While trying to understand a frightening reoccurring nightmare, a pledge is coaxed into breaking into her father's department store by her sorority sisters, where a deranged killer targets the girls and their boyfriends.
Siblings, Eric & his surreal artist sister Kay, her doctor husband David, her sister-in-law Brooke along with pilot Marsh become stranded on a rugged isle face off against a supernatural beast drawn to Kay who dreams of its killings.
Three college girls on their way to a jazz festival crash their car in the isolated woods during a rainstorm, and are taken in by a mysterious family in an old mansion. Little do the girls know, the family has a dark, murderous secret.
Deborah Ballin is a controversial middle-aged TV journalist, who is campaigning on air on behalf of a battered woman who murdered her abusive husband, claiming justifiable defense against the so-called victim. But her outspoken views championing women's rights incense one of the studio's cleaning staff, closet homicidal psycho (and misogynist) Colt Hawker whose deep seated despising all all things female occurred from seeing his Mother throwing boiling oil in the face of his abusive Father when he was a small child (and who's M.O. is to photograph victims he stabs as they're spasming to death). So much so that he decides there and then to shut her up...PERMANENTLY! Managing to beat her home, he soon dispatches her maid Francine, before turning his rage onto her as she come home (greeting her in only wearing her jewelry and make-up). Despite the brutal injuries he lashes out on her, she manages to survive and is rushed off to hospital. But undaunted he catches up to her in hospital and...Written by
This was the first of the UK's infamous 'Video Nasty' films to be aired on television. The ITV network aired the film uncut in 1989 and subsequently the network received a fine from the Broadcasting Standards Council. See more »
(at around 45 mins) Michael Ironside's character dashes through a bathroom door in the hospital, and the camera and 2-3 crew members are briefly reflected in the mirror above the sink, before he closes the door. See more »
[On the letters framed on Colt's wall]
God, you blast them all: blacks, Jews, Mexicans...
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The film was listed as one of the original DPP 74 UK video nasties. UK cinema and video versions were cut by the BBFC to edit a scene where Colt traces his knife across Lisa before slashing her clothing and shots of Colt kicking Sheila as he photographs her. The uncut version was shown on ITV in 1989 by mistake and the company was publicly rebuked by the Broadcasting Standards Council. See more »
"Visiting Hours" has Lee Grant as an outspoken and controversial feminist journalist who becomes the prime target of women-hating serial killer Colt Hawker (Michael Ironside). After being viciously attacked by Hawker in her home, she is taken to the hospital where she learns she will have to undergo surgery for her wounds. Unfortunately, that's the least of her worries, because Hawker hasn't let her go as prey, and she can't leave the hospital.
Underrated as a thriller and overblown as a "slasher," "Visiting Hours" is one of the stronger and lesser-seen killer thrillers of the 1980s, but there is plenty in it to be admired. Although it's often classified as a slasher film, it's really more of a psychothriller under the guise of a slasher, laboriously meditating on the killer's disturbed, misogynistic psyche, and taking more stock in sequence buildups and moments of true suspense than actual splatter. The real kicker in this film is the setup in which Grant's character finds herself quite frankly trapped in the hospital; not only is she injured, but the hospital staff cannot legally let her leave, rendering her (and the rest of the hospital) a sitting duck for the malicious Hawker.
For being filmed in 1981, the film has a surprisingly fresh and considerably modern look to it. Whereas many horror films of this era suffer from poor aging, this is one of a rare few that seems to have retained a contemporary edge. Slick cinematography and impressive acting from Lee Grant and Michael Ironside help maintain an unusually classy standard. Linda Purl is great as the likable nurse who falls prey to the madman, and William Shatner's presence is welcome as Grant's stubborn boss. Thrown into the mix is a confused albeit interesting social commentary angle on non-violence, and Grant's moxie-filled character punctuates the film's time period and the social landscape of second wave feminism.
Overall, "Visiting Hours" is one of the classier horror films of the early '80s, and has a much more mature feel to it. With the contemporary edge it possesses, it's still surprisingly accessible to a modern audience, and the performances and elaborate sequence buildups really make it stand out among its peers. It is at times admittedly plodding at some points, but it's a small misgiving in an otherwise above-average thriller. 7/10.
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