The Surgeon (1994)

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First Jason...Then Freddy...Finally, a Professional.

| Foreign Titles | Formats | Notes | Quotes | Rating the DVD | Stories | My Summary | My Review


Character Actor
Dr. Roger Stein Malcolm McDowell
Dr. Teresa McCain Isabelle Glasser
Dr. Benjamin Hendricks James Remar
Dr. Julian Matar Sean Haberle
Lieutenant McEllwaine Peter Boyle
Milly Putnam Mother Love

Directed by Carl Schenkel

Foreign Titles

France - Clinic
 Germany - Die bestie im weiben kittel
Spain - Experienca Mortal 
UK - Exquisite Tenderness


VHS - PAL / VHS - NTSC / LD / DVD / DVD 2 pack / DVD Collector's Edition



"I was paid $100,000 for a week's work. I never saw the film." - Malcolm in Radio Times 2/96

Rating the DVD

This is a very sad release, but thankfully the retail price is $9. The only extras consist of some pitiful filmographies - no trailer or anything else. Quality is bland all around.

Sound 5
Picture 5
Extras 0

Overall 1


    My agent called, saying she had a week's worth of continuity work for me on a horror movie called "Exquisite Tenderness", and was I interested? No dialog of course, just extra work. She knew I never turned anything down, because money's looked upon favorably by people eating mac and cheese with ketchup all the time.
    The community of extras, at the time, was a fairly small group of regulars who didn't do anything besides this kind of work. You, and people in 'your type', went to pretty much the same calls over and over again. In the extra's world, continuity work is king; you love it because it means you have some money for a while, and it's fun to hang with the same people for a stretch.
    My call was for a young medical student type and it was a doctor horror movie. The call sheet listed Malcolm McDowell, which I thought was exceptionally cool, and it also had an animal handler listed with a baboon. No problem, I'd worked with animals before, and the handlers are usually fine people.
    You bring your own clothes to set as an extra, and they always ask you to bring every fucking thing in your closet so the wardrobe people can pick and choose. For this shoot, they dressed us in lab coats, stethoscopes, and all the other errata stereotypically doctorish.
    When the extras are first wardrobed and assembled on set - especially for the master shot that establishes activities and placement of cast - there's always this third-grader's type behavior amongst the group. They'll call down more extras than they need, and stand you just off set. Everyone will stand their straightest, making their most beautiful and camera-friendly eyes and smiles at the assistant directors. Oh pick me, pick me! You so want to pick me, you really, really do!
    Yes! Picked for foreground!
    Our director was Swiss-born Carl Schenkel. He had an accent so bizarre that we debated whether he faked it. He sounded like a gay Dana Carvey doing one of the Hans and Franz characters, but with lazier vowels, and a giddy 'hurry-up, I'm important' pace to his speech.
    Carl was a cartoon of a director. All he needed was a bullhorn and a riding crop to slap his imaginary jodhpurs to complete the image he had of himself.
    In our very first scene we were in the E.R., making rounds, following the chief doctor (Malcolm). Carl immediately called, "Cut, cut, cut! Okay, okay, extras? You need to act less...CANADIAN!" Laughter broke out amongst the crew.
    After composing himself he continued, "No, this is very serious, you need to get some...oh how do you say. . . You need to give me some uuumphf, yah? You have this word in your country, "uuumphf"?' We nodded.
    "So yah, give me some uuumphf and stop being so...CANADIAN!" He said Canadian a second time hoping for a two-for-one on the laughter, which he got.
    Like good robots, we did our best and acted a whole lot less Canadian.
    We were told that one of the key scenes in the movie involved Malcolm's character performing some kind of brain fluid transfer on a baboon to a human, or something like that. They created a set that was like a doctor's surgical observatory, with a miniature amphitheater feel to it, surrounding a Plexiglas octagon which contained a dentist-type chair for the baboon to sit on.
    The assistant directors had briefed as at length about how to act when the baboon was on set. We were told, strenuously, not to make eye contact with the animal under any circumstances. They read this as a challenge, and unless you want a monkey flying at your face, we ought to heed this advice.
    No fucking problem, I thought.
    The whole observatory set was darkened with most of the light directed just into the octagonal chamber where Malcolm was already standing. In came the baboon's handler with the baboon riding on his chest the same way I've seen monkeys carry their babies on nature programs. The whole set was dead silent and motionless, watching but not looking at the creature and all its delicate movements, as it made its presence known.
    The handler was a man in his early fifties with a deep scar down one cheek. He preened the animal and seemed to coo to it. The baboon was sand colored with hair around its neck and back that stood out like a lion's mane.
    We all stared down at the floor, watching everything through glances. Malcolm was pretty calm and I mentally noted credit in his favor. The baboon, bored already, exercised his jaw and lips and showed us what looked like a set of dog's teeth but with much more prominent canines.
    Now I'm not going to say anything inappropriate was going on between that monkey and his handler, but the monkey would demonstrate the most peculiar of Pavlovian reactions each time the handler would return to set. Baboons, we all learned, have boners impressive in size even by human standards.
    Malcolm, ever-suave, pretended not to notice. But each time they had to reset the scene, the handler would come in and up would pop an instantaneous, quivering, blood red boner from between the monkey's legs. The handler, no doubt embarrassed, eventually came back in with a sand colored rag to cover up the baboon's crotch.
    "Wait, what, wait...what, what is this?" Carl said. "I don't like this, I don't understand it. No, no, no, take the rag away - yes you, take the rag away. There's nothing wrong with this. I can work with this."
    Obediently, the handler removed the rag and left the set, and with his departure the monkey's once-proud member immediately deflated and tucked back up inside his body.
    This went on for take after take; boner up, boner down. Boner up, boner down. And the extras, well we couldn't help ourselves. Everyone on set was becoming more accustomed to the monkey, more relaxed. It seemed less like an animal and more like an actor.
    So, we joked, we laughed, and at one point, during a camera change, something someone did spooked the baboon and he leapt from his chair and hit the Plexiglas with unbelievable speed and force.
    He perched on the ledge and made the most incredible 'HUH! HUH! HUH!" noises, moving his head back and forth, beaming his eyes out at whomever had challenged him. We all shut the fuck up and dropped our gazes. Malcolm didn't flinch once during the baboon's freak-out.
    It was a long day, and at the end, the baboon crawled into the handler's arms and attached himself to his chest, oblivious again to our presence, being cooed to by the man, content to be picked at and preened. - Marc N

