Exploitation Retrospect | The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media

Slaughter Hotel aka Asylum Erotica (1971)
Review by Dan Taylor

SLAUGHTER HOTEL starts off with a pre-credit sequence of a masked, axe-wielding killer stalking a nubile and scantily-clad Italian babe. Ahhh, but we quickly switch to a snazzy Italian sportscar zipping down the roadway with a leather-jacketed driver and a decked-out Italian babe as lots o' "Love American Style" music bomps in the background. As the babe grabs the steering wheel and attempts to crash the snazzy little sports number, Vito forces the car back into the proper lane and utters a line which sums up SLAUGHTER HOTEL: "Killing me is one thing, but why commit suicide?"

The SLAUGHTER HOTEL of the title is actually nothing of the sort. In actuality, it is a rest home (or "loony bin" as the suicidal Italian babe so quaintly refers to it) hence the alternative (and more appropriate) title of ASYLUM EROTICA. There, the staff, run by Klaus Kinski (yeah! Give me a "K!") as Dr. Francis Clay treats a number of afflicted and beautiful women: these include a buxom babe in love with her brother; a big-assed black chick who starts having lesbian flirtations with a red-headed nurse; a beautiful women who owns a company and whose hubbie is pressuring her to come back; and assorted other lovely chicks who cope with their mental disorders by playing croquet on the lawn all day.

I had forgotten just how whacked SLAUGHTER HOTEL was until the sequence involving Anne, the chick in love with her brother. First, when her brother visits, she reminds him of their early days of incestual lovemaking and responds to his accusations of mental illness by saying, "I'm not sick, I'm not like one of those loonies upstairs. I just want to make love... make love." Then she takes a hallucinogenic shower during which she bounces her busty body off the walls as echoing voices, uh, echo in the background! Now it's all starting to come back to me.

If you're wondering when the tempra paints are gonna start a' flowin' (after all, the box does advertise "the slasher massacre of eight innocent nurses"), don't worry. Things start getting bloody as a beautiful, buxom patient (does this place have any other kind?) gets knifed (though the camera cuts away as her panties get ripped-off); the chauffer gets shoved into the iron maiden; and the masked killer, in a fit of subtlety, begins wandering the halls of the hotel/asylum with a broadsword in hand.

The "killer" comes from your group of "usual suspects," with Klaus well-represented just because he's Klaus plus he's sleeping with the company-owning patient. That's our boy, taking advantage of the fragile emotional state of a mental patient. The ending is pretty obvious early on, with the 1980 film SCHIZOID being a credible remake/rip-off/homage. Sadly enough, Klaus doesn't have a whole lot to do here. Yes, he does get top billing, but mainly because he's the most recognizable name in the cast.

Certainly not an awful example of 70s Italian cinema, but this one has a lazy quality to it... in the hands of a more skillful director SLAUGHTER HOTEL might have been a taught little thriller. However, in the hands of Fernando DiLeo it proves to be nothing better than a tv-movie-of-the- week with a little Italian cheesecake tossed in. Must admit that the crossbow to the thorax is a pretty damn effective though.


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