X-ray (UK 'Rank' video cover)
1 and a half stars   Cheese Rating: 75% Feirce Fondue!
"This movie will scare the life out of you!"
and "You have nothing to fear... until they operate!"

directed by: Boaz Davidson
starring: Barbi Benton, Chip Lucia, Jon Van Ness, John Warner Williams, Den Surles

(back of video blurb):

"A psychotic killer keeps a young girl trapped in a hospital, having fixed her X-Rays to make it look like she has a terminal illness. Everyone who comes into contact with the girl is brutally murdered."

choice dialogue:

"Isn't this the...hospital where they had all that trouble last year?"
"What trouble?"
"Some patient ran amok...or something!"

slash with panache?
       This Israeli lensed, but US set, movie is not exactly the CITIZEN CANE of slasher cinema, but neither does it (quite) plumb the depths of trash like SPLATTER UNIVERSITY. X-RAY is a mildly enjoyable- if hugely inept, entry into the hospital 'slice n' dice' sub-sub-genre.

       The film kicks off with a montage of x-rays (surprise!), whilst an updated Hitchcockesque score screeches in the background- although (believe me) that's the last time I'll be mentioning old Hitch again!...The action then cuts to "Susan's X-ray (full page Variety advert)House- 1961", where two kids; Blond haired moppet Susan (Elizabeth Hoy- who played one of the killer children in BLOODY BIRTHDAY (1980)) and her brother (who is wearing outrageous flares- was this a fashion in 1961?!), are happily playing with a train set. They are surrounded by Valentine's Day paraphernalia; pink hearts, red sashes and the like. Another kid sneaks up to the front door of the house and leaves a Valentine's card for Susan. When she finds it, both her and her brother succumb to a fit of merriment (and bad acting) when they discover who has sent it. Watching from outside is Harold, the object of derision, who stares at them with undisguised hatred. Susan then pops into the kitchen to carve them some cake, she hears scuffling coming from the other room and when she returns she discovers her brother impaled on a coat rack (!)- Harold gurning at her through the window....19 years later Susan (now grown into brunette Barbi Benton !), goes to the local hospital ,with her boyfriend, to pick up some routine test results- on Valentine'sIts the splatter that matters! Day. She tells him she will only be a few minutes. Whilst she wanders the corridors of the hospital in search of her doctor, peripheral characters are offed by a psycho in a surgical mask ,with a variety of medical equipment carried in his rubber gloved hands. It is soon clear that Susan is the prime object of his murderous intent and he swaps her test results to make sure she is admitted to the hospital and unable to escape the carnage. The assorted body parts soon start to pile up around her, but none of the (remaining) hospital staff and patients believe her hysterical tales of a psychotic doctor stalking the wards...

       Director Boaz Davidson also made LEMON POPSICLE 4 in the same year as X-RAY, and knowing that pretty much rules out the chances of this film being a class product! It also explains the inclusion of former Play-mate and country singer Benton- who bears (almost) all in a gratuitous examination scene where the doctor pays most attention to the areas around her pelvis and breasts- although how you would hear a heartbeat through a nipple I don't know! Surprisingly, and perhaps somewhat worryingly, Benton is the best actress in this thing- (although admittedly thespian qualities are not over-abundant in X-RAY), she is fairly believable as a hysterical victim amongst the sea of wood around her. If it weren't for the overwhelming ineptness of the production some scenes could have taken on a nightmarish quality; the bit where Benton rushes into a room pleading for help only to find that (presumably the killer) has wrapped everyone head to toe in a promo shot from X-RAYbandage (!) and where the killer who, holding out a white sheet and is menacingly silhouetted, pursues a female doctor down a darkened corridor. There is also some enjoyably oddball dialogue- my favourite being from one of the batty old crows who share the ward with Benton, who says of her: "All her bones are decaying and her organs are all rancid and her blood is malignant as slime..."- charming! The soundtrack is also a tad on the bizarre side, a mish-mash of FRIDAY THE 13TH and THE OMEN- and I swear I heard a didgeridoo in there somewhere too! The kills are fairly inventive but, with a few notable exceptions, the film is fairly light on gore- many taking place just out of view of the camera resulting in a 'tasteful' splash of blood. And you don't really care about anyone in this movie apart from Benton. People are just wheeled out every ten minutes or so to be disposed of with bone-saws and the like. Or worse wheeled out given a few minutes screen time (usually to provide a woefully half-hearted 'red herring'), and then just disappear. Quite frankly the character development in X-RAY makes the FRIDAY 13TH movies seem like the work of Ingmar Bergman!

       So, X-RAY is a slice of fairly pungent cheese and if watched accordingly is quite a lot of fun. Just don't expect many thrills or substance with the fondue.

BODYCOUNT 10  bodycount!   female:4 / male:6

       1) Little boy impaled on hatstand (!)
       2) Female stabbed to death
       3) Male has face submerged in acid
       4) Female stabbed to death
       5) Female strangled with stethoscope
       6) Male decapitated with bonesaw (off screen)
       7) Male has axe embedded in skull
       8) Female forced to have a lethal injection
       9) Male impaled on surgical saw (through throat)
     10) Male set on fire and falls from roof