And you thought HALLOWEEN II had an understaffed hospital? The state of the art medical center in NURSE SHERRI has a half dozen people on staff, two patients and it still manages to look claustrophobic. If I didn't know better, I'd swear it was filmed mostly on miniscule sets with the same white walls and that the offices and patients' rooms were the same set redressed. But surely one wouldn't expect such cheap theatrics from director Al Adamson... would they?
Don't worry, my sarcasm is well placed. Adamson would stoop this low. Not only that, he'd admit it, with pride, an ultra-wide grin and probably while smoking a big, fat cigar.
Adamson was one of the staples of the drive-in scene during the 1970s, giving us such memorable films as DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN and BRAIN OF BLOOD. Adamson took the bad movies from the 50s and infused them with 70s sleaze, not really updating the formula much but giving it a bit of a makeover. He was always quick and eager to make a buck. He was low on patience when it came to any traits of normal directors, like style or artistry. He was a Sam Arkoff or Roger Corman for the platform shoes era.
The best way to go about reviewing this particular Adamson film is to take you through the plot and point out just a few of the wildly illogical turns the film takes.
NURSE SHERRI starts off with theramin music and we get a pretty good idea of what to expect. An impeccably dressed mystical crackpot named Reinhauer is trying to resurrect somebody in the desert, in order to prove to his followers that he has conquered the line between life and death. Unfortunately, before it's a total success, he has a heart attack. Whoops.
Reinhauer is rushed to the hospital where he dies on the operating table. Think he's going to hold a grudge?
You can hardly blame him for having a chip on his shoulder when one of the surgeons responds to his arrogance by suggesting, "We ought to let the demented little twerp die." Oh sure, it may seem harsh and maybe it's the stress talking. To be fair, after some convincing the doctor finally relents, "We'll save the little bastard's life." Thank God that Hippocratic Oath comes through in a pinch.
Courtesy of some badly animated green scribbling, the mystic takes possession of Nurse Sherri (Jill Jacobson), a nice 70s beauty. Through Sherri's body, Reinhauer takes his revenge by offing all the doctors that let him die.
The head surgeon notices some strange behavior from her. First, she misses lunch to which he automatically assumes she's sleeping with somebody else. Then, she winds up covered in blood, to which he assumes... well, actually that she's sleeping with someone else. Come to think of it, the only real emotions this guy exhibits are jealousy and control. Gee, Sherri, maybe you can do better.
The surgeon's psychologist friend isn't much help either. He wants to commit her right away, telling him "people have been committed for less." Now there's a statement to make you feel safe at night. This is before Sherri starts talking in Reinhauer's voice and long before she's been known to be killing anyone. She hasn't even seen a shrink yet. He must have a quota to fulfill. 20 crazies in the nut barn by the end of the quarter, or he's out on the street. By this logic, I should have been locked up long ago. Okay, by many people's logic I should have been locked up long ago, but like they said in SOME LIKE IT HOT, nobody's perfect.
Thankfully, one of the nurses is starting a romance with her idol. It's him that will come to Sherri's rescue. He can sense demonic possession, seeing as how his grandmother was a voodoo priestess and all. Hey, that's luck for you!
The other nurse is actually the best actress in this whole mess. It's kind of a shame that she's the slutty nurse. You're surprised? Come on, every one of these movies has a slutty nurse. Hell, if Corman was producing there would be nothing but slutty nurses! And waterbeds! And stock footage from BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS somewhere!
Slut Nurse likes to relieve patients' pain by having sex with them. Yes, here is where most of the titillation comes from and unfortunately, it's wasted on hairy, fat guys. The arena of adult-oriented entertainment has gone through their droughts of physical attractiveness and the females have always been short-changed as an audience. Well, sorry ladies, this is one of the sorrier displays of man flesh you'll bear witness to. Best to watch some Chris Isaak music videos instead.
The whole film is very thin. A low budget attempt to blend the softcore hijinks of 70s drive-in hits like THE STUDENT NURSES with the mainstream success of THE EXORCIST. The film tries hard to create dramatic tension when there is none. We have loud, thumping Bernard Hermann-like music trumpeting leisurely drives where nothing happens. For the interiors, it feels as though the soundtrack is going to blow the set down.
A car chase is a major set piece in the film, but mainly consists of cars going at moderate speeds and kicking up a large amount of dust. The climax is particularly drawn out with every little mishap happening - losing the equipment the heroes needed, one of the heroes getting cold feet, etc. The conclusion however is very satisfying.
Make no mistake, NURSE SHERRI is a bad movie. Really bad, in fact. So bad that if you're a fan of no-budget schlock-fests with an extra helping of cheese, you may find a lot to like here. Adamson has created a film that is full of plot holes, laughable dialogue, awful padding, and horrible acting. And yet, all that does not mean NURSE SHERRI is dead on arrival.