• Slaughter Hotel

    Released by: Raro Video
    Released on: December 9th, 2014.
    Director: Fernando Di Leo
    Cast: Klaus Kinski, Rosalba Neri, Margaret Lee
    Year: 1971
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    The Movie:

    Written and directed by Fernando Di Leo, a man better known for his hard hitting crime films than horror pictures, 1971’s Slaughter Hotel (also known as Asylum Erotica and Cold-Blooded Beast) begins with a long lingering shot of a mental hospital in a remote countryside. The sun has set and we see a shadowy figure make his way towards and then into the building. As we prowl around we learn that this is actually a hospital for deranged woman and that puzzlingly, it’s full of medieval weapons and torture devices.

    The place is run by Professor Osterman (John Karlsen) but a doctor in his employ named Francis Clay (Klaus Kinski) seems more up to date on what’s going on. Locked away in the hospital are a few beautiful women – a nymphomaniac named Anne Palmieri (Rosalba Neri), a woman named Cheryl Hume (Margaret Lee) who has a thing with Clay and an extreme introvert named Mara (Jane Garrett). There’s also a lesbian nurse named Helen (Monica Stroebel), a randy gardener and… a killer, that shadowy figure we saw in the opening scene. After the first body is found those with the authority call in the cops but of course, the cops aren’t going to be much help. As the ladies all bump and grind, sometimes on their own, sometimes with a gardener and sometimes together, the bodies pile up… who will survive and who could possibly be the killer?

    Slaughter Hotel is a pretty ridiculous film, a picture ripe with plot holes and logic gaps, the kind of movie where an officiating doctor’s therapy to a nymphomaniac patient is to ‘go have a cold shower!’ If you’re able to turn off your brain and enjoy this one for the sleazy slice of entertainment that it is, however, the movie is a lot of fun. The female cast members, each and every one just as fetching as the next, are frequently in states of undress and some involved in some fairly explicit scenes of self-gratification (though it would seem that body doubles were used for the spread eagle/wide-open hoo-haw close up shots!) – always fun to watch, right? There’s a good amount of nasty violence here too, be it a slow, lingering and completely misogynist moment in which our mysterious killer rubs a bloody axe slowly down the naked torso of a patient to then pull down her knickers or one of a few gory slasher-style murder set pieces.

    As far as the cast go, Neri steals the show. She gets a lot of screen time here and she really smolders on screen. Margaret Lee is fun to watch here too, as are the rest of the ladies. They all over act throughout the movie but it’s hard to say how much of that is their fault versus how much of that is due to the dubbing. Speaking of dubbing, Klaus Kinski gets a good roll here too, wandering the halls looking as pompous as pompous can be, but he’s dubbed by someone with a really inappropriate voice in the English version and an only slightly less inappropriate voice in the Italian version. It’s fun to watch him strut around in that way that only Klaus Kinski could.

    Ultimately, this isn’t much of a giallo in that it doesn’t offer up a whole lot of mystery or suspense, but it’s a fun and stylish mix of awesome sex and violence, a cool cast, a bizarre central location and some creative kills.


    Raro debuts Slaughter Hotel on Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 2.35.1 widescreen transfer in 1080p high definition. There have been more than a few recent Raro releases that were slathered in noise reduction obliterating pretty much all the fine detail from whatever elements were used. Thankfully, while there is still some noise reduction present, it’s not nearly as gregarious as what we’ve seen on releases like Meet Him And Die. It’s there, but it’s minor, as is the edge enhancement that creeps into the picture from time to time. Colors look excellent throughout and skin tones are nice and warm, never too pink. Black levels are nice and solid here as well though some minor compression artifacts do pop up here and there and some instances of macroblocking were noticed (visible in some of the caps below). This is one of those instances where the movie tends to look better in motion than in the images but overall, this isn’t a bad transfer and a noticeable improvement from the previous DVD releases of the film.

    EDIT 12-6-15 - it would seem that different people are seeing different things happen with the picture quality on this disc depending on what they're watching it on. For a bit more detail on that and some screen caps to better explain the situation, check out this thread on our forum here.

    Audio options are offered in both English and Italian with optional English subtitles provided, and both tracks are presented in DTS-HD 2.0 Mono. In regards to the English track, there are what at first appear to be some audio ‘drop outs’ but Raro has issues this info on their Facebook page:

    “Regarding this matter this was an editorial decision, not a mistake: the longer exclusive uncut version of this movie, that we have released, has no audio in some very short segments of the English dubbed version-not due to a technical problem, but because we used a master that had scenes that were never used in previous releases and/or screenings. We, at Raro, decided to add some of these parts as extras in the special features. But, in order to give you access to this rare and longer uncut version, we left some short silent scenes in the English dubbed version.

    You can always view the original Italian version with subtitles, if you wish, where the same scenes have the original Italian audio.”

    So, with that in mind, how does the actually quality of the audio shape up? It’s fine, for the most part. There are one or two spots where you can hear a bit of hiss both otherwise both options are clean, clear and well balanced. The score has a bit of depth and the effects are mixed nicely alongside the music and dialogue, there are never any problems understanding the performers. The subtitles (which do not replicate the English track meaning that they are subtitles and not just dubtitles) are clean, clear and easy to read.

