Tuesday, October 21, 2014

X-Ray, Barbi Benton Heats Up a Hospital

Barbi Benton, who got her start on "Hee Haw," first graced this blog with my entry of "Deathstalker" (see my review on March 3rd).  Ms. Benton appeared in many network TV shows, and in Playboy. Though never a Playmate, she did date Hugh Heffner.  With plenty of excuses to embark on the wild side, Ms. Benton married in 1979.  Today, she has been married to her husband for 35 years and has two children with him.  Today's entry might be her most risque role, 1982's "X-Ray" (aka "Hospital Massacre").  In this film, she has an elongated nude scene in which she is examined....groped, actually, by a doctor.  While filming this scene, quite a crowd assembled behind the camera.  Perhaps that heated up the set a bit, as if Ms. Benton needed any help with that.
The plot:  Susan (Benton) needs to pick up her test results from a previous physical exam at the hospital.  She is dressed in an alluring red business suit, with some high heels....as it happens to be Valentine's Day.  Here is the bad news, some evil fiend is at work in the hospital, determined to inflict a torturous death upon her.  Susan's appointment is with the very pretty Dr. Jacobs (Gay Austin), however our antagonist lures the unfortunate soul to the abandoned ninth floor and inflicts some angry carnage on her (see picture below).  When Susan arrives, someone has switched her test results with a patient who has a combination of Ebola and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  The opportunistic Dr. Saxon (John Warner Williams) reads the fraudulent medical file and orders Susan to strip, which she does with minimal apprehension.  This gives way for three of the most gratuitous minutes ever put on film in which Susan is probed.
As Susan is being "examined," our psycho is busy protecting his ninth floor lair.  A maintenance guy finds Jacobs' corpse, and then gets his head shoved in a sink full of acid.  Meanwhile, Dr. Saxon orders new blood work for Susan, however the nurses who do the tests are butchered, and the fiend substitutes results from diseased unfortunates, thus Susan is admitted.  By the way, this is quite a hospital.  Every patient is insane or in a full body cast.  One creep prowls the halls and shows up every time Susan is in a state of undress (much like the crew for this movie).  As more nurses and doctors are murdered, our monster is closing in our our naive damsel.  Whoever is keeping Susan in the hospital, has a diabolical plan for her which includes several surgical instruments and no anesthesia.  A back story lets us know that Susan humiliated a boy on Valentine's Day in 1961.....but who did this boy grow up to be?  An ex-husband, a materialistic boyfriend, weird doctors, nurses and patients are all suspects.
The ending is loud and fiery as Susan will have to go one on one with her tormentor.  Many will compare this film to "Halloween 2," as they hit the theaters at about the same time.  The John Carpenter name made H2 a bigger box office success, however, "X-Ray" may be the better movie.  Surgical saws, big knives, coat racks, acid, a big syringe, a stethoscope, and an ax are all used to deliver gushing gore.  Even after receiving her boyfriend's decapitated head in a hat box, Susan keeps it together in order to give our insaniac the fight of his putrid existence.  See Barbi Benton's most revealing film to get your fill of 80s slasher fare this Halloween season.

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