Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Dead Sleep, Linda Blair in Hospital Terror from Down Under

We haven't heard from the one-time Queen of the Exploitation genre, Linda Blair (See my review of "Savage Island" from April 22, or "The Chilling" from February 21) in awhile, so let's do so today.  1992's, Australian made "Dead Sleep" casts one of our favorite actresses as a perky and inquisitive Aussie nurse who finds herself in deep peril.  Perhaps a minor film, but over two decades after it's release, "Dead Sleep" is both nostalgic and interesting.  In Australia, this film is considered Ozploitation (a term for Australian exploitation), though much milder than the raunchy and hyper-sexual U.S. genre.  No longer a possessed pre-adolescent lass, Ms. Blair turns in a heroic performance as an idealistic angel in white.
The plot:  Arriving in Brisbane from Perth, Maggie (Blair) finds a job as a nurse in a private psychiatric hospital.  After surviving an interview with the head nurse (Christine Amor), who is a naughty nun, she is taken under the wing of "The White Knight of Australian Psychology," Dr. Hackett (Tony Bonner).  Hackett is suave, sophisticated, charming, and glib.  This is quite a contrast to her drug addicted main-squeeze who keeps stealing her rent money.  Hackett has pioneered "deep-sleep" therapy and claims it is 100% successful.  At first Maggie is impressed, but is unsettled to learn that it is merely electric-shock therapy done under sedation.  Our curious nurse then witnesses patients, who appeared to be improving, involuntarily given this new treatment.  The results are horrifying, as the patients have digressed into suicidal zombies.  With a bit of snooping Maggie finds out that scores of Hackett's patients have either committed suicide or died of "natural causes."
With suspicions aroused, Maggie takes her concerns to the government health administration...only to be summarily ignored.  When the deaths hit closer to home, many of the patients under her care, Maggie ramps up her investigation.  Alas, Hackett is more than a murderer, he also has a ward of buxom-vixens under deep-sedation therapy, which he uses as his sex slaves.  Not stupid, Hackett (pictured below) senses that Maggie is on to his game.  Knowing that he is above suspicion, the prestigious doctor plots a terrible fate for his favorite nurse.  
Will Maggie's idealism and persistence bring Hackett to justice?  ....or will Maggie be added to Hackett's cadre of zombie sex slaves?  The acting is superb, both by Ms. Blair and her nemesis, Mr. Bonner.  Though not often credited as being a terrific actress, Linda Blair has again turned in a fine performance as a vulnerable, but strong pretty nurse.  Available on Netflix, treat yourself to a fun, suspense-filled thriller from the land Down Under. 


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