(The Possession) of Nurse Sherri (1978)

AKA Black Voodoo, as well as Beyond the Living, Hospital of Terror, Killer’s Curse, and Hands of Death.

Director: Al Adamson
Starring: Jill Jacobson, Marilyn Joi, Geoffrey Land , Prentiss Moulden. USA. 1h 28m

Nurse Sheri is a dramatic possession horror/slasher from the height of the exploitation era it tantalises with sexual innuendos and buckets of psychedelic entity antics as Sheri tries to battle against a dark forces that were brought into the hospital by a dying cult member.

Al Adamsson uses a combination of grindhouse trashy murders with mediocre acting, a touch of eroticism and some animated graphics to highlight the story of a nurse who is accidently present when an occultist dies in her hospital and becomes a vessel for an otherworldly feind on a mission.

Officially opening with a ritual being performed by a wacky sun cult, this reshoot was added in at a much later date and depicts a harrowing set of events. The cult are isolated deep in the desert with their deranged occult leader praying to the sun and carefully prepping some crazy folk medicine. After convincing a family to stop their son’s insulin shots, he dies, his corpse is then transported out into the desert where he’s brought back to life, strangely, the occult minister dies in some kind of energy exchange. A witness to this miracle takes the dead man to hospital, where Nurse Sheri is exposed to his passing in the hospital and is subsequently attacked by sparking green glowing smoke and becomes possessed by some demonic force and/or the occultist and goes on a prolonged killing spree.

Her bedside manner will keep you in stitches!

There’s a lot going on in Sheri’s hospital, there seems to be two patients and three nurses. Our lovely Sheri, and her two best friends, Tara (Joi) an African American nurse who’s besotted with an African American football star whose eyes are bandaged up after a horrific accident and they strike up a bond, despite his blindness and bad attitude towards his little darling Florence Nightingale. There’s also Beth (Pass) who’s bedside manner is red hot, her scenes often end in a Carry On styled happy ending with a patient ogling her naked body and winking at the camera.

What would a 70’s horror movie be with some sleaze? It was one of the charming nature of the grind/slasher/exploitation genres as populations found their sexual freedoms. While there’s a riske grounding in the more expressive areas of the exploitation genre, Nurse Sheri is a major oddity among other possession films. There’s no chanting priests, crazy vomiting and the most that Sheri can conjure up is a man’s voice when doing her demonic rounds.

The lack of demonic activity and effects is mostly down to the film being a bit of an Ed Wood effort. Little to no budget to spend on effects and, at the best, only a few down-and-out actors willing to work for peanuts to keep the casting up to date. The African American couple add in some ideas of Voodoo magical theory, to explain what could be going on and the non possessed nurses even attempt to remedy the situation with a spooky graveyard ritual. Maybe it’s something left over from a previous version, as the film was called Black Voodoo at one point. It generally does feel like a lot of recycled pieces, all frankensteined together. Some of the stand out scenes features a laughing entity mocking a man driving and Sherri’s blood soaked hatchet bathroom scene, which is everything you’d want to see in the finale of any alarming horror journey.

Maybe not the most terrifying or convincing occult thrillers but lots of blood, some boobs and a touch of cruel comedy always makes the romp that much more enjoyable. If trashy is your game then this will need to be investigated.

Rating: 5/10

Related: Brain of Blood (1971), Blood of Dracula’s Castle (1969), Doctor Dracula (1978), Satan’s Sadists (1969), Abby (1974)
Lists: Exorcism Flick
Spotlight : Al Adamson (RIP)

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