Tuesday, July 11, 2006

VISITING HOURS

Anchor Bay has recently released the 1981 stalk n’ slash thriller VISITING HOURS, directed by Jean Claude Lord and starring Lee Grant, William Shatner, Linda Purl and Michael Ironside.

In this taut suspense flick, Lee Grant (THE SWARM) is a feminist television journalist who attracts the homicidal attentions of a woman-hating sociopath, chillingly played by Michael Ironside (STARSHIP TROOPERS, SCANNERS). He attacks her in her home, but she manages to barely survive his assault and is taken to a nearby hospital. Unfortunately, the killer is still after her… and the pretty young nurse that she befriends.

Lord’s direction follows more in the tradition of Hitchcock than Carpenter, emphasizing suspense and character over gory attack scenes, and the violence is relatively restrained, especially for the slasher-ific Eighties. That’s not to say that Ironside’s character doesn’t take out a few innocent bystanders in pursuit of his prey, though. The performances of the grown-up cast are uniformly good, with the legendary William Shatner wasted in – and forced to underplay – the thankless role of Grant’s producer and boyfriend.

Anchor Bay’s presentation of this better-than-average Canadian nail-biter includes a very sharp 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. The print shows its age somewhat, but overall it’s more than adequate, with bright, solid colors and good detail. The only extras are a handful of effective TV spots, a radio spot, and trailers for a few other Anchor Bay releases.

VISITING HOURS makes a suspenseful 105 minutes, and is definitely worth a rental, if only for Ironside’s disturbingly convincing portrayal of the psycho.

BUY: Visiting Hours