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Stacie Ponder – Mad Doctors and Masked Psychos Roam Horror’s Ten Worst Hospitals

The winter season is finally upon us, my friends, which means it’s time for the holiday shopping nightmare, horrendous Christmas sweaters, snow shoveling, and, of course, flu season. Could this be the year a super virus wipes us out? According to the alarmist media, yes… yes it will be. Best get yourself a vaccination sooner rather than later, because the hospitals are going to be chock-a-block full of wheezy neo-Black Plague victims.

I’m thinking about getting the ol’ flu shot myself, not so much because I’m afraid of getting sick but because I simply don’t want to end up at a hospital. And not for the reasons you might think: I’ve seen enough horror movies to know hospitals are bad news. Whether meant for treating physical or mental illnesses, they’ve seen a lot of suffering, and all that evil juju is trapped inside, prime fodder for supernatural genre flicks. Not to mention the mad doctors and the masked psychos and the corpses in the basement… yeesh. Here are ten hospital horror flicks that will have you eating several apples a day.

Session 9 (2001)
team of hazmat workers sent to clean asbestos from a sprawling, defunct
mental hospital uncovers long-buried secrets with disastrous results.
One of the best horror movies of the last decade, Session 9 is stylish, smart, subtle and terrifying. It will haunt you long after the credits roll.

Anatomie (2000)
prestigious medical school is actually the headquarters of some evil
secret society that partakes in horrible experiments on people! Can
plucky student Paula (Franka Potente) stay alive long enough to solve
the mystery and graduate? OK, I’m being a bit cheeky here: Anatomie is a German movie modeled on American slasher flicks, but it’s a pretty entertaining, if overly-familiar, diversion.

Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)
Hellraiser II
picks up shortly after the end of the original movie, in which the
heroine is sent to a mental asylum following the death of her family.
Before long, the lamentation configuration is open again and the
Cenobites are on the loose. This sequel amps up the perversion and
destruction of Hellraiser to fanastically blood-soaked, gooey heights.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors (1987)

can’t decide whether this sequel is good, bad, or so bad it’s good.
Freddy Krueger stalks a mental hospital filled with a “kooky” patients
lumped together with no regard for their particular illnesses, one of
whom happens to be Jennifer Rubin. And people have the nerve to say Bad Dreams ripped it off!

Bad Dreams (1988)

cults, killers crossing from dreams into reality, a mental hospital
with a bunch of “kooky” patients lumped together with no regard to
their particular illnesses and Jennifer Rubin. Ahh, the ’80s!

Visiting Hours (1982)
slasher film set in a hospital! This time, it’s anchorwoman Deborah
Ballin who finds herself on the receiving end of too much attention
from a knife-wielding psycho. Though a bit more somber than most of its
genre brethren, Visiting Hours features William Shatner
eating ice cream and a supremely creepy Michael Ironside in a leather
tank top. Whether these will send you running to or from a copy of the
film is up to you!

Halloween II (1981)
Like Hellbound: Hellraiser II, the mack daddy of hospital horror movies begins where the first movie
leaves off. Laurie Strode is taken to Haddonfield Hospital to recover
from her Halloween-night trauma, but Michael Myers is still alive and
stalks the mostly-empty building, offing doctors, nurses, glass doors
and anyone or anything else that gets in his way. It’s more violent
than Halloween, and a worthy entry in the Myers saga.

The Possession of Nurse Sherri (aka Hospital of Terror, 1978)
Your enjoyment of this low-budget flick — hmm, maybe “tolerance
is a better word — will be directly in direct proportion to your
enjoyment of exploitation drive-in fare, because it was helmed by Al “Naughty Stewardesses
Adamson. Though it’s never truly as sleazy as you want it to be,
there’s some fun to be had watching the exploits of the possessed Nurse
Sherri as she stabs people and drops her top.

The Manitou (1978)
the mind of the late, great schlockmeister William Girdler comes a
movie that simply must be seen to be believed. A woman seeks medical
help when she develops a lump on her back… only this lump isn’t a
benign cyst or even a malignant tumor — it’s a fetus! It grows and
grows until a tiny Native American medicine man finally bursts forth
(yes, you read that right) — and then things get really weird. Like, Susan Strasberg sitting naked on a hospital bed that’s floating in outer space, shooting lasers out of her hands weird. The Manitou is just plain horribly awesome.

Don’t Look in the Basement (1973)
new nurse has just reported for work at this asylum; unfortunately for
her, the inmates are running the place. This low-budget cheesefest has
a quirky appeal that’s earned it a bit of a cult following, but I’m
looking forward to the forthcoming remake from outrageous indie
director Alan Rowe Kelly.

So remember kids, eat your vegetables, take your vitamins and get
plenty of rest, because you don’t want to end up needing an overnight
stay at your local hospital. The woman in the next bed could end up
spawning a little medicine man, and that’s not a mess you want to get
mixed up in. Trust me, I saw the movie!


When Stacie Ponder isn’t writing about horror movies here or at her own beloved blog Final Girl, she’s making them. Always, though, she leads a glamorous life, walking on the razor’s edge of danger and intrigue.

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