assume that you are paranoid. Very scary thought indeed.


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