A young woman, having just arrived at an asylum to become its new nurse, has no idea what she has gotten herself into. Not only is her boss, Doctor Vance a little unusual and obviously hiding something, a few of the patients are a little frightening with their various psychoses and there also happens to be a killer on the loose. With secrets and murder running rampant within the hospital’s walls, there is a good chance that she will not make it out alive, or at least so director Elio Scardamaglia would have you believe.
Despite being a somewhat obscure film, The Murder Clinic or La lama nel corpo, is well worth seeking out due to its very moody atmosphere and compelling performances. The very talented William Berger stars as the disgraced Doctor Vance, a man who is made out to be the killer during the first act of the film and it is so obvious, that you wonder if the movie actually holds any surprises going forward. Thankfully, Scardamaglia does a great job of keeping things quite mysterious and soon offers up another person who could be the culprit, not to mention another after that. Though there are a couple of moments where the picture tends to lag a little, for the most part it is quite suspenseful and when you add to the fact that there is something strange going on up on the top floor of the hospital where nobody is allowed to go, the film tends to wander into the horror genre just a little.
The movie is slightly melodramatic in parts and that could be due to the fact that it runs along with a bit of a Gothic twinge now and then, almost akin to a Hammer production. The cinematography is bold and well-shot and happens to be one of the better features of the picture. Combining that with the score by Francesco De Masi, you are drawn in quite deeply as it lends to that atmosphere that Scardamaglia is painting. The murders themselves are nothing to write home about – if you have seen one stabbing you have seen them all basically, but they are effective in driving up the tension and the horror and moving the film forward. Barbara Wilson’s character Mary who is at the center of it all is clueless as to what is really going on, but she knows that there is something wrong and she knows that it has to do with whatever is upstairs. It is the discovering of that mystery which will prove difficult.
Though you could compare this to a great many other films, The Murder Clinic is still quite entertaining and that final scene with the big reveals make it all worthwhile. If you enjoy your giallo with a bit of colour, a good dose of suspense and a surprise or two, this picture delivers on that and more.
3.5 out of 5