Slaughter Hotel

Slaughter Hotel

"I'm not one of those mad people who need you.
I just want to make love. Make love, that's all."

A renovated Medieval castle is now home to a clinic for lonely, mildly depressed women who spend their days playing croquet and their nights writhing naked in their beds half-asleep, flashing back to mundane moments of the past eight hours. Some of the patients include: Ruth (Gioia Desideri), whose husband unceremoniously drops her at the curb before speeding off, who compulsively twirls her hair; Cheryl (Margaret Lee) who, during her stay, has fallen in love with Doctor Frances Clay (Klaus Kinski); Anne (Rosalba Neri), a nymphomaniac who throws herself at the handsy gardener; Mara (Jane Garret), a troubled amnesiac who forms a special, close relationship with foxy ginger Nurse Ellen (Monica Strebel). Oh, and there's a killer murdering people.

Holy. Crap. This movie is crazy town banana pants.

It is...  I just...  There's no...  

What the Hell am I Watching?

Okay. Literally every single moment in this movie will have you asking "what the hell am I watching?" You'll have to pick your jaw up off the floor at the end and wonder if you didn't just experience some sort of manic fever dream. The camera work, score, and editing are completely unsubtle.  Every scene is just a little too long and the movie could have clocked in at under hour if they'd eliminated all the meaningless flashbacks. The story is non-existent – it's pretty much just soft-core porn, punctuated by a few murder scenes. The best I can do is summarize some key moments:

The castle itself is decorated with Medieval weapons and torture devices. Possibly not the most comforting, stress-free atmosphere for patients in a delicate emotional state. It is handy for the killer, though, who can stroll into the building, take his leisurely time selecting a weapon, kill someone, and then put the bloody weapon back in place before walking out the front door.

The main subplot of the movie is the relationship between Nurse Ellen and patient Mara. It starts out benign – Ellen takes a professional interest in Mara, gaining trust and becoming a friend to the troubled woman. Nothing odd there, it's all just part of the therapy. Later, Ellen gives Mara a massage (spending a conspicuously long time on the upper thighs). Just another part of her duties as a nurse. That night, Ellen walks in on Mara taking a bath, so she strips to her underwear, and gently daubs Mara's chestal area with a sponge. Again, it's part of the job. And she didn't want to get her uniform wet. After that, they go to the bedroom, dance to the radio, make out, get naked, and share some grownup time. That's where she may have crossed an ethical line.

In what is perhaps the most puzzling murder scene ever committed to film, the killer sneaks into Ruth's room while she sleeps, raises his dagger... and slips it into her hand before removing his mask. She then wakes up and sleepily lunges at him with the knife, but the killer disarms her and "chokes" her by cradling her head in his hands. He then plunges the knife into her heart and removes her underwear. End of scene.  What? Why go through all that? Why not just stab her?

If you've ever longed to see a scene that fuses elements of Silkwood and Flashdance, you're in luck. There's a moment where Anne cries in a hot shower while flinging herself dramatically against the walls. It's not so much "what am I watching?" as it is "why are they showing me this and why is it taking so long?"

Late at night, the asylum's chauffeur (by the way: this asylum has a chauffeur) sneaks into the lounge to finish the leftover drinks. It's a cute, funny moment.  For some reason, he then walks over to the iron maiden in the corner and opens it. Of course, the killer shoves him in and closes it shut, impaling the driver on the metal spikes inside. What in the world would compel him to walk over and open the thing in the first place?

There's a bizarre moment where Kinski walks head-first straight into the camera. 

The doctors at this clinic are as incompetent as most giallo police. When the police finally do arrive, though, they one-up the doctor's idiocy by concocting a plan to use Cheryl as bait to catch the killer.

This movie has the worst mystery I've ever seen. If you're paying any attention at all, you'll have no problem guessing the identity of the killer within ten minutes.

In the end, it takes 14 gunshots at extremely close range to take down the killer.

Most giallo sets are decorated with amateurish 1970's abstract art. The lobby of the clinic in Slaughter Hotel features three paintings by Joan MirĂ³. Go figure.

Fashion Moment

Oversexed Anne slinks around the hospital in this revealing little number:

Rumor has it that Rosalba Neri was cast specifically to fill out this outfit.

Also, the killer is bringing capes back.

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