Filmed during an era when medicine still regarded glandular extracts as some untapped panacea, this horror movie’s tale is woven around a derived extract that revives those at the brink of death and effects almost immediate healing. Of course, things go wrong, leaving an overly expedient seeking medical researcher in a vicious circle of his own making. More than slightly violating the Hippocratic oath (and then some.) Unlike one other movie with virtually the same theme, with its many sequels, however, this one is far more sophisticated in having far more detailed and realistic hospital settings, even some highly interesting and complex medical prognostications. As well as a cast of celebrated actors, even the classy Peter Boyle and Malcolm McDowell. The heroine is played by the lovely, Isabel Glasser (as Dr. Theresa McCann) and opposite her is the always redoubtable, James Remar (as Dr. Benjamin Hendricks.) The villain, Dr. Julian Matar, is played splendidly by Sean Haberle who never misses a step on his way to collect his rejuvenating extracts from the many unsuspecting patients he views a hospital put on earth to dispense. *But, as we are constantly told, he is a doctor. At least before he was sent to the madhouse. Haberle is one of those actors for whom viewers might wonder why they have not seen more appearances.

Scene changes, script, camera work, and sets are first rate. Where many horror films are short changed this one is not. Special effects and make-up artistry are, as well, professional and so well executed that scene shifts are not needed to make up for their lackings.

Viewers will be treated to the usual fare horror films offer, but with the class of the best drama and thrillers. If this movie were just a bit more original on the score of “usual fare” it could easily have become a classic.

We are told what the phrase, exquisite tenderness, medically denotes (the point at which pain thresholds) but it really isn’t worked into the script well enough to reflect back on the title. Leaving the impression…”oh well, we ran out of paper and pen for our script.” After all, our monster-in-residence “is a doctor,” at least in the respect that he can perform his medical misdeeds efficiently and with a minimum of pain and does. And that oddly adds to the horror.

All told, the movie is noteworthy for performances, directing, the script’s attention to detail, and to the director’s, Carl Schenkel’s, interesting way of putting it all together at an unexpected level of professionalism.

Some brief nudity, sparse graphic language and plenty of medically tasteful mayhem. At least the victim score of doctors to patients is about even.