    The main extras on the disc come in the form of two featurettes, the first being a piece called Lady Frankenstein’s Memories runs about twenty minutes and it’s a talk with leading lady Rosalba Neri about how she got into acting, some of the roles for which she’s known for, her thoughts on doing nude scenes in films. It’s a nice look back at her career, she’s quite charming and talkative here. The second featurette (which will play directly after the first one if you select it) is a fifteen minutes piece called Asylum Of Erotica that brings Neri back in front of the camera along with director Fernando Di Leo and composer Silvano Spadaccino to talk more specifically about the making of Slaughter Hotel. Here they discuss the rushed schedule, the influence that the film has had and a fair bit more. These were originally included on Raro’s PAL format Region 2 DVD release that came out in Italy back in 2005.

    We also get just over two minutes worth of deleted scenes here, none of which have any live sound. Most of it’s fairly inconsequential but hey, bonus nudity is always a good thing and it’s nice to see stuff like this included whenever possible. Menus and chapter stops are also included, as is an insert booklet containing some liner notes from Fangoria’s Chris Alexander. A cardboard slip cover featuring some alternate artwork is also included but although the packaging lists a theatrical trailer amongst the extra features, it’s nowhere to be found on the disc itself.

    The Final Word:

    Slaughter Hotel isn’t a top tier giallo but it is relentlessly entertaining picture that doubles down on sex and violence and which features some slick camerawork, a great central location and a fun cast. It’s probably not the movie Di Leo would want to be remembered for nor is it one of his better films, but it’s definitely a fun watch and Raro’s Blu-ray presents it uncut and in high definition for the first time with a few solid extras too.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 8 Comments
    1. John Bernhard's Avatar
      John Bernhard -
      Ian, are you familair with the film enough to be able to tell if Raro got all the uncovered footage with Rosalba Neri missing from their DVD & Shriek Show's? The scenes that had the milder takes were the greenhouse seduction and the Neri's final scene in bed. Glad to hear it's not DNR'd to death...the caps look nice.I am turning blue waiting for my copy to ship from Diabolik.
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      I don't have an alternate version outside of the old Shriek Show disc to compare it to but Rosalba's bit in bed towards the end is pretty graphic, more so than I remember it being.
    1. John Bernhard's Avatar
      John Bernhard -
      Thanks Ian. That sounds very positve. My gut tells me they got this one right. The other scene in the greenhouse with Neri is really obvious to spot. The tamer one flash cuts back and forth as she disrobes, the stronger version does not cut and follows her as she advances to the camera. It sounds like they did not stick the French inserts into the film ( ala the SS DVD ) and put them in the extras where they belong.
      C'mon Diabolik, please ship this to me soon
    1. John Bernhard's Avatar
      John Bernhard -
      My copy showed today & I took a quick look. Hmmmmmmm.......my gut lied. So hardcore fans are gonna be grumbly about this ( I am less than pleased at least ). Very much a mixed bag & not definitive.The stronger Neri footage is included, which is the good news.The less than good news is that the 'digits do the walking' footage in the Neri scene is in here. Pay attention to Neri's appendectomy scar, it's not there in the more graphic footage. The Strebel 'digits do the walking' footage is here as well, although unlike the Neri footage, I'm inclined to think this is really her. Ot she lent the stunt finger her green ring. Both scenes are from the French version ( or at least that's the only place they appeared prior to the Shriek Show disc ). I wish they were not in there, not really believing the film should have labia in these scenes ( stunt lips or not ). But maybe they should be, I dunno.What I do know is they blew it as far as fixing the crossbow sequence that had the audio glitch on the Shriek Show disc ( where incorrect audio was heard over it ). The Raro BD gives us 75 long seconds of dead silence during one of the big set pieces. Obviously their English track is missing this 75-80 seconds, but it is intact on the old Gorgon VHS, and could have been patched from there. Or at least they could have patched using the Italian track, there is only 1 line of dialog in this section which could have subbed. Either option would be far, far preferable to what we have on this BD. Their FB post is misleading ( imho ), they mention short drops but not almost a minute & a half.There are some brief 1 second drop outs around the reinstated Neri footage, which I understand, but the crossbow deal is very disappointing.Visually this is pretty awesome, & the film is ultra sleazy ( some scenes appear to have been filmed by Uncle Jess there is so much loin zooming going on ). But anyone hoping for a definitive release shares my first world problem.
    1. Recoil's Avatar
      Recoil -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bernhard View Post
      My copy showed today & I took a quick look
      So this BD has the most complete version of the film (same as the French DVD), or is something still missing (apart from some english audio)?
    1. John Bernhard's Avatar
      John Bernhard -
      Not clear yet. It's been noted that the BD runs 94:07 and the SS DDVD runs almost 2 min longer @ 95:56 min. Something is going on there, need to do a full on 2 monitor side by side playback later this weekend. The English audio track has an additional big drop Along with the 'crossbow' dropout, there's another 30 sec drop in a dream sequence @ 43:40 - 44:10. This also could have easily been patched with the Italian track as there is no dialog. Details still emerging
    1. John Bernhard's Avatar
      John Bernhard -
      More image questions. So the 9th cap in this review shows some pixelation on the woman in bed shot, and is not on my BD. And DVD Beaver has posted a negative review and has at least 2 bogus caps that look awful ( colors & digital noise ), wondering if Beaver got a defective pressing? Does your disc look like this Ian?....it's the same scene as the 9th cap so it made me wonder if bad copies might be involved.
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      I'm going to take this out of the comments section into the SH thread in the Eurocult board (to keep it more search Engine friendly). http://www.rockshockpop.com/forums/s...laughter+hotel
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