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The Fifth Floor (1978) - Blu-ray Review

Spread your beautiful wings and fly away!  Or, at the very least, make a run for it at the zoo while the orderlies aren’t looking.

Brothers and sisters of the Cinematic Cult, The Fifth Floor has arrived on blu-ray courtesy of Code Red and its brand new HD master.  For those that don’t recall, this is the disco-infused movie that, with its hands raised proudly in the air, features Robert Englund, Bo Hoskins, Michael Berryman, Patti D’Arbanville, Sharon Farrell, and , as if that wasn't enough, Mel Ferrar as Dr. Sidney Coleman, who join one young woman, played by Dianne Hull, as she enters into a full-time stay in a mental hospital for what she initially believes is a 72-hour checkup.

Strychnine poisoning.  That’s what did it.  But who would poison this girl and why? (And while I am asking questions, where can I find this wonderfully funky soundtrack?!?!?!?)

"solely a curiosity item for B-grade collectors."

After breaking up with her boyfriend (John David Carson), it seems someone has it in for the poor girl because she is going on a long vacation . . . to a mental ward.  Uh-oh!  Who would have the girl committed?  Kelly claims she didn’t try to kill herself; it was a poisoning, she says repeatedly.  No one listens to her and, as the boyfriend starts answering questions, she finds herself in a whole heap of trouble.  The doctors are all too concerned about her seizing on the floor of the local discothèque and because they fear for her safety (trusting the boyfriend over her), she winds up tucked away in a mental hospital for observation.

And so she becomes the focal point in the hospital of a creepy orderly (Hoskins), who does more that ogle the young woman one night.

No one can hear the sane scream, though.  Because once the door closes on the fifth floor, it never opens again.  Unless, of course, it is Benny (Englund), a mental patient of the ward posing as a doctor.  As mad of a place as it is, it turns out that the crazy in this hospital aren’t the ones out to get her: surprise, surprise, it’s the sane! {googleads}

Grimy in that exploitative sense, the movie – as Hoskins looks on – has Kelly undressing in front of him while he watches her shower.  “Want someone to rub yer back?,” he asks.  Hell, he even picks up the soap for her.  Yeah, it’s completely creepy and unnerving, especially when he really comes on to her.  The man is seriously EVIL and it sends Kelly further into a downward spiral. 

And still no one believes her.

The Fifth Floor (1978) - Blu-ray Review

Directed by Howard Avedis and written by Meyer Dolinsky, this Human Experiments-like exploitation flick pre-dates Hell Hole by a number of years; however, it doesn’t take many chances with its material.  Is it any better?  Not really, even if it does have a ridiculously talented cast, this one is pretty tame with its leather and its whips and concerns itself more with getting the patients to line dance more than do some crazy shit for 90-minutes. 

Due to its limited budget and its brief drive-in showings, The Fifth Floor (and its stankalicious soundtrack) just hasn’t had the lasting power to be of much significance to anyone not down with the whole WIP movement in cult cinema.  The movie is also not nearly as graphic as you might suspect (or want) which renders it as solely a curiosity item for B-grade collectors. 

The Fifth Floor is waiting for you.  Because we all say crazy things when we are upset . . . don’t we?  Well, don’t we?!?!?!  Or am I the only one who needs professional help?  Shit.

3 beers


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The Fifth Floor (1978) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
90 mins
: Howard Avedis
Meyer Dolinsky
Bo Hopkins, Dianne Hull, Patti D'Arbanville
: Thriller
The Nightmare Is Knowing You're Sane.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I'm in the wrong place. I don't need a psychiatrist."
Theatrical Distributor:
Film Ventures International
Official Site:
Release Date:
November 15, 1978
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
November 13, 2018
Synopsis: A young woman (Dianne Hull, Aloha Bobby and Rose) collapses on the disco dance floor from what’s revealed to be strychnine poisoning. Assuming a suicide attempt, her boyfriend (John David Carson, Pretty Maids All in a Row) and her doctor have her committed to The Fifth Floor, an asylum with obviously crazy inmates, including Benny (Robert England, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Great Smokey Roadblock) and a predatory orderly Carl (Bo Hopkins, Killer Elite, Mutant). The problem is, she’s still sane – and her ordeal is just beginning.



[tab title="Blu-ray Review"]

The Fifth Floor (1978) - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Code Red DVD
Available on Blu-ray
- November 13, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.78:1
: English SDH
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Code Red presents the newly minted transfer of The Fifth Floor with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1.  The 1080p transfer is minted from a new HD master from the original camera negative.  Details are fine and shockingly crisp.  Colors pop and shadows are bold.  Nicely saturated, there are no dents in its shiny armor.  Overall this a strong Hi-Def transfer that should look even better on Blu-ray. This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. The audio mixes are also in great shape as dialog is always clear, everything sounds balanced and robust when it needs too. Also the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack are well represented.



  • While highly recommended, it is sad that there are no commentaries for the film.

Special Features:

There is a NEW interview with Bo Hoskins included with Code Red’s release.

  • Interview with Star Bo Hoskins (9 min)
  • TV Spots & Other Code Red Trailers



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The Fifth Floor (1978) - Blu-ray Review