Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Psychic Killer

Director - Ray Danton (Tales of the Unexpected, The Incredible Hulk)
Starring - Paul Burke (Shaft, Naked City), Jim Hutton (Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color, The Wide World of Mystery), and Julie Adams (Creature from the Black Lagoon, One Step Beyond)
Release Date - 1975
Genre - Horror/Thriller
Tagline - "A whole new kind of murder"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     I haven't reviewed that many horror films from the 70s.  When I toss in a 70s flick it is usually a blaxploitation, exploitation, and sexploitation flicks.  I've reviewed a few horror films, mostly Hammer horror, but most of the time I never review horror flicks from the 70s so when I get one in to review I am a little more excited to see it than others because they are so few and far in between.  A month or so ago my friends over at Vinegar Syndrome sent me the film Psychic Killer, aka The Kirlian Force, to review.  This is one I've had for a few years on DVD but never actually watched it.  I figured that the best way to see it for the first time would be on blu.  Thanks Vin Syn for sending this one my way.
     The film follows Arnold Masters (Hutton) who is wrongfully imprisoned for a murder he did not do.  While he is locked away he becomes friends with another inmate who tells him that he is going to kill his daughter's pimp before he dies.  That morning Arnold hears that the pimp was murdered and later that day his friend climbs the fence and jumps to his death.  He leaves his belongings to Arnold and among them is a small necklace.  When he puts the necklace on he instantly gets a headache.  Soon he finds himself out of his body and exacting revenge on those that had their hand in putting him in jail.  Its a race against the clock as he tries to kill everyone before a police detective can stop him anyway he can.
     I was curious how a film like Psychic Killer would play out.  Was it going to be a supernatural thriller or would it be in the same line as Scanners?  I figured the film would play out like a supernatural thriller but I was not expecting the type of characters that we got.  The acting in this one is solid.  The film's star is Jim Hutton but he is rather boring and flat.  Even when he is killing all we get is him sitting in a chair casually.  His performance is lackluster to say the least.  With that being said, Paul Burke was great.  He was fucking intense when it called for it and charming when the scene needed it.  The story for this one was entertaining for the most part but missed a lot of opportunities.  I say that about a lot of different horror movies but this one missed some great opportunities that would have made this one unforgettable.  The film makes good use of the time but does not explore the psychic portion of the film.  Also, we do not get any kind of background story on the necklace he wears.  This should have been mandatory.  Finally, the film has several kills that are easily forgettable and not that entertaining.  We don't see Arnold killing anyone but an invisible force doing it.  There was one scene, in the butcher shop, that has so much promise but we were robbed of the kill and imagination.  Overall, Psychic Killer is an entertaining film with an intriguing story.  Sadly, the story does not live up to its full potential and we are not given the kills we rightly deserve.  Check it out just keep that in mind.

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