Sunday, August 8, 2010

Klaus Know Me?: Slaughter Hotel

You're getting a double-dose of Klaus this week, so count your blessings!  The thing about your German dynamo is that he was in a lot of genre films.  It sort of became a joke, actually, that he would turn down some major film roles and, instead, do low-budget stuff in the genre-specific markets.  "I don't need to do a Francis Ford Coppola film- there's a WWII film that needs me!"  I mention that because that's exactly what he did in the case of today's movie.  Slaughter Hotel aka The Cold Blooded Beast aka The Man Who Kills In Cold Blood aka Asylum Erotica was made in 1971 by Fernando Di Leo.  If you don't know that name, you shouldn't feel bad.  Between 1964 and 1985, he made- you guessed it- many genre films, including such compelling films as Naked Violence, The Italian Connection and Death Commando.  The film was made after the sudden rise of Giallo and fits the mold pretty well.  The only problem: the focus is almost entirely on the naughty stuff, not the violence.  In fact, considering the title, the actual 'slaughter' is few and far between.  Even so, this has Klaus, so it can still be redeemed.  Get out your bloody axe collection for my review of...
Right off the bat, a strange person dressed like The Phantom of the Opera via Scooby-Doo wanders around and finds a woman in bed.  She writhes about, revealing her naked body.  Before it can attack her, the lights come on nearby and they flee.  No murder and just boobs, eh?  This does set the tone for the whole movie, people!  The movie proper begins with long shots of a couple driving in a car.  The woman is not happy, but the man is fairly calm.  They get to the titular hotel (although it's not in my title) and she gets out.  She starts to try and talk to him...when he promptly drives away.  She is met by a doctor (not Klaus) who goes to lead the bothered woman to her room.  By the way, the front door has a separate, tiny door on it.  WHY?!?  She tries to attack with him a stick, but, since all psychiatrists are psychics, he stops her with his back turned to her and leads her on.  Yes, let's just ignore that attempted assault!  It's around this time that we find out this is a psychiatric hospital for hot models, who never once stop wearing their designer clothes and make-up.  No, really.  On top of that, one of the nurses- a dead ringer for Magenta from Rocky Horror- is engaging in an affair with a black patient.  I know that she kind of looks like Sade, but it's still wrong!  In addition to that, their is the man I like to think of as Dr. Red Herring (Klaus Kinski).  He's got to be up to something...right?
The big problem with the movie becomes very clear in the middle portion: the movie has almost no gore, but lots of nudity.  For example, one of the women is apparently a nymphomaniac, which is always the sexiest kind of mental illness.  By the way, I have free space for your patients if you get full, guys!  She sneaks out- through the tiny door- and goes to find the gardener (not Joe Dallesandro), disrobing when she sees him.  They have sex, a bit that overshadows the fact that the masked killer decapitates a nurse!  All of this leads up to...well, nothing.  She hangs around for a bit, but only gets one major scene later.  The relationship between the nurse and Not Sade continues to develop with all of the subtlety you might expect.  What?  You don't think that most psychiatric hospitals have one-on-one massages done by the nurses, clad only in their underwear?  Okay, so they clearly don't!  The killer eventually picks up his pace a bit, going after one of the blond patients.  His killing method needs a little work, however.  He sneaks into her room and...puts his knife in her hand.  When she wakes up, she, shockingly, tries to attack him.  He struggles with her before stabbing her to death.  What did you think would happen?
Just as the story ramps up, the pointless nude scenes do as well.  Every time a woman is on-screen, she pretty much has to be at least topless.  In one weird scene, Not Sade and Not Magenta come out of the bathroom together and...start doing interpretive dance.  No, really.  This starts to escalate into something more, but, first, Not Sade goes to open the window...only to get shot by a crossbow bolt fired by the killer!  How do you plan for that?!?  Finally, after all of the deaths, the police get involved.  They discover that there is a drawer full of weapons that the killer has been using.  Not only that, but they are out in the hallway!  I have to ask this again: what kind of hospital are you running here?!?  The killer sneaks around for a bit as the police search for him.  It's at this time that we learn that Dr. Red Herring is not the killer.  What a twist!  Despite the police's boasting, he runs away from them, kills a couple of officers and makes it to one of the hospital's bedrooms.  Since these woman can do nothing but cower in the corner, they all get hacked to death (see below)!  Finally, the police come in and shoot the guy- he was nobody important- to death with about 100 bullets in true Sam Peckinpah-style!  The End.
Holy crap, this movie sucks!  The whole premise a lot of promise: a killer in a psychiatric hospital full of hot women.  How do you screw that up?!?  Well, the answer is simple: you make it all about the sex and not about the killing.  This movie is similar in style to many Franco films, just pressed through a blender into an attempt to ape Dario Argento's style.  None of the good comparisons hold up, but the bad ones sure do!  The plot meanders so much, even stopping to let all of the women have flashbacks to scenes we already saw!  Did the film just come in five minutes too short, so they added this shit?  For a film called Slaughter Hotel, (The) Cold Blooded Beast or The Man Who Kills in Cold Blood, it is an utter lie.  For a movie called Asylum Erotica, it's right on the money!  How about you be more honest, next time?  Is that too much to ask?
Up next, it's a rare DOUBLE Blockbuster Trash.  It's a showdown between two of the most dull horror films ever!  Stay tuned...


  1. I saw this a few years back and the only thing I can honestly remember about it is that I didn't like it. Sooo, yeah, that's my contribution to this little conversation.

  2. If it had a been like a normal Giallo film and included some of the dirty stuff as extra, it would be one thing. This movie decided to make the murder mystery part be the extra instead!