Directed By: Fernando Di Leo
Starring: Klaus Kinski, Margaret Lee, Rosalba Neri
Tag line: "A Place Where Nothing Is Forbidden!"
Trivia: This film was also released as Asylum Erotica
Sometimes I find myself in the mood for a movie that will make me think, maybe challenge me with a complex story and deep message about the meaning of life. Then there are times I want to see hot, horny babes getting sliced to pieces, all under the watchful eye of that notorious rapscallion, Klaus Kinski. How lucky I am director Fernando Di Leo made his 1971 giallo, Slaughter Hotel. If he hadn't, this rather specific cinematic itch of mine would have been much harder to scratch.
A mysterious killer is murdering the residents of an all-girls mental institution, brutalizing them in gruesome fashion. Nobody knows who the killer is, though there are several suspects, including Dr. Francis Clay (Klaus Kinski), a physician who's been a bit distracted since learning Cheryl (Margaret Lee), a beautiful patient he’s fallen in love with, has been given a clean bill of health by the facility’s chief of staff, Professor Osterman (John Karlsen), and will soon be released. Can the culprit be found before he (or she) has the chance to kill again, or will more women fall victim to a maniac whose craving for blood seems insatiable?
Also known as Asylum Erotica, Slaughter Hotel is a fun film. At its most basic, the movie is pure exploitation, with plenty of gorgeous ladies shedding their clothes for no apparent reason. One particular patient is a nymphomaniac named Anne (Rosalba Neri), who sneaks out of the hospital one night to seduce the gardener (John Ely), then has sex with him in the greenhouse. But the good times aren’t reserved for the inmates alone; there's a nurse (Monica Strebel) who's attracted to a shy patient named Mara (Jane Garret), and let's just say her attentions don't go unrewarded. In truth, the violence in Slaughter Hotel isn’t nearly as plentiful as the nudity and sex, yet the gore we do see is effective. The first victim loses her head with the help of a scythe, and from there, the killer switches to a variety of weapons, from axes and knives to crossbows and even a mace, all with the same grisly effect.
Slaughter Hotel knows what its audience wants, and gives it to them in large doses. And yet, despite the film’s extreme nature, it manages to squeeze an interesting (though not exactly taut) little thriller into the mix. Who is the killer? Why is he / she murdering these women? For a film with so much blood and naked flesh, Slaughter Hotel also intrigued me to the point that I wanted these questions answered.