I can't quite remember where I first heard of this movie, but I do remember purchasing it on eBay back in the day for less than $5. These days, this sucker goes for several hundreds of dollars! Why is that? Is it because the movie is a hidden gem? Definitely not. Is it because it has some rarely seen first role of a Hollywood celeb? Another big negative. The answer is simple: It's shot on video. Since the hipster kids discovered 80s shot on video horror 5 or so years ago, their value skyrocketed. Fortunately, I've been able to get my hands on many of them before they entered the scene. Anyway...
The cover is fantastic: an overweight nurse (Priscilla Alden) holding up a bloody knife while a "Chop 'em Ups Video" logo emblazons the bottom (bloody axe and all). Most covers during this time were commissioned illustrations or just the original poster art, but having actual photographs or screenshots from the movie adds to its shot on video value. The slipcase comes complete with a fake review on the back, reading "Campy schlock... Bloody horror at its best!" The review was given by "Hollywood at Home," presumably a home video magazine that never actually existed. I only say this because any publication that would give a film like Death Nurse a recommendation would likely be put out of business (maybe it did?).
The film centers around Edith Mortley, an RN who, in cahoots with the owner of a clinic (AKA the director's house), kills her patients to continue collecting payments from the government. The premise feels like something out of a true crime TV show. In fact, its not a terrible one... its just too bad that this movie actually is, having been made by Nick Millard and and company, who despite having much experience in the film industry, only made one decent thing in his life, Criminally Insane - a film which also features Priscilla Alden as psychopath.
Upon seeing the movie for the first time, I was intrigued. Here we had a cast of 5 or so people, mostly unattractive and older in age, shooting a slasher film on a camcorder. The whole viewing experience felt awkward and bizarre. At one point in the film, a patient in the "clinic," an elderly woman who I believe is Millard's mother, is flopping around the house before being killed by Edith (not a pretty sight, and not in the grisly sense either). But where else can you see an elderly woman in a loose fitting nightgown get stabbed by an overweight nurse? Nowhere. Thanks Nick! Like others of his films made during the 80s, it's padded to Hell. The doctor probably spends 5-10 minutes showing us how he digs a hole. Not once, but twice! As a bonus, we get to watch him scoop ice cream into a bowl and eat it. Following this, we watch Edith nap on the couch with dream sequences composed of Criminally Insane clips spliced in. To add insult to injury, Millard has the gall to use these recycled shots from another movie multiple times throughout this movie.
Since I made my original video review years ago (seen below), the film has been released twice (yes, twice!) on DVD, along with several others of Nick Millard's films. But even if you're not interested in the films themselves, there's plenty of interviews and commentaries going deep in depth on how train wrecks are made (although Millard would never cop to it). Released by a good friend of mine's home video label, Slasher // Video, I was asked to create an updated review for the DVD release, which I did without hesitation (another reason to pick up the DVD ;) ).