"Autopsy" A Movie with Guts but No Heart


"Autopsy" was apart of the After Dark Horror Fest 3 which was a collection of eight movies released in 2009.  Keeping with my current theme of movies featuring insane doctors and medical madness, "Autopsy" fits the bill with mixed results.  With an extremely simplistic plot and generic characters, all the movie has to offer is shock value.  Most of it is pretty creative and gross but still unable to support any sort of story.

A group of college kids are partying at Mardi Gras having a fun time, but when they get back on the road to wherever they're going next they accidentally hit a man in a hospital gown who comes running out of the woods.  A few moments of panicked arguing and finding out their cell phones can't get any reception an ambulance shows up out of nowhere.  Hesitant at first but the paramedics take the kids back to an eerily empty Mercy Hospital to get checked out.  An older nurse runs the show up front as Dr. Benway takes care of thing behind closed doors.

In typical horror movie fashion, they are quickly split up, some just wander off to explore the dark and spooky building, while others are taken by the orderly to be fodder for the doctor's experiments.  Emily is the girl we follow the most and will undoubtedly be the final girl who will have to fight for her life against the doctor and other crazies.  When things start to go bad Emily is able to call for help and a lone police officer shows up.  It's no surprise that he doesn't last more than a few scenes before he is taken out.

The character of Dr. Benway is pretty weak and uninspired for being the main bad guy.  He is not scary, threatening, or all that interesting.  He has a very thin and clichéd backstory and most it leads up to a few shocking gore filled scenes at the end.  The gore and effects as I have said are pretty good, but this is a strictly by the numbers horror film that will drift off into obscurity.  One final note for those interested the film was scored by Joseph Bishara, who has most recently done the two "Insidious" movies.

"Pathology" is Another Medical Misfire


"Pathology" is another med school horror flick like the previously reviewed "Anatomy", except Americanized and in English.  Before the credits, a title card displays the Hippocratic Oath, then brings us into the life of young Dr. Ted Gray, played by Milo Ventamiglia".  An extremely smart robot, I mean human, who graduated from Harvard medical school and just got back from a Unicef tour in Africa. 

Pathology is the study of the cause and effects of the disease.  Figuring out what killed a person and why.  Ted accepts a position at a prestigious pathology program and must once again leave his fiancé for a long period of time, which she seems pretty okay with.  Ted is introduced to the other students who amount to the cool kids at any high school.  A tight-knit group of immature cocky kids who try to outdo each other at everything.  Early on we get a big dose of dissected corpses and gross-out jokes, but Ted seems to be taking the high road (at first anyway).  He is ethical in the treatment of the cadavers and shows up a lot of the other students with his far-out theories of how certain people were killed.

Ted's loneliness finally gets the better of him and he finally joins the ranks of the "cool" kids and they introduce him to their secret game.  Each of the students has to try to commit the perfect murder.  While the others must find out how it was pulled off.  Needless to say, the story and so-called plot are absolutely absurd.  Not to mention the added spiciness of several sex scenes, although not with any of the dead people (darn).  Although sometimes done in the same room as dead people.  Mmmm it must smell good in there, sexy.

Ted is not the good guy and hero he is originally made out to be as he is easily seduced into violating  When things really start to get serious and his life and career are in jeopardy he goes to extremes to protect himself and then some.  Just like life though nobody is perfect and to protect a way of life or an image some will go to extreme lengths.
his ethics and morality for a few cheap thrills.

"Pathology" is not a good movie but it has a bunch of sexy people doing sexy things with a dash of gore. If that's all your looking for then by all mean watch it, but know you have been warned.

"Dr. Giggles" Early 90's Horror Dies on the Table


Laughter is the best medicine in this early 90s horror film.  "Dr. Giggles" is like an updated '50s style mad scientist B-movie.  Larry Drake of "Darkman" fame plays Dr. Evan Rendell a sort of third-rate Freddy Krueger who spouts off cheesy one-liners at every opportunity.  

Dr. Rendell escapes from the mental hospital that has been keeping him and goes back to the small town that killed his murderous Doctor father.  Out for vengeance, he hides out in his families abandoned old house.  The story fills in all of the usual horror elements.  We follow high school girl Jennifer, played by Holly Marie Combs, who has a faulty heart valve.  Jennifer's mother died in the hospital with what was supposed to be a routine operation and now has had to deal with her evil stepmother.  Keeping with old horror clichés the first kids to feel the wrath of Dr. Giggles were the black characters.  Although Officer Reitz the main cop hunting Giggles is black and he survives.  Sex and drugs are also off limits if you intend on surviving.

Jennifer eventually becomes the main target of the Doctor and she must fight for her survival not only from him but from her own failing body.  The horror films of the early 90s are all pretty bad.  Coming off the magical decade that was the 80s, the genre seemed to have run out of gas until Wes Craven brought it back from the brink with "Scream" in 1996.  Although "Silence of the Lambs" is always referred to as a thriller or a drama.  It was the best horror movie of that period.

"Dr. Giggles" is very 90's in its fashions, hairstyles, and music.  It hits every just about every know horror cliché but is still a sort of cult classic for being so bad.  It's cheesy and stupid but still strangely entertaining.

"Anatomy" German Medical Horror Film from 2000


This German horror film from 2000 stars Franka Potente, the breakout star of the 1998 film "Run Lola Run".  It answers the question how do they really get the bodies for those amazing Body Worlds Exhibits?  Real human bodies injected with a plastic-like substance leaving their muscles and vital organs on display in amazing detail.

Medical horror movies seem to hit a nerve, so to speak, as they prey on primal fears that everyone can relate to.  All the way back to the original Frankenstein, medical horrors have been a staple of the genre.  The environments are cold and sterile with lots of stainless steel instruments from scalpels, saws, and drills.  Putting your life in the hands of a possibly insane stranger, is there anything else scarier?  Yes, there is being operated on while still awake!  Ahhhhh!

Paula is a bright med student who gets accepted to the prestigious Heidelberg Medical School who discovers the existence of a secret society.  Heidelberg opens its new state of the art anatomy wing where the students have access to all the corpses they can handle.  But when Paula recognizes a guy who ends up on her table she starts to investigate his death.   She finds a mysterious tattoo on his ankle and a very unusual blood sample.  It is found to have a sort of plastic polymer in it.  Paula's investigations lead to an ancient secret society called the Anti-hippocratics.  All doctors take a Hippocratic oath to help patients, but not this group.  Their research is paramount as they use live people to practice on and learn from.  Putting aside medical ethics for "the greater good".

Although this movie is pretty dark and disturbing, there are several moments of dark humor that lighten the mood a bit.  The effects used are pretty awesome and the highlight of the movie.  It does, however, suffer from a poor script and doesn't hold up to a reality check.  "Anatomy" is an intense and graphic ride that is worth at least one watch.  The Body Worlds exhibits that continue to travel around the world did originate in Germany but thankfully use willing donors.