The Surgeon (1995) Poster


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Overall satisfying hospital chiller
Coventry22 October 2004
I instantly got hooked on this film when I first saw it. It came on late-night TV and I watched it even though I wasn't really allowed. The combination of seeing a forbidden film and being impressed by everything that is bloody, I really liked it. Now, years and literally tons of movies later, I notice that it is obviously flawed and unoriginal but yet I still think it's an enjoyable thriller that can provide you with a few scares. The film opens with an eerie black and white sequence in which a young boy witnesses the death of his older brother while the song 'lollipop' is playing on the radio. Apparently due to this trauma, he grew out to become a mad scientist with Frankensteinian ideas and methods, using terminal hospital patients for his research. He takes revenge on the hospital staff that suspended him. The most efficient aspects about this film are unquestionably the ominous set pieces and locations. The horror highlights include a sequence in which a helpless patient gets a huge needle injected in her nose, or when our insane doctor operates on himself. First time actor Sean Haberle is decent as the 'villain', by the way. He's a spooky looking dude with vicious eyes and a violent charisma. The two leads – James Remar and Isabel Glasser – are okay as well but it's the supportive cast that is REALLY interesting. Peter Boyle (Young Frankenstein, Hardcore), Charles Dance (Alien³, Space Truckers) and especially Malcolm McDowell all make great appearances. Unfortunately, McDowell's icky character dies too soon and the film dies a little with him.

Exquisite Tenderness is nowhere near original, the production takes itself way too serious and the last 5 minutes shouldn't have made the final cut. Yet, it's still a delightful film to kill some time with and the body count is enormous.
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B-movie thriller, with a couple of good performances
vchimpanzee24 July 2008
If you like the song "Lollipop" by the Chordettes, you are advised to miss the first few minutes of this movie, or you may never think of the song the same way again. In an eerie but effective scene that suggests an old B-movie, a little boy, who turns out to be one of the movie's characters, is watching something horrible happen to another little boy at the doctor's office, as the song is playing on the radio. According to the DJ, it's the latest hit.

Dr. Theresa McCann is not having a good day. On the way into work she breaks the heel on one of her shoes, and that's just the beginning. But this film needs a little humor. As Dr. McCann makes the rounds with her residents, Dr. Hendricks just has to make them uncomfortable, believing that is the only way to make them truly dedicated to their work.

Meanwhile, Dr. Stein is showing an experimental treatment which he is testing on some sort of ape, with less than ideal results.

Given Dr. Stein's reputation, Dr. McCann took over the treatment of one of his patients, doing something unauthorized that may have resulted in the patient's death. She gets suspended, but with the help of Dr. Hendricks, she may be able to clear her name. Perhaps it is Dr. Mazar, who was supposedly locked away in an institution, who is causing the problems for Dr. Stein. He once believed it was more important to find effective treatments by testing on humans about to die anyway rather than animals; he believed the Nazis had the right idea. Could that also be what's happening here?

This was mostly an ordinary thriller. Certainly not for kids--especially that terrifying first scene. There is some violence, and that ape scene isn't too pleasant. But there were a couple of performances worth noting. Sean Haberle has some good moments as the demented Dr. Mazar, though he's not consistent. And then there is Mother Love as a patient named Milly Putnam. Now she's really worth seeing.

The movie could be worth seeing, too. If this is really the sort of thing you like.
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his scalpel is dull and rusty
movieman_kev21 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
In the 1950's, young Julian witnesses his brother being murdered by a surgeon (with the sounds of the Chordettes' "Lollipop" none the less). Now all grown up he turns to stalking patients, of the hospital where he got canned for carrying on unlicensed experiments on regeneration, and killing them for fluid he needs to carry on his aforementioned experimentation. It's up to his ex, Theresa and her new 'flavor of the week' Ben, to stop the carnage.

Even with such heavyweight talents as Peter Boyle (as a hardened cop) and Malcolm McDowell (as an ape-experimenting doctor) in this film, it still can't overcome it's clichéd premise and story. Most of the acting is serviceable but somehow lacking, the killer is not all that memorable nor terrifying, and the tension was non-existent. I've seen a lot worse but this movie is still just too mundane to recommend to anyone. Screenplay writer Patrick Cirillo wound go on to pen the much better "Tears of the Sun"

My Grade: D+

Eye Candy for the guys: Juliette Jeffers gets topless; Isabel Glasser shows everything Eye Candy for the girls: James Remar's penis & ass
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surgical mistake!!!
sidmsdw28 October 2001
This was one of the most repulsive and disgusting movies I've ever tried to watch. So much gore and special effects splatter overwhelm whatever extremely minor narrative pull the movie has. The movie starts off stupidly as a would-be attempt at irony (e.g., horrible violence set to silly '50s pop song) lets you know how wrong this flick is gonna go. If not for the extremely lovely presence of leading lady Isabel Glasser I never would have spent as much time on this splatter-dog of a flick as I did. Didn't need to see James Remar's tackle, either. All in all, a waste. I will keep my eyes out for Glasser in the future, though.
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Hospital horror...
plaznihqyllnikaaf28 November 2001
Not the worst of it's kind. The performances are acceptable and the story is a kind of dumb, but... It's not so much of a horror movie, it's more like a thriller.

If you want real Doctor horror, I would recommend Dr. Giggles...
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Another bad hospital horror flick
MoonShdo20 August 2001
This movie can't decide what it wants to be.

It starts out medical mystery. Standard "Coma" plot here - maverick woman doctor fights with colleagues and discovers something fishy going on.

Next is a detour through subplot melodrama - maverick doctor gets in trouble and starts hanging out with a photojournalist turned med student. Nice work by James Remar here.

Then it lurches over to horror flick but doesn't quite make it. The heart of a good horror flick is a compelling villian. This script practically forgets about its villian until a good way into the film. What we get then is a laughably bad, unchilling parody of a sort of bad guy. He's got no menace, no personality. What good is a forgettable bad guy?

Skip this one unless you must see every bad hospital horror flick ever made.
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Not at all exquisite
johnny-0828 January 2008
Schenkel's "Exquisite Tenderness" is not exquisite at all. As a movie it does not present anything new because it tries very hard to be a good hospital mystery and it fails in that. It's sadly ruined by big plot holes and lack of true idea that would be a guidance for the whole movie. From beginning to end I cannot extract anything. Actors are mild, direction is so usual that it hurts and the story that is meant to be scary, is not that at all. Instead we've got Dr. Julian Matar who is very boring character and even after 20 bullets in his body he's not dead. Because Schenkel needed ending. Ending is such a cliché, with that old message that evil never dies. Sad movie for Remar, Boyle and McDowell and really no reason for you to watch it.
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Raidar8 February 2004
Not a bad little thriller that lifts various elements from the slasher genre without actually becoming so easily recogniseable as one of those movies. James Remar is fairly good and the film plays fairly well. Just average really
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Go to ER after seeing this...
D Throat16 February 1999
I don't know what it is with these hospital-horror flicks, but they are almost all bad. Extreme measures, etc, etc. Of course one could have known after seeing Knight Moves by the same director, that this was gonna be bad. If they put Malcolm McDowell second or third in the opening credits and you have another warning nowadays. You'd better watch Coma instead, at least that one is good.
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Scareless thriller
PFriis22 June 1999
When I rented this movie, I expected to see a hospital thriller with good scares and suspense. What I saw was a slasher film set in a hospital with a very small budget. If you want to see a good hospital movie, rent Extreme Measures instead. It is a lot better than this garbage... 2/10...
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Silly chilly hospital shocker
NateWatchesCoolMovies29 December 2017
The Surgeon is an overlooked little hospital horror chiller that's worth the price of admission just for the opening scene alone, a spooky black and white prologue in which a young boy witnesses a surgery gone horribly wrong, all set to that cheery 'Lollipop Lollipop' song, quite a memorable way to kick your film off. After that it's fairly standard, as he grows up to be a scalpel wielding slasher who roams the wards of a huge hospital, killing patients, doctors and undergrads at leisure. Two intrepid doctors in training played by Isabel Glasser and James Remar are onto this beast and gradually begin to realize there's foul play afoot, and the demented surgeon, played by Sean Haberle, continues his stealthy rampage throughout the halls. Malcolm McDowell is also there for a bit, sorely underused as an arrogant, short lived doctor who likes to trial weird drugs on chimpanzees in the basement. Peter Boyle chews scenery as a bumbling detective, Charles Dance has a fun bit and it all hurtles along like the B movie it is. That opening though, quite a well accented bit with the song, and an eerie setup for the schlock to follow. The film's actual title on IMDB is Exquisite Tenderness, which was rebranded for DVD release as The Surgeon, which is slightly less.. European of them than the original one, but it does suit the low grade silliness. Decent stuff, for what it is.
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just what the doctor DIDN'T order
lee_eisenberg13 June 2012
When I watch a slasher, I don't expect it to be particularly intellectual. I expect a lot of blood and guts. If the movie turns out to be more than that, then it's a pleasant surprise.

Unfortunately, "The Surgeon" tries to be intellectual but fails. It could have just stuck to being a gorefest and I would have been satisfied. Instead, it fizzles out very early on. Not even the presence of Malcolm McDowell and Peter Boyle can save it.

There's just no reason to see this movie. It's a total waste. Much like how the one "Twilight" movie that I saw tried too hard to be both a vampire flick and a teen romance, "The Surgeon" tries too many things at once and ends up making no sense.
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