Visiting Hours

Directed by Jean-Claude Lord



Jean-Claude Lord


Brian Taggert


Michael Ironside, Linda Purl, William Shatner, Lenore Zann


Les Films Criterion

Quebec 1982 105 mins OV English Subtitles : French
Genre Horror

When misogynistic serial killer Colt Hawker (Michael Ironside) sees feminist journalist Deborah Ballin (Lee Grant) on a talk show, he becomes determined to add her to his body count. His first attack lands Deborah in a hospital, where she becomes convinced—quite rightly—that he is continuing to stalk her, and a sympathetic nurse (Linda Purl) also becomes a target of his mania. Literalizing the anti-feminism subtexts many critics saw in the early-’80s slasher boom, VISITING HOURS cast Ironside, hot off his attention-grabbing turn in SCANNERS, as the ultimate he-man woman-hater, and his vivid turn helped the film become one of the period’s highest-grossing stalker sagas to not have a day in its title.

It was also the English-language debut of Québécois director Jean-Claude Lord, whose previous features had tackled other hot-button subjects such as homosexuality and post-FLQ political paranoia. Fantasia’s screening is dedicated to the memory of Lord, who died this past January at age 78, and to HOURS executive producer Pierre David, who is receiving the Denis Héroux Award at this year’s festival. After about a dozen French-language features, David broke into the U.S. movie market with David Cronenberg’s THE BROOD and SCANNERS; VISITING HOURS was his first fright film—and one of his most successful—without Cronenberg, pointing the way toward the cult favourites OF UNKNOWN ORIGIN (scripted by HOURS’ Brian Taggert) and PIN, among many others. As HOURS, shot in Montreal and co-starring local boy William Shatner, marks its 40th anniversary this summer, it’s the perfect time for VISITING the movie once more, and celebrating one of its key creators. – Michael Gingold