My Summary

     In the 1950s a boy is brought to a house where an operation is occurring. It must be something on the shady side, since when do people operate in houses? An older doctor is going to do something on a young boy while the parents wait. The parents go outside and the kid watches as the doctor goes to operate. Instead of being knocked out the kid is still awake and impales himself on the doctors scalpel. Meanwhile the song lollipop is playing and the kid watching is sucking on a lollipop as the boy dies, spurting blood all over the doctor.
     Present day. A woman, Dr. Teresa McCain is running late for class. She hits a speed bump and her muffler falls off. Then she drops her papers are she exits the vehicle. She goes over and kicks the muffler and her heel breaks. She runs into class and sits. The teacher is Dr. Roger Stein and he is explaining his revolutionary new transplant procedure. He has found a way to transplant abdomens to save failing kidneys. He is in a booth with a baboon he has performed on. He takes a question and says there hasn't been any complications. Then McCain asks a question and you can tell she doesn't like him. The baboon freaks out and starts hurling itself against the glass and flipping out. Stein leaves and a technician tries to calm the animal, but it dies.
     McCain is then teaching a class of her own. When a young rich girl gives a bad diagnosis, Dr. Benjamin Hendricks shows her up and makes fun of her. He knows his stuff, but gets reprimanded for his arrogance. McCain then goes to surgery with Stein in the next room with a patient of his own. When she is done, she goes into Stein's room to see what he is up to. She is upset because he is doing the implant on a human patient. They exchange words and she goes off the hospital director. He tells her Stein was authorized and everything is under control.
     Teresa then goes to her rounds and takes care of her patients. The patient that Stein operated on is starting to go into shock, but Stein can't be reached. McCain takes over where she really shouldn't and has her moved into dialysis and goes back to her rounds. Then a doctor, which turns out to be the morbid child from the opening scene, enters the room. He injects air into her veins and leaves her for dead. McCain is called in, but can't save her.
     Stein and the director make sure Teresa is suspended for overstepping her bounds and blame her for the woman's death. She goes and finds Dr. Hendricks and the two plan on getting to the bottom of this because she knows the woman didn't die of kidney failure. They come up on Stein doing an autopsy and are almost spotted. Then they hear a scream and go to investigate. A man is tied up and being suffocated, but it is a trap. The killer locks them in and kills Stein. He then returns to finish McCain off, but Hendricks knocks him out.
     McCain recognizes the man as an ex-doctor of the hospital who she caught 3 years ago performing illegal experiments. As the police are leading him away to a helicopter he breaks away and pounds everyone in sight until getting hit by an ambulance.
     The movie continues on poorly for another hour without Malcolm, hence no reason to watch it.

My Review

     Direct to video horror flicks generally suck and this is no exception. While Malcolm has an interesting character he is killed off so early as to not even come near any kind of potential he could have had if he lived. He started out pretty cool and it seemed like it could've been an interesting character. Malcolm has three scenes and in the third one he doesn't say anything. Watch the first half hour until he is killed, after that it just degenerates into a pathetic Friday the 13th killer on the loose imitation.

Rating 2/10

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