Taking it's cues directly from the first hospital-based slasher of the '80s, HALLOWEEN II (1981), Schenkel opens with a '50s pop tune "Lollypop" by The Chordettes and introduces the audience to the psychological trauma that causes the ensuing rampage. On a dark and stormy night in the '50s, young Julian Matar, with lollypop in hand, witnesses a doctor stab his brother in the throat with a scalpel. Even though the scene plays out in front of our eyes, it's hard to tell whether this is an accident or on purpose. Never mind, it's really not important anyway, what is important is that it did happen, the song is on the radio and the same said confectionery is in hand.
|If Malcolm McDowell is involved|
things are bound to get a little messy
As the bodies start popping up, McCann ropes her most promising and jackasstic student doctor, Dr. Hendricks (James Remar), into investigating the murders. In short order they discover that the killer is a once promising surgeon who was fired three years prior for unauthorized experiments. The damnest thing is that after being fired, he plummeted out a window ending up paralyzed in a Colorado hospital (how he ended up in Colorado when it's made clear that the current hospital is in a different time zone is unclear). While being arrested for the murders, Dr. Matar (who now sports shoulder-length hair, so you know he's bad) flies into a berserker frenzy and escapes, only to be hit by a speeding ambulance. He is then taken to a prison hospital that apparently is running short of lightbulbs and must escape again while McCann and Hendricks do a little skinny dipping in the hospital pool. Of course, he returns hiding in the hospital picking off patients and doctors, one by one! Meh, well, sort of... There's plenty of filler to go around.
|The gift shop must have been well-stocked!|
One of my favorites scenes is, no, not the skinny dipping scene (complete with underwater camera), but the date scene in which our budding lovers, McCann and Hendricks, go on a sushi date at a restaurant called "Beluga's" which has a manatee aquarium taking up an entire wall. I can see the location scout giving himself a high-five when he found this place. Where EXQUISITE TENDERNESS really drops the ball is with it's raison d'etre: A whacked out nutball killin' folks in a hospital. Like HALLOWEEN II, screenplay re-writer Patrick Cirillo (who wrote the script based on one by Bernard Sloane, which I'm willing to bet was much better), seems to think that this is a high-brow horror film, so we will run through a few slasher conventions but hold off on the graphic violence. This was a trend in the '90s, partially due to the success of Scorsese's hugely overrated CAPE FEAR (1991) remake. Perhaps it was inevitable as the low-brow horror-comedies had run their course. Then again, Jack Valenti and his posse made it pointless to even try to introduce horror effects unless you were a friend of the Academy. Either way, the scares and shocks just aren't there, and what's a horror film without scares and shocks? ERNEST SCARED STUPID?
Excuse me, I think you dropped something...