on 8 April 2015
This is not a review for the films, but to be of help to prospective UK buyers, If you are looking to purchase this, but are not region A compatible, fear not, I have checked the Blu-Ray disc and can confirm it is REGION FREE (No top menu trick required here), it's fully region free, so will play on ANY UK Blu-ray player.
on 16 March 2015
Yet another great release from Shout Factory, this double feature blu-ray/dvd combo has two obscure slasher films from the early 80's. I would say that they were definitely worth checking out especially X-ray which I thought was a fun little hospital based slasher flick. 1982’s X-Ray was a fun and delightfully gory little slasher that should at least have minor appeal to fans of gloriously cheesy ‘80s stalk-and-slash fare. While Schizoid was slightly boring. Barbi Benton was quite the busy, busty Playmate in the ‘70s. Primarily known for her television work, X-Ray was one of only a handful of films she starred in during her career. Here she plays Susan Jeremy, a woman who visits her local hospital for a routine checkup required for a new job. But someone in the hospital has other plans for Susan! A someone who, 19 years earlier, she had scorned when he professed his unrequited love for her. He also killed a fellow child at the time, but apparently the police were really bad at their jobs back then, so he was never caught. Anyway, Susan’s results are faked to show she has a serious illness, leading another physician to strongly recommend she stay the night for further tests. As expected, the killer stalks the hallways of the most abandoned hospital seen on film since Halloween II (1981), brutally killing nurses, patients, and doctors alike with some nasty surgical implements.
X-Ray or Hospital Massacre (which was it's original title) is your typical slasher flick, the premise is nothing special, playing sort of like a mash-up of the hospital-bound Halloween 2 and My Bloody Valentine. However X-Ray's ghoulish, campy, carnivalesque atmosphere certainly sets it apart from the rest of the lot. With goofy gags like a burger overflowing with ketchup and a knife that hovers in the air before carving, it even has that girl from Bloody Birthday which I thought was awesome. While the film wasn't a total gorefest it still had a few bloody scenes, and some of the death scenes were a bit gory. The hospital backdrop opens itself up for some gleefully twisted and frequently medical-themed kills and I really loved the score. Every doctor employed here acts like a creep, and every nurse treats Susan like a mental patient who missed her morning dose of pills. Among the small cast of characters is a hospital drunk – a clear red herring – who stumbles around with bottle in hand, while nurses shrug off his antics and remind him to return to his room. As far as extras there was an interview with director Boaz Davidson and thats about it. Shout’s 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC-encoded 1.78:1 widescreen Blu-ray (and 16:9 DVD) features the original X-RAY title card (the theatrical prints reportedly had HOSPITAL MASSACRE spliced in and the MGM VHS had a video burn title card). The new transfer is spotless and handles the hazy ninth floor scenes well and even adds a degree of gloss to the physical exam scene that makes it a shade less sleazy. The mono track – DTS-HD 2.0 on the Blu and Dolby Digital 2.0 on the DVD – is in fine condition.
Schizoid, on the other hand was a different type of film. This 1980's thriller is paired up with a slasher, but in reality this film plays more like a giallo. Killer wears black gloves (nice nod to Argento)? Check. Red herrings a-plenty? Check. Overly-complicated plot? Sadly, no. This one is mostly mundane. Klaus Kinski – don’t get too excited, he isn’t playing crazy here – is Dr. Fales, a therapist who oversees a group of patients. One by one, the members of the group are being killed. Julie (Marianna Hill), a member of the group, has been receiving threatening letters at her office, where she works as an advice columnist for the local paper. What follows is a slow game of stalk-and-kill, and Julie has to figure out who’s behind it all before she’s next! While I couldn't say that I disliked the film, I still felt disappointed at it's slow pacing. But it was still an interesting thriller with a few nice moments, I especially liked the suspenseful and intense ending. Overall, if you like obscure, nonsensical ‘80s slasher films, then this double feature comes highly recommended. Extras for Schizoid include the film’s trailer as well as an interview with actress Donna Wilkes. Schizoid’s 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC-encoded 1.78:1 transfer comes from a film element that is clean but does not seem to have had any additional digital cleanup going by the single instance of vertical scratching that appears late in the film. No complaints about the mono track.