I thought this would have been sort of obvious, but is it really a good idea for a mental hospital to have an assortment of weapons including battle axes, maces, swords and an iron maiden as part of the decor in the lounge where the patients and doctors hang out chatting and playing chess?
Then again, who could have predicted that a homicidal maniac would have interrupted all the psychological counseling that the gardener was giving the resident nymphomaniac?
And really, with bug-eyed hunk Klaus Kinski on staff, how could anyone have ever thought that things might spiral down into a scuzzy morass of nurse-patient lesbian sex scenes?
Director Fernando Di Leo (The Violent Breed) explains during the interview provided on the Shriek Show DVD that contrary to popular belief, Klaus was not only a pleasure to work with for the one week he was on the set, but was also a big tipper!
That Klaus rarely appears in the movie and then manages to mutter only a few lines, and make googly eyes at one of his patients (and if you’ve seen his eyes, you’ll know that it literally is “googly eyes” with him) can probably be chalked up to him appearing in at least seven other movies during the year (1971) that this movie came out.
Lovers of the ladies though are the chief beneficiaries of Klaus’s busy schedule because in his stead, you get a ton of really long scenes of crazy chicks doing the stuff that crazy chicks are known to do: roll around naked on their bed.
This points out the big problem with this movie. Though it is advertised as a sleazy slasher movie, it turns out to be a sleazy movie with a little slashing thrown in to break up the all-girl sponge baths and greenhouse grindings that go on in this clinic for the chronically horny.
Those of you checking this film out hoping for a giallo-style film where people get knocked off by some depraved maniac perpetrating a typically obtuse revenge scheme are going to be sorely disappointed as Slaughter Hotel barely bothers with the cursory trappings of the genre.
Some people do get bumped off, there is a black gloved killer and once the killer is revealed, so is the killer’s motive. The way it’s all handled though makes it painfully obvious that the killings are merely the backdrop for the skin flick that Di Leo obviously really wanted to make.
Initially, it’s all kind of amusing. When no one is killed in the first third of the movie, you have to laugh at the number of scenes where people are lusting after each other what with a nurse being assigned to take care of a patient and immediately assuming that this means beginning an interracial lesbian relationship, not to mention the nympho banging the gardener and Kinski’s patient hitting on him.
Suffice it to say, nothing of any great import goes on during all of this. There are some characters who make fleeting appearances by dropping off their hot to trot insane wives/girlfriends or visiting them, but they’re barely on screen long enough to even register. You do have a person in a dark cloak who periodically skulks here and there in the clinic, but nothing comes of this until later on in the movie.
When the killer finally whacka a nurse’s head off with a scythe, shoots gal with an arrow, dumps a guy in the iron maiden, and takes a few whacks at a patient with an axe, you’re wondering why this killer is interrupting your sex movie.
And you’re not wondering that because you want to get back to your sex movie so much as the killer is just slowing down the ending of the whole pointless affair. You see, Di Leo has this bad habit of letting his boring bedroom scenes go on way too long. There’s one sequence where this gal is taking a bath, then her nurse shows up to help her out, then after the bath she’s dancing around to her “native music” (it sounds a little bit like that music Pee Wee Herman dances to) then the nurse joins in, then they make out, and I’m figuring that if the killer was lingering anywhere around this, he or she probably dozed off.
Perhaps the folks putting the DVD together were likewise affected by this tedious scene since the soundtrack on the movie was completely botched once the killer finally strikes. Somehow, the dialogue from a few minutes later in the movie plays during one of the death scenes, thus ruining whatever minimal impact it might have had on an already sleepy audience, bludgeoned into semi-consciousness by the elevator porn music that accompanied the marathon bath/dance scene.
Everything is wrapped up in short order once the staff discovers all the dead people lying around. When the killer is unmasked and the motive revealed, it’s clear that all of this was just an afterthought and there was never any serious intent to have this be any sort of murder mystery. (Oddly enough, the movie’s most shocking outburst of violence occurs only after the killer is unmasked and is on the run from the cops.)
Slaughter Hotel is of interest only to those who like their early 1970s soft core porn interspersed with shots of chicks getting stabbed and slashed. Certainly as sleazy as it sounds, but quite disappointing in its almost complete neglect of its “killer on the loose” story line.
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