Release Date(s)1977 (June 27, 2017)
Studio(s)Independent-International Pictures/Moonstone Films/All Channel Films (Vinegar Syndrome)
- Film/Program Grade: B-
- Video Grade: B-
- Audio Grade: B-
- Extras Grade: A-
Known over the years by a number of different titles in different parts of the world, Nurse Sherri is a seedy, low profile, drive-in circuit horror film from 1977. When an occult leader dies during an operation, his spirit comes back to possess the title’s namesake and wreak vengeance upon those who couldn’t save him, as well as anyone who got in his way while he was alive. In between that is a hospital full of horny nurses, a patient with no sight and more than a passing interest in voodoo, and a headstrong doctor determined to get to the bottom of Sherri’s sudden change.
Combining elements from the sexy nurse movies of the day with The Exorcist, Nurse Sherri is a sleazy movie in a lot of ways and is never afraid to get a little tawdry to score points with male audience members. At the same time, it has some wacky moments and plot twists, including a surprisingly effective third act climax (no pun intended). Some of the performances, particularly those from the cult leader early on, also stand out, and not necessarily in the right way. Even the pure nuttiness of the possession scene doesn’t entirely make up for the film’s lax pace. Hardly ever mentioned at all nowadays, Nurse Sherri is a definite deep cut with some low budget horror appeal and unintended humor from the director of Satan’s Sadists and Dracula vs. Frankenstein.
Vinegar Syndrome’s presentation is sourced from a new 2K scan of a 35mm negative print. The opening title card informs us that “Nurse Sherri was originally shot on 16mm. However, when producer Sam Sherman reviewed the first cut, he felt it needed additional edits and re-shoots. All of the subsequent shoots were in 35mm and were edited together with 35mm blow-up elements made from the original 16mm version. Unfortunately, over the years, the original 16mm camera elements were lost and all that survives of these scenes is the 35mm blow-up, which has severely faded. As such, you will notice fluctuations in grain structure as well as overall image quality between those scenes from the original 16mm shoot and later sections, which were shot on 35mm.” Armed with this information, it isn’t that hard to discern which shots were a part of the original shoot and which weren’t. The quality of the presentation as a whole is inconsistent, to say the least, but fortunately, is still filmic in appearance. Fine detail and texturing are generally good, but the footage from the 35mm reshoots looks terrific. Some of the colors are a little stronger than others, but many of the scenes have that aforementioned faded look to them. Skin tones also have this problem, sometimes appearing natural, but other times not so much. Blacks are severely crushed, but general brightness and contrast levels are just fine. It’s also surprisingly stable, but contains lots of leftover film artifacts, including scratches, speckling, holes, tears, and changeover cues. It actually sounds worse than it actually is and, unbelievably, is still a solid presentation. The sole audio option is an English mono DTS-HD track. It’s understandably flat, but dialogue is usually clear and discernible with some definite distortion and hiss in the background at times. Sound effects are fairly vintage and the old-fashioned sounding musical score supports everything well enough. Subtitles in English SDH are also included.
As for the extras, there’s a nice set of material to dig through, including an audio commentary with producer Sam Sherman; Nurses’ Confession – interviews with actresses Jill Jacobson and Marilyn Joi; a Nurse Sherri Locations: Then and Now featurette; an animated promotional still gallery; 2 of the film’s theatrical trailers; and a DVD containing the same film and extras, but also an additional alternate cut of the film in much lower resolution. It features three softcore sex scenes, an extra bit of end credits, and, oddly enough, a sex comedy-type scene involving a doctor trying to give a lecture with some “assistance” from behind and below the podium.
Truth be told, I hadn’t heard of Nurse Sherri until Vinegar Syndrome’s release came along, not even under its other titles (such as Killer’s Curse, Terror Hospital, or Black Voodoo). It’s not a great movie, but Vinegar Syndrome’s presentation of it makes it one worth checking out.
- Tim Salmons