By Adam Ruhl
Scream Factory has done a brilliant job of releasing overlooked horror films on Blu-ray discs loaded with features. Many of these films are well known classics and cult favorites sporting special collector’s editions with original art on the cover. Scream Factory has also put out a wholly different but equally compelling type of release; one that again takes me back to the old independent video store horror shelf. This Blu-ray/DVD combo is a Scream Factory Double Feature with the films X-Ray and Schizoid, two films that to be honest I had never heard of and frankly had difficulty finding solid information about. Please forgive my ignorance if you are a hardcore fan of these titles as I will be assessing them as a first time viewer with a new find.
First up is X-Ray, though it has apparently had many names in its time such as Hospital Massacre and the pre-release title Be My Valentine or Else! This is one of the multitudes of holiday themed slasher pics to come out in the wake of Friday the 13th. The Valentine’s Day theme is a background element in the 1961 and 1980 portions of the film (though they had to be aware they had been beaten to the punch by My Bloody Valentine which may have prompted the more generic name change).
The film starts with a flashback to 1961; Susan is a young girl who rejects the valentine of young Harold. In retribution he hangs her BF in her living room. Cut to 1980 and Susan goes to the hospital for a routine checkup. Unbeknownst to her, Harold has tracked her down, dressed as a surgeon, and has begun slicing up hospital staff all around her.
X-Ray is a fun 80’s slasher film, full of bright red stage blood and partial nudity. Harold is an absurd, heavy mouth breathing killer. Hands down the best thing about this movie, more entertaining than the gore elements is this hospital Susan visits. It’s completely bizarre unless it’s David Lynch Memorial and at no point is any of the madness explained. It’s not a mental institute, but everyone occupying it is completely insane and we’re to believe that it’s a totally normal environment. It adds a lot of unintentional fun to the film.
Schizoid, has a more serious tone. Julie is an advice columnist who receives threatening letters that coincide with the stabbings of members of her support group. She suspects the letters come from someone close to her and the stabbings are related. This film also has an early film role of Christopher Lloyd, post- Cuckoo’s Nest but three years before he was a Klingon and five before Doc Brown.
The film has a fun 70’s horror sensibility with a soundtrack to match and a few clever moments. However, Schizoid takes itself more seriously than X-Ray and is slower paced which makes it the less fun of the two to watch. Also, Schizoid features a lot of Klaus Kinski kissing women which can get unpleasant. If watching these back to back I recommend starting with Schizoid and work up to X-Ray.
The Disc:X-Ray looks great, the transfer is probably the best this film ever looked. However it’s clear that there were camera problems on certain shots. Some shots have a dizzying frame giggle but it goes away when the shot changes.
Schizoid is transferred with the same care and it exposes some beautiful cinematography. Both features have very little bonus content, an interview each and Schizoids theatrical trailer.
- X-Ray: Interview with Director Boaz Davidson
- Schizoid: Interview with Actress Donna Wilkes and theatrical trailer
- 1080p Hi-Def widescreen 1.78:1
- DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo
- English-only Audio & Subtitles
- Original Release: X-ray 1983 / Schizoid 1980
- Runtime: X-ray 89 minutes / Schizoid 89 minutes
- X-ray Rated R / Schizoid Rated R
X-Ray: B / Standard slasher but crazy enough setting to hold interest and have some laughs.