Director. Jean-Claude Lord
Starring: Michael Ironside, Lee Grant, Linda Purl, William Shatner, Lenore Zann
So frightening you’ll never recover
Colt Hawker is a disturbed guy who gets obsessed with a strong and outspoken TV host named Deborah Ballin who are very loud about equal rights for females and anti-violence. He breaks into her house and fails to kill her off, but manages to hospitalize her. He can’t let her go and spends every minute trying to get into the hospital to finish her off.
Visiting Hours seems like a big studio attempt to join in on the success that Halloween, Friday the 13th and the others had in the very early 80’s. Visiting Hours got several experiences actors and a budget high above the average serial killer movie at that time.
What’s great about this movie is that it’s got such intensity in the scenes where Colt is terrorizing his victims. It starts off great, but gets a little lost in the middle of the movie. Running at a little over 100 minutes it could have benefited from having a tighter script or cut down the length. The dialogue and choices some of the characters does is frankly stupid.
Lee Grant (The Spell, Thou Shalt Not Kill) plays Deborah Ballin and is mostly in the hospital or running from Colt. Since she is a victim in 90% of the movie, the filmmakers made a smart choice of adding young and pretty nurse Sheila into the mix. Sheila is played by Linda Purl (Crazy Mama, Dark Mansions) and is a very sympathetic girl who is perfect as a heroine in a movie like this.
Michael Ironside is absolutely fantastic as Colt. Just his looks alone is intimidating and he really lives up to the part. It’s no wonder that he is mostly cast as a sadistic bad guy in most of his movie career. We get to see some parts of Colt’s disturbing childhood and how he developed his hatred for women. It’s an interesting character and works very well. He actually only has about to-three lines of dialogue in this and he doesn’t need anymore than that to deliver a great performance and perhaps the best performance I’ve seen him do so far. William Shatner is credited as one of the stars, but his role as Deborah’s boss is a small one.
Director Jean-Claude Lord did mostly TV work after this. His few other movies, except The Vindicator, is unknown for me. What he did with this movie should be enough for him to get more work, so it sucks that he didn’t do even more thrilling movies.
Visiting Hours is a wonderful, intelligent and intense film with great acting and lots of suspense and fun. If you want to see a more realistic serial killer movie than the Freddy’s and Jason’s then Visiting Hours is a good choice.