Director – Denis Heroux (The Uncanny, Initiation)
Starring – Mathieu Carriere (Quantum Leap, Special Treatment), Debra Berger (The Inglorious Bastards, Dangerously Close), and Christine Boisson (Night Nurse Massacre, The Way Out)
Release Date – 1976
Rating – 4/5
Blu Release – 4/5
Severin has released some of the most impressive films over the years. They are a company that I greatly admire and I’m always on the look out for their releases. A few months ago Severin announced the release of the 1976 horror flick Born for Hell, aka Naked Massacre. This is actually a movie I had heard about before and actually own a copy of it on DVD under it’s alternative title but I’ve never made the time to check it out. Granted, my DVD is not the best quality so when Severin announced it’s release I was ready to upgrade the grainy DVD for a better transfer. I reached out to my friends over at MVD who were handling the release and they were kind enough to send over a review copy. Thanks guys!
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows an American war vet that served in Vietnam who arrives in Belfast. With the city ripped apart by a civil war he uses the chaos to break into the home of a group of nurses where he meticulously takes them out to rape and murder. **Spoiler Alert**
Born for Hell is not only a truly entertaining film but one that has a bit of history behind it. The film was met with heavy controversy when it was released. Several women and feminist organizations felt the film was glamourizing domestic abuse and abuse towards women. Though this was not the first film to depict violence toward women in this manner it was one of the few to be release during a time when women’s rights were being pushed by the various organizations. With that being said, it’s a very powerful that hits hard and pulls emotions.
The acting in this one works for the film and I found myself thoroughly enjoying everyone in the film. Carriere was fantastic as the murderous Vietnam vet that that has a cold stare and when he smiles you get chills down your spine. The supporting cast is great with the nurses delivering some intense performances. They all deserve equal praise but I’m too lazy to sit here and name them all individually.
The story for this one starts out rather slowly but once it picks up it really leaves the viewer feeling uncomfortable. It’s not a movie that will leave you guessing or pulls in heavy emotions but it works very well as a horror film. The sinister war vet with murder and lust in his eyes as he tortures and slays nurses is truly demented. If you haven’t noticed by now, this one is loosely based on the Richard Speck murders. Knowing that it is based on a horrible true crime also adds another dimension of to the overall film.
Finally, the film has plenty of blood but that’s the extent of the effects in this one. We don’t get gore or memorable kills but the acting and story is just enough to pull the viewer in. Overall, Born for Hell is an absolutely brilliant slice of horror from the late 70s. It’s very underrated and one of my favorite releases from Severin. I highly recommend checking this one out.
The Other Side of the Mirror: Interview with Actor Mathieu Carrière
Nightmare In Chicago: Remembering the Richard Speck Crime Spree with Local Filmmakers John McNaughton and Gary Sherman
A New Kind Of Crime: The Richard Speck Story with Once Upon A Crime Podcaster Esther Ludlow
Bombing Here, Shooting There: Video Essay by Filmmaker Chris O’Neill
Artist Joe Coleman On Speck
NAKED MASSACRE: U.S. Video Release Cut