Noteworthy Films, UK, 1973
AKA: Computer Killers/Death Ward #13/Eastworld/Doctor Bloodbath
Director: Antony Balch
Writer: Antony Balch, Alan Watson
Cast: Michael Gough, Robin Askwith, Vanessa Shaw, Ellen Pollock, Dennis Price, Skip Martin, Kurt Christian, Barbara Wendy, Kenneth Benda, Martin Grace, Colin Skeaping, George Herbert, James Boris IV, Allan ‘The River’ Hudson, Simon Lust, Antony Balch, Ray Corbett, Richard Gordon, Alan Watson
Jason Jones was vocalist with a rock band. After being sacked he goes and see them perform and end up in a fight with their new transvestite singer. Fed up with everything he decides to have a holliday. He finds an ad for “Hairy Holidays, Fun and Sun for the under 30’s” and decides to go. The creepy travel agent comes on to him and want to take him to the Bahamas, but when he realizes it’s the “Hairy Holiday” Jason wants he gives him a special prize of 5 pounds for the whole week. He doesn’t even want to be paid in advance.
On the train Jason meet Judy. She is going to visit an aunt she has never met. Her aunt and her mother had an arguement before Judy was born and never spoke since. Aunt Harris used to run a brothel in Hamburg before the second world war. She hooked up with a strange finnish doctor and when the war broke out he took her with him to Helsinki. After the war she brought him with her back to England. Now, Judy’s mother has died and aunt Harris is her only relative. It turns out Jason and Judy is going to the same place, since Doctor Storm is the one running the “Hairy Holiday” health hotel.
There were supposed to be a car waiting by the station, but after waiting for some time they ask the stationmaster for directions and take off on foot. They are caught in the rain and take cover in an old ruin, Eventually they get picked up by two men on motorcycles working for Dr. Storm, and are delivered to a big mansion. They are let in by a dwarf and signed in by a woman who turns out to be Judy’s aunt. She is upset to see Judy. She had sent her a letter telling her specifically not to come visit, but Judy never got the letter. There is a shortage of rooms so Jason and Judy have to share one despite Judys objections. She doesn’t object when he join her in the shower later on though.
When shown to their room by the dwarf, Frederick, a man with a big scar on his forhead comes out of a room and in the room the bedsheets are drenched in blood. The dwarf says someone had a small accident and hopes they’ll be more lucky.
At dinner Jason and Judy sits down with the other guests, and tries to make conversation. All the others are dressed in white, quite pale and with big scars on their forheads. None of them answers or even looks at the newcomers. When aunt Harris sits down with them they ask her what is going on, but before they get any answers a girl named Millie, the only other person at the table without the scar, trows a tantrum and is hauled off by two motorcyclists in black leathers and white helmets. None of the others reacts to this, but Jason and Judy are shocked and goes back to their room. Dr. Storm, who is in a wheelchair, comes and see them. Judy sais she want to leave, but the house is locked down for the night and there is nowhere to go. Dr. Storm tells her to stay for the night and wait till morning. He claims she and Jason will be quite safe as long as they stay in their room an keep the door locked.
Aunt Harris and Fredrick are digging graves in the garden while Jason and Judy make love. Later on Jason sneaks out to see if he can find out what’s really going on in this weird manor. Judy gets tired of waiting and follows him. She finds a room with eight beds. It looks like the people in them are dead but they remove the covering over their heads and look at her. They all have scars. When Jason get back to the room Judy is gone. He sees some kind of disfiguered monster before he is knocked out from behind.
Next day Jason finally learns what is going on. Dr. Storm is luring young people to his place and operating on them in his lab. He has developed a technique of brain surgery which turn his victims into zombies. They feel nothing and have no will of their own but are controlled with a computer. Judy is being held in a cell with Millie. Preparations for Millies operation has begun and after her it’s Judy’s turn. Then Jasons’. Jason manages to escape but is being hunted by the motorcyclists. Will he get away from them and will he be able to save Judy before she is turned into a mindless zombie?
Horror Hospital might have been the definition of gore in 1973, but by todays standards it’s pretty innocent and tame. It’s still good for a few laughs, though. The story is over the top with a Rolls Royce used for decapitating escapees, a gym full of zombies, an army of bikers in black leather, brain surgery and nightly burials in the garden. It reminds me of The Rocky Horror Picture Show but without the music. If they did a remake today I’m sure it would be a blockbuster. Somebody call Hollywood!
My verdict: 8 out of 10.