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Monday, June 18, 2012

Day 170: The Surgeon

The Surgeon
Haw, haw!

Lots of people are afraid of hospitals and not without good reason. They're big, cold, sterile places filled with blood, guts, and dead bodies. There are all sorts of chemicals and machines keeping people from shuffling off this mortal coil. Then there's for-profit hospitals that make sure they bleed you dry before shoving you out the window when your insurance is all gone. It's natural that horror movies delve into hospitals and have a doctor as the monster.

The Surgeon (originally titled Exquisite Tenderness because they wanted to make sure no one watched this) is a 1995 horror movie starring Isabel Glasser (Forever Young, Law & Order) as Dr. Theresa McCann. Theresa is in conflict with Dr. Stein (Malcolm McDowell, Suck, Clockword Orange) who is using an experimental and highly dangerous treatment on patients. She fights to stop Stein, but is in luck when he is mysteriously murdered. It turns out that former surgeon Dr. Julian Mater (Sean Haberle), who was suspended for experimenting on dying patients with cellular regeneration, has returned to continue his experiments and gain revenge on those who wronged him. As a child, he saw a doctor murder his brother, so I guess he decided to go through years of law school and tons of student loans to kill a bunch of patients. Or something. Dr. Mater has been experimenting on himself and is able to heal himself at an incredible rate. Anyway, Theresa finds comfort in the arms of Dr. Ben Hendricks (James Remar, What Lies Beneath, The Girl Next Door) while Lt. McEllwaine (Peter Boyle, Everybody Loves Raymond, Young Frankenstein). Searches for Dr. Mater. Will they be able to stop him before the good doctor kills Theresa and perfects his insane experiments? 

Poor Young Frankenstein

When you have a movie about a killer surgeon, there's no need to make thins unnecessarily complicated. It's nice that they tried to make some sort of back story, but it's just far too muddled and pointless for a simple concept. Just show the surgeon killing people and a cop going after him. That's good enough. The Surgeon tries to inject romance, intrigue, and medical science, though I'm not sure how accurate the science is in this movie. All of that extra window dressing just drags the movie down, making it painfully boring to watch. The pacing for the movie is off and the far-fetched plot doesn't help move things along.

There is some action, but Sean Haberle is so hilariously over-the-top that I can't really be scared of him. He's at a Tommy Lee Jones in Batman Forever level of scene chewing. Isabel Glasser isn't much better. Malcolm McDowell was good, though barely in the movie. I read that he was paid a nice sum of money for a week's worth of work and didn't even see the movie. I can't blame him for that. Despite having a cast of seasoned actors, their performances aren't particularly good or memorable. Perhaps they just phoned it in for this silly movie or maybe they just couldn't overcome the bad dialogue. There is also some violence and blood in the movie, but not nearly as much as you'd expect from a movie called The Surgeon. It has some creative kills, but not nearly enough to keep the audience entertained.

I think he fell asleep in his own movie

The Surgeon is a nice flashback to the 1990's and brings to mind similar movies like The Dentist and Dr. Giggles, but just doesn't make for an entertaining watch. The plot is too silly, even for B-movie horror standards. The acting is surprisingly poor even though there are legitimate actors involved.. There is not enough violence and blood for a movie based on a killer surgeon. While it's fun to go back to a simpler time, The Surgeon isn't worth it.


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