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02.10.2017by: Jake Dee

Top 10 Horror Movie Hospitals!

Mark it down friends, early word swirling around Gore Verbinski's A CURE FOR WELLNESS is that it's one of the best genre joints to come out so far this year. Granted, it's early February, but still. The flick takes place at a remotely situated "wellness center" that slowly shows itself to be more sinister than previously let on. Of course, that made us think, what is it about hospitals that are so damn creepy?

We've explored dastardly medical horror in the past, what about hospitals themselves. So clean, so sterile, so blindingly white, true, but also a place meant to restore one's health, not degrade it. So when that fundamental trust is perverted in a horror film and the place of healing becomes a place of pain and horror, where else can one really turn for help? Nowhere! Dudes, dolls, do wise and (re)visit our Top 10 Horror Movie Hospitals!

#10. SHOCK CORRIDOR (1963)

We're going old school to set this sucker off the right way! How many of you have seen SHOCK CORRIDOR, perhaps the most menacing and messed up depiction of criminal insanity ever seen on celluloid? Granted, we could hark even further back to the demented days of DR. CALIGARI and DR. MABUSE, but if we're to cite the actual place of evil interment, SHOCK CORRIDOR reigns supreme! Written and directed by the great Sam Fuller, the story finds a journalist who feigns insanity in order to solve a mysterious murder in the local insane asylum. He badgers three whacked out witnesses who evaded the cops' interrogation, but the closer the reporter thinks he is to uncovering the truth, more bizarre shite begins to unfold. And you want shocking? This movie was made in a mere 10 days!

#9. THE MANITOU (1978)

Okay, so THE MANITOU isn't a very good movie, but the scenes taking place in the hospital - in which a giant tumor grows from the back of a woman into the malefic manifestation of a 400 year old evil Native American dwarf - are ones I've personally not been able to shake all these years after seeing them. No joke. Imagine you went in for a routine checkup, told over and over that you're going to be just fine, only to slowly find a horrific homunculus sprouting out of your spine? F*ck that! In what has since been declared a real life case of parasitic twin syndrome, in which one underdeveloped sibling relies totally on their more healthier half in order to survive. Real or not, the hospital in THE MANITOU is one I'd happily never lay eyes on ever again.

#8. COMA (1978)

How many of you have seen Michael Crichton's utterly unnerving 1978 film COMA? What a trip! I just happened to record this one off TCM the other night, popped it and was f*cking floored by the premise about a harrowing hospital that's been purposely inducing patient comas for nefarious "research" purposes. A young Michael Douglas stars in the film as a naysaying doctor and lover to Genevieve Bujold's character, who begins to uncover a deeply buried conspiracy within the hospital. With stark imagery, a creepy chase scene through what seems like a condemned hospital and a panicky musical score by the great Jerry Goldsmith, do wise and check yourself into COMA when you get the chance!

#7. SESSION 9 (2001)

Consider this one long sweeping nod to all the omitted mental asylums that couldn't make the grade (we'll likely devote an entire Top 10 to such a topic soon), as for now, we continue to bang the drum for the criminally slept on 2001 chiller SESSION 9. I love this movie, as I know John The Arrow Fallon does. While not quite featuring your typical hospital setting, writer/director Brad Anderson does one better with the real life location of an infamous mental asylum that'd been abandoned long prior. When an asbestos abatement crew is hired to clean the place up - a giant, sprawling mansion-like complex - a sinister spirit soon takes hold of one of the workers, which then sets off an extremely disturbing set of circumstances. See this movie twice!

#6. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS (1987)

The Westin Psychiatric Ward is where most of the action of DREAM WARRIORS takes place, the third entry and most superior A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET sequel to date. And Freddy has a motherf*cking field day up in here. Let us count the flays! Old Fred rips and shreds the bloody tendons from sleepwalking Phil, only to lure him up to the second story window and loft the dude down to his demise. Then he morphs into a nastily phallic, slithering snake that all but swallows Kristen whole. Nowhere near content, Freddy then summons a poor gal into walking right up to the television set, at which point Freddy pops out and smashes the gal's face right into the tube, bloody sparks commingle. Still not done however, how about those sharp hypodermic needles Fred replaces his finger-knives with? Sickness!

#5. HALLOWEEN II (1981)

Just when we thought a hottie-filled hottub would construe the hospital in HALLOWEEN II as one of the best around, here comes Mr. Murder himself - Michael Myers - to quickly put that notion to eternal sleep. Yup, he hot plunges the poor nurse's dome-piece under the scalding water until the flesh melts off of her face like a goddamn Dali painting. And that's just one stint of hospital horror in the flick. Myers cuts the phone lines, incapacitates the cars and then goes on an indiscriminant death march through the Haddonfield Memorial Hospital, brutally killing pretty much everyone in sight en route to finding his sister Laurie. Hell, Myers even manages to stick Loomis with a knife in an operating room before Laurie foils the f*cker and ignites his ass in a ball of flames!

#4. HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II (1988)

I remember happening to catch a random stint of HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II on cable as a kid late at night and thinking, well this is the craziest f*cking thing I've ever seen. I was convinced it wasn't even a movie but a semi-somnolent nightmare. Not so lucky. Seeing it again many years later I realized that yes, it is one of the gnarliest visual displays of messy macabre mayhem ever laid down, in large part thanks to the nasty surgical psych-ward old Pinhead and crew sadistically service. I mean, look at dude's bloody OR scrubs and his orderly's gore-sodden mouth-mask...Pin's a pro! As for the place itself? Who the hell would want to undergo treatment at a joint that has "I am in hell, please help me" scrawled in freshly let blood?

#3. DEAD RINGERS (1988)

Leave the only crossover film to grace both our Medical Horror and Horrific Hospitals list to DEAD RINGERS, David Cronenberg's masterstroke of invasive bodily terror. Said it before and will echo it here: this is my favorite Cronenberg flick of all. The performance Jeremy Irons gives as diametrically opposed twin gynecologists is nothing short of breathtaking, or life taking, if you consider the God complex he asserts with the power of his profession. While only half of the movie or so takes place in a hospital, the scenes are unforgettable, especially that display bench full of the most painfully sadistic medical tools ever constructed. F*ck that! Imagine being under sedation, coming to, only to find that suspicious cabal of red-cloaked "doctors" poking around in your junk. Say it with me...F*ck that!

#2. VISITING HOURS (1982)

Paging Dr. Ironside! Shite just sounds scary, does it not? Granted, VISITING HOURS isn't likely the best overall film on this here list, but if we're talking strictly about horrifying hospitals and the heinous happenings therein, come on now, the evil Ironside stays on call! Okay, so he isn't really a doctor per se, but instead a murderous misogynist named Colt Hawker (too good) who is out to finish the job when he learns one of his female victims miraculously survived his attack. She lives, gets transported to the "county general hospital", where the sick bastard tracks her down, waits patiently, and soon tries to inject the chick with a lethal dose no one could ever recover from.

#1. JACOB'S LADDER (1990)

Talk about inhospitable. F*ck me! The great cinematic mind-bender JACOB'S LADDER, while ultimately a surreal psychological dreamscape experienced by Tim Robbins' character, features no less than two highly horrific hospitals. Think about it. The first is the one in which Jacob has recurring hallucinations about, you know, the dim-lit corridors, the faceless syringe-dripping doctors, the gorily disfigured body parts strewn on the floor, the spastic bodily convulsions and disembodied patients...all of it. And if that wasn't harrowing enough, the final shot of the film reveals that Jacob was actually in a makeshift MASH unit medical tent, on his deathbed specifically, in which he witnesses all sorts of purgatorial, out of body hallucinations.

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