Adapted from a play co-written (with David Glass) by star Peta Lily, this murky, hard-to-follow melodrama is set in St. Caninus Hospital, a futuristic filthy hellhole stranded somewhere between Lindsay Anderson's Britannia Hospital and a DTV slasher picture like Mind Ripper. When a researcher is gruesomely murdered, the goofy Detective Stillskin (Philip Pellew), assigned to investigate, becomes obsessed with the dead doctor's colleague-lover (Lily) and degenerates into insanity as a catspaw of a bald master villain (Oleg Fedorov).
Much is made of the vivisection of dogs and rats, and there are lots
of 'significant' patches of unimpressive dialogue, plus a surprising
number of scenes in which characters are overcome by passions in filthy
medical surroundings. The acting style is uniformly ranting and director
Robert Golden works hard at cranking up the ominousness with red, blue
and green filters, claustrophobic institutional interiors, dollops of
surgical grue (the cop removing mind control implants from his mouth
and ears) and fairly seamy sexual content (Lily makes one victim beg
like a dog before reaching for the garden shears). An especially contrived
murder method involves the surgical insertion of a live poodle into
the chest cavity of an anaesthetised doctor, with a follow-up scene
in which the dog bursts out. Fedorov winds up crucified and cut in half
at the waist, but still gritting his teeth in comical agony. Pretentious,
unpleasant and dull.
First published in this form here.
All text on this page © Kim Newman