Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Julie Adams, Whit Bissell, Bill Bonner, Neville Brand, Judith Brown
Genres: Horror, Mystery & Suspense
Before CARRIE... before PATRICK... there was Arnold. — Jim Hutton (Don t Be Afraid of the Dark) stars in his final feature film as