A visit to the doctor’s office always gets scary. You may feel extra healthy when making the appointment for a yearly physical. But sitting in the waiting room surrounded by sick people and Sports Illustrated magazines from 1986 makes the fear creep in that you’re not that well. Who knows what truly lurks inside your guts. A mild headache might be a tumor. Your worries cause your blood pressure to rise and then it’s all downhill. There’s almost a sense of relief when the doctor doesn’t ship you off to the hospice. Cannon Film Group understood that healthcare is a great place to scare movie audiences. Thus in their early years they produced two films that made people fear doctors and shrinks. Now they have been united and upgraded with a double feature of X-Ray & Schizoid in 4K UHD. By the end of these films, you’ll rip up your insurance card.
X-Ray (1983 – 89 minutes) starts innocent enough with a little boy leaving a Valentine’s Day card on a girl’s front door. She doesn’t appreciate the gesture so the young boy kills her brother. Flashforward 19 years to see that girl has grown up to be Barbi Benton (a frequent guest on The Love Boat and Fantasy Island). It’s once more Valentine’s Day except her love life isn’t going so well. She’s in the midst of a divorce. She arrives at the hospital to get the results of a routine physical. What she doesn’t know is that a psychopath is loose in the hospital and eager to make her life a living nightmare. No, this person doesn’t work for her insurance company or the hospital’s billing department. He just might be her old scorned lover out for even more revenge. The guy kills Barbi’s doctor and switches her results so she’s listed as a terminal case. But that’s not enough, he wants to play doctor and slice up Barbi. Can she survive her hospital stay or will the deductible be too much?
The tone of the film is very confusing since it seems bent on being more of a spoof of the slasher genre than playing it straight. Does X-Ray mean to lampoon Dario Argento? It’s hard not to laugh when the psycho inflates and deflates his surgical mask while stalking her. This is more like Young Doctors In Love than Halloween II. I enjoyed it, but more from a curiosity factor than a desire to be scared and shocked. Benton is rather fine as the victim of love. She’s got a good ’80s scream queen look as she dodges the scalpel. She’s best known for being Hugh Hefner’s girlfriend when he moved the Playboy empire to Los Angeles. She was often his date on the color version of Playboy After Dark. This film was also released as Hospital Massacre.
Schizoid (1980 – 89 minutes) scares us with a worst case scenario of mental healthcare. Women are being stalked down and killed by a scissor wielding psychopath. Their only connection is they take part in group therapy led by Klaus Kinski (For A Few Dollars More). What does it say about these women that they are seeking mental health help from Klaus Kinski? While the guy has a German accent, he doesn’t exude a helpful attitude. He’s creepy to the extreme even when attempting to appear innocent. He eyeballs his daughter (Angel‘s Donna Wilkes) getting ready for a shower. He needs therapy. How can he not be killing his patients deemed lost causes? Luckily there’s a few other suspects lurking around the ladies including Christopher Lloyd (Taxi and Back the Future). No matter who is the real killer, Klaus Kinski is guilty.
X-Ray & Schizoid contains two strange entries into the slasher genre courtesy of Cannon Films during the early years of Golan and Globus. X-Ray plays like an inadvertent spoof. Schizoid wants us to believe that Klaus Kinski isn’t insane. These are two severe examples of filmmakers craving a suspension of disbelief that might be impossible. Yet such a request makes them entertaining. X-Ray & Schizoid make for a fun twin bill to remind you to never visit a hospital or psychiatrist’s couch.
The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. Both films look great in their 4K UHD transfer. X-Ray is a bit darker and smokier thanks to the chase through deserted floors in the hospital. The audio is DTS-HD MA Stereo. There’s nothing too dynamic in these two films except when the score jerks the notes to scare the viewers.
Blu-ray contains everything on the 2 4K UHD discs.
Shooting by March (6:43) is a brand new interview with Schizoid writer/director David Paulsen. He wrote the script in two weeks and didn’t get paid much to direct it. He says the real budget was $350K. He had worked with Menahem Golan in Israel and was surprised to find Golan in Hollywood. Him and Globus just took over Cannon Films and needed a film in production by March that could star Klaus Kinski. He wrote the script by candle light because of a blackout.
Hide the Scissors (5:21) is a fresh interview with Schizoid actress Donna Wilkes. She landed the acting gig the night she was supposed to start a new waitress job. She was excited to work with Kinski even with the crazy rumors about him. She also talks about working with Christopher Lloyd.
Blood in the Jacuzzi (7:02) talks with Schizoid makeup artist Erica Ueland. She talks about shooting at Cannon films in their office building. She worked on BFI before coming to Hollywood. She had worked with the production manager before and he called her for this film.
A Wellesley Graduate (5:58) catches up with Schizoid actress Flo Lawrence. She talks about playing a posh school graduate who ends up working at a topless club. She said the script was called “Murder By Mail.” She isn’t sure if she saw the whole script, but her character didn’t make it to the end. She talks about David Paulsen’s Christmas party.
Ultra Violet Vengeance: The Talent & Technicians of X-Ray (26:47) is documentary featuring interviews with the cast and crew of X-Ray. They catch up with Nicholas Von Sternberg. He also shot Dolemite. They point out the director’s cameo.
Bad Medicine (13:01) is a vintage interview with X-Ray director Boaz Davidson. He was excited to make a scary movie since he hadn’t gone to this extreme before.
Original Trailer of Schizoid (1:39) is the red band version! There’s a bit of nudity.
Vinegar Syndrome presents X-Ray & Schizoid. Directed by Boaz Davidson & David Paulsen. Starring: Barbi Benton, Klaus Kinski, Donna Wilkes and Christopher Lloyd. Boxset Contents: 2 Films on two 4K UHD discs. Rated: R. Released: April 26, 2022.