The Plot: In a sanitarium for wealthy women needing a break from their intense schedule (or just for those who have lost their sanity), we are introduced to Dr. Francis Clay (Klaus Kinski) who is the leading psychologist in charge of these women. However, there is something dark at work inside of this sanitarium, as we discover there is a killer haunting the hallways. Each of the women all have their own personal demons to deal with as well. With one woman being a serious nympho, another having had a nervous breakdown from looking over her own company and one woman suffering from amnesia. Not only will these women be pushed to the edges of their own limited sanity, but so will everyone else in this hospital as the killer starts stalking them one by one. Who could it be however and why would this person choose to pick on these helpless women?

The Review
The first thing that actually put Slaughter Hotel in my mind as a film to check out was a still photo from a scene that actually comes from much later in the film than I had expected. It was a photo of several women massacred with blood splattered all over the wall around them, pretty shocking stuff to say the least. This image of such brutal carnage struck me dumbfounded, that I had never even heard of the movie was just another kick to the solar plexus. Although the Giallo is known for its violence, rarely does it appear so cruel and barbaric as that one screen capture appeared to me. So, following that revelation, I did my research like every good little film geek would and It turned out that Klaus Kinski also had a major role in the movie. Not only that, Fernando Di Leo also directed? How could I go wrong!? Fernando Di Leo, for those unaware of the director, is a very well known Italian filmmaker who really found his niche in the Polizia film genre (Italian hard boiled detective/action flicks) and is generally thought to be one of the best unsung heroes of Italian seventies cinema. All in all, Slaughter Hotel was getting a lot of hype inside of my head because it had all the makings of something truly amazing. Unfortunately, as things so often are, the fantasy turns out better than the reality. Slaughter Hotel isn’t necessarily the worst Giallo I’ve ever seen, but it doesn’t come anywhere near topping any list of “bests” to be sure. It’s a movie that survives solely on the T&A provided by our buxom leading ladies, and although that in itself is very nice – the fact that there isn’t much more to this film is pretty disappointing.

Well, I don’t want to discredit myself too much. It’s not that I am primarily disappointed with Slaughter Hotel simply because really great people worked on it. Truthfully, a no name director could have been behind the lens for this flick and it still would have received the rating that it does. Although Di Leo isn’t so well known for a tremendous visual flair or striking use of symbolism, you can usually count on him for delivering a cohesive story in his movies. If not densely plotted, the pacing is usually just right and he manages to keep you engaged. There’s at least something to chew on between scenes of excess or bits of action within his Eurocrime stories. Slaughter Hotel however turns out as a tour of sexual excess, which unfortunately doesn’t come across half as interesting as it might sound. That is unless you just have a thing for nudity in movies and simply want to see some really pretty Italian girls get naked. I mean, If there’s anything this movie has it’s a ton of love scenes. Just sexual rendezvous after rendezvous, until the killer finally snaps and starts his homicidal rampage… which is really too little, too late. Not that I’m really the kind of guy who craves death or violence in horror movies, but the waiting that we as an audience have to do until we’re given our eventual massacre is a pretty tremendous task as the film ultimately denigrates into a series of sexual encounters not unlike a softcore porn movie. We’re even given a pretty graphic masturbation sequence featuring one of our leading ladies! There’s also the requisite lesbian sequence between one of the nurses and a patient, all while we hold on in anticipation for our killer to get his bearings and start his wholesale slaughter. Then, when we do finally get to see some red start to show it’s all relatively tame stuff. Even the sequence I described above, that I was only privy to due to a small screen capture, even that sequence is relatively tame in it execution. This wouldn’t really be that big of a deal if the movie attempted to be a respectable horror or giallo, but unfortunately it didn’t. It went for sleazy, but skimped on the violence.

So, after all this crying, I will say that Slaughter Hotel does have it’s positives. Although the violence takes forever to finally show up, the movie is short and the sex scenes keep the movie moving alone – even if it all does come across as repetitive. So, the pacing is there and it’s almost impossible to be ‘bored’ when a film features beautiful women like Rosalba Neri running around so very naked. Not to be a total misogynist, but I’m a red blooded hetero male – and I can appreciate a beautiful woman. Although I don’t like to put women up against one another on looks alone rather than acting talent, but I’m afraid a movie like Slaughter Hotel draws it right out of anyone – so I’ll pick a favorite starlet from the film: Monica Strebel. The redheaded nurse character who spends the better part of the film trying to seduce the African woman who has lost her memory, she really made an impression on me. She’s almost never mentioned when people talk about this film, and maybe I’m crazy for digging her look so very hard, but her red hair really did things for me here. It’s a mix between her beautiful red hair, the light complexion of her skin and her deeply feminine features. You can see for yourself in the picture above, it’s hard to miss her because of that hair. She’s truly something to behold here, forever preserved as a work of beauty. As are all of the women though, since there’s not a female on display here who could even be called “decent” looking. All the harder to believe they are your average mentally crippled women, rich or not. Aside from the girls, I’m at a loss for what else I could recommend. Normally, Klaus Kinski would be a no brainer if he’s listed in the credits but unfortunately Klaus is so very dull here. He’s essentially given nothing to work with. He’s there, he’s a doctor, he says a few lines and he collects a check. However, in the English dubbed version of the film his performance becomes slightly more interesting because the gentleman who does his voice sounds nothing like the man. So at least there’s a moment worth of humor upon that realization! Still, no matter what I think the major selling point even to this day for the movie is the beautiful women brought on board to show off their goods.

The Conclusion
Slaughter Hotel, which is a pretty awful title in comparison to the translation from Italian which is “The Beast Who Kills in Cold Blood”, it can’t really be held against the filmmaker I do not believe. Even Di Leo himself thinks fairly little of the movie, and counts it among his lesser work. A movie made to cash in on some quick sleaze, it isn’t necessary viewing but if you like your giallos sexy then perhaps it will hold some worth for you. I give the film a two out of five, as I personally look for a little story to go along with my trash.

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