Murder Clinic is one of the lesser known Giallo's that has yet to be brought into the spotlight like many of the better examples of the genre have been already. In my opinion, this is a film that will never get the shiny DVD release; and the reason for that is simply that it's not all that good. That's not to say that it's a terrible film; clearly director Elio Scardamaglia has an eye for Gothic visuals; the sets and atmosphere bode well with the plot line and the film does emulate the classic Universal horror style very well...but there's really not enough of the film and what there is of the plot is very clichéd and since most people that bother to seek out this film will be hardened horror veterans (like myself), no viewer of Murder Clinic is likely to find anything they haven't seen before. As the title suggests, the film focuses on murders at an English clinic and the story takes place in the 1870's. Basically, a bunch of the clinic's vulnerable residents are being picked off by a razor-wielding maniac and we get a handful of possible suspects.
The plot actually doesn't play out too badly; we get treated to a few murders before being introduced to the 'monster' of the story and the back-story behind that monster (which is actually fairly interesting but could and should have been handled in a much better way). However, the film does have a tendency to run into the melodramatic and while Elio Scardamaglia's direction is sound, the film was clearly shot on a low budget and he doesn't ever manage to make the film look anything more than a cheap affair (although in fairness, the VHS copy I saw does the film no favours). The film only runs for about eighty minutes and that's a good thing to be honest as it definitely would have started to get boring if it were any longer; although the runtime we do have only just keeps the film from becoming boring. The way that Murder Clinic handles red herrings is good and we get four main ones and to the film's credit, it's not immediately obvious who the killer is before it's revealed. Overall, this is not a great Giallo by any means and only hardcore genre fans should check it out; but it's a decent watch at least.
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