In 1973, ex Kit-Kat advert director and friend of William Burroughs Antony
Balch made his second feature film. His first had been a bizarre experiment
starring Valentine Dyall called Secrets of Sex in 1970 - an Amicus-style
anthology, which took the interlinking stories idea and chucked in a load
of sex and gore. The new film starred Michael Gough as a mad scientist
running a "health farm" for hip young things (they book their
weekends through a travel company called Hairy Holidays)
Enter failed rock musician Askwith, still smarting from losing a punch-up
to a "faggot". Confused Robin, who has hooked up with a "bird"
on the way (Using the worst chat-up line in history - see sounds page)
eventually susses out something is wrong after a number of bloody deaths.
This film has everything for the discerning viewer - a car which decapitates
people, a murderous dwarf who can't say "shish kebab?", and
the ever wonderful Michael Gough.
No recommendation can possibly do it justice - it has to be seen to be
believed. Askwith gives his all (which granted, isn't much) as the prize
thicko wandering gormlessly through the blood-soaked proceedings without
a care in the world - until one of Doctor Storm's "patients"
breaks down in the middle of dinner and Askwith reacts with the immortal
line: "What the fack is going on here?"
Full marks must also go to his reaction noises as two bikers beat the
crap out of him with lead piping - over and over and over again.
And let's not forget his sudden grasp of the situation as he appraises
the equally gormless (but beautifully coiffeured) Abraham of the situation
after said beating, or the peculiarly unsignalled way the "freaky
little dwarf" suddenly changes sides.
Horror Hospital was Balch's first and only attempt at a continuous narrative.
The man who had caused a storm in the 1960s by re-titling French art house
film Traitment du Choc as "Doctor In The Nude" just to
bring more punters in suffered the fate of most independent film makers
in the 1970s - The Exorcist with its big budget chills had effectively
killed off their livelihood. No-one wanted to see cheapo horror any more.
He died in from cancer in 1980, never having made another film. Shame,
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make a clean job of it... 28k
teach them... 22k
stole my song... 28k
getting out of this bloody music business... 46k
no need to get so uptight... 14k
you look like a couple of drowned rats... 36k
can be very troublesome... 17k
my goodness... 25k
you leave here... 12k
Delightfully cheesey sub-porn music
explains the plot 110k
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Horror Hospital (1973)
Director: Anthony Balch Writer(s): Antony Balch, Alan Watson
Cast: Michael Gough - Dr. Storm, Robin Askwith - Jason, Vanessa Shaw
- Judy, Ellen Pollock - Aunt Harris, Dennis Price - Pollack, Kurt Christian
- Abraham, Barbara Wendy - Millie, Kenneth Benda - Carter, Martin Grace - Bike
Boy, Colin Skeaping - Bike Boy, George Herbert - Laboratory Assistant, James
Boris IV - 'Mystic' Rock Group, Allan 'The River' Hudson - 'Mystic' Rock Group,
Simon Lust - 'Mystic' Rock Group, Skip Martin - Frederick