Visiting Hours Jean Claude Lord

If you want creepy, get Michael Ironside. Though it predates most of what we know him for (save Scanners), Visiting Hours finds the Canadian-born actor in his element as an obsessive, deranged psycho killer stalking an outspoken TV journalist. Given no real motive for his actions (well, besides the childhood trauma that led to his life of misogyny, bigotry and hate), Colt Hawker viciously attacks Deborah Ballin (Oscar winner Lee Grant) one night, failing to kill her and instead putting her in the hospital. Unsatisfied with her escape, Hawker begins a relentless pursuit that finds him assaulting as well as murdering those who get in the way of him finishing off his target. Though the idea of a psycho lurking around the hallways of a hospital might not seem an original one, it’s purely Ironside’s work as the impetuous, volatile killer that makes this low budget Canadian horror flick stand out amongst the rest of the like-minded slashers from the early ’80s. From his uncanny wardrobe down to the framed disgruntled letters on his apartment walls and his faux suicide attempt to get him into the hospital, this is easily one of the most frighteningly real villains to appear in the horror genre. A nice cameo by fellow Canuck William Shatner does little more than add some star power but Visiting Hours is well worth seeking out for Ironside’s haunting performance. It’s a shame a commentary featuring the veteran character actor wasn’t offered, or any special features for that matter. (Anchor Bay)