“Psychic Killer” is an example how promising premise can be beaten down to a level of those laughable slashers. We have all heard of expression “if looks  could  kill”, but how about thoughts? Well, that is precisely the setup of this Ray Danton’s 1975 horror outing.

quote

Above posted quote of some random physicist at the start of the movie gives us a clue of what we might expect here. And not too soon since we witness riot of mental patients in the first scene. One of them tries to break out but with no luck. His name is Arnold (played by Jim Hutton, father of Timothy Hutton, in  his final film). Arnold had been accused for murder but he doesn’t want to confess it. In his later conversation with another inmate Emilio (played by Stack  Pierce) we find out that he had been accused for murder of a doctor who didn’t want to perform surgery on his dying mother. Of course, Arnold claims he is  innocent (bah they all do). Emilio believes him and told him a story about how he killed his daughter for becoming a whore (oh tough love), and that he will  help Arnold to find justice. But first things first. Emilio, for his final act, plans to get revenge on a pimp who turned his daughter into whore? But how  does he plan to do that? Simple. He possesses a secret weapon. A medallion! The following night we can see Emilio in his cell, holding that medallion in  front of his eyes and focuses on it. Oh black guy is doing some voodoo staff, how racist. The next morning he approached Arnold, told him about details of  his murder and then jumped into his death, in a scene that can be described as quite possibly the worst staged fall scene in history of cinema! Anyway, see  for yourself.

 

Next day Arnold receives a package sent to him by Emilio. Inside he finds a picture of Emilio’s daughter (very ugly chick, that pimp must have been blind), a newspaper clip about the murder committed in exact same way Emilio had described, and…a medallion. Medallion caused Arnold to fall in state of deep shock, making him look dead. No one at asylum had bothered to check if he is is still alive, so they jumped right onto doing autopsy on a living man. Cut the middleman, I say. Or, in this case, poor nerdy looking Arnold. Luckily for him, he woke up after the first incision. Asylum doesn’t need another bad publicity, not after Emilio’s flight off the fence, so they were glad to release Arnold after receiving a paper about all charges against him being dismissed. Apparently someone confessed the murder of doctor Arnold was accused of. He now may return to normal life. Something tells me that word “normal” had been used too lightly in this case. Anyway, Arnold went back home where he finds censored undelivered letters from his mother. Reading them made him to start crying out loud (that guy obviously has mother issues). His cat opens the package with his stuff and takes out the medallion. Arnold interprets it as a sign for payback time!

 

this-man-is-clearly-innocentThis man is clearly innocent

First person who wronged him is a doctor Taylor (played by Whitt Bissell) who testified against him on trial. Arnold used the medallion for astral projection (literally) to doctor’s hunting cabin. He finds him there with much younger woman. Doctor intends to cure her illness with some unconventional methods. Just when doctor was about to give girl his special drops, Arnold lured him out and made him to shoot himself, leaving behind half-naked slut to clean out a mess by herself.

 

Next one on death list is Nurse Burnson (played by Mary Wilcox), who were  derelict her duties of taking care of Arnold’s mother. From what I have seen here, she is not only lazy. She is scumbag. Nurse Burnson is checking up old man stuck to his bad at his home, starts complaining about tight nurse uniform and how there is no one to take care of her. Poor old man is fighting not to get heart attack while she is undressing in front of him, oil her legs and uses his shower. Big mistake since that’s where our Arnold is waiting for her. Of course this scene is a complete rip off of famous shower scene in “Psycho”. The only difference is that nurse had been killed by hot water instead of Norman Bates with knife.

home-treatmentHome treatment

Lt. Morgan (played by Paul Burke) suspects something strange is going on here. 2 mysterious deaths in less than 12 ours. What is refreshing here is that in this movie detective really wants to solve the case. He sends Sergeant Sowash (played by Greydon Clark), who by the way was the one which arrested Arnold, to check out doctor’s cabin again in search for some extra clues. But he hadn’t arrived to his destination since Arnold forced him to drive his car off the cliff. Too bad this scene wasn’t capped off with explosion. This made Morgan pissed off so he visits Arnold who denies everything. Why wouldn’t he? The man never left his house. Morgan still doesn’t believe him so he and Doctor Scott (played by Julie Adams), who’s patient was Arnold, decided to watch closer over him. They moved into apartment across the Arnold’s house from where they observed him through the telescope while he was sleeping in chair. What they didn’t know is that Arnold was planning and executing his next murder. Target is Italian judge (played by Harry Holcombe) who made a travesty out of his trial. Italian died at construction site in a Wile E. Coyote style scene that was intended to provide comic relief.

 

It was too much for Morgan so he decided to get his own relief by inviting doctor Scott to dinner over at his place. He managed to score which pissed off Arnold who was as well growing a feelings towards her. So he astral projected himself one more time to her house and explained some things to her. Terrified doctor told everything to Morgan but he wouldn’t believe her. So they visited local mad parapsychologist who managed to persuade Lt. Morgan into the existence of out of body experience. They ran back to Arnold’s house where they found him still sleeping in a chair. While they stabbed and probed him Arnold performed another murder. This time the victim was a local butcher Lemonowski (played by Neville Brand). Now I don’t know what did he do to make Arnold  pissed off at him, but I doubt it was cutting his mother into pieces and selling her meat in his shop as Arnold had imagined.

 

After dealing with tyrant butcher Arnold decided to make one last visit to Dr. Scott where he tried to score her while she was sleeping (I don’t know how it works with astral projection). Doctor was once more terrified, called Morgan and parapsychologist in order to confront Arnold once and forever. But they were too late. Arnold was found dead in his chair. Wanting to risk nothing Morgan stole the body and took it to the local crematorium. Meanwhile, doctor Scott remained in Arnold’s house where she found parapsychologist dead. Arnold appears, holds a little speech and when was about to finish off doctor his body burned itself to ashes. His cat finds the medallion and that’s the end scene. But is it really the end?

Conclusion: “Psychic Killer” is a strange story about a killer who wants revenge and is able to get it from a rather considerable distance. Not that this makes it a bad film, necessarily. What does make it a bad film is pretty much everything else. We early on get a body falling off a building that is about as fake as can be. Other deaths are equally cheesy, with maybe one that was at least a bit worthy of respect – though not praise. There was also bad music which doesn’t match the scenery. I’m not sure if the music would have matched much of anything, but it certainly didn’t go with what we saw. The film is hardly a sleek-looking affair, and seems at times a bit crudely put together, but again, it is an interesting and occasionally highly entertaining flick. Horror fans may find this a good film to pass the time with, but unless you’re drinking or have a high tolerance for bad movies, this one isn’t anything special.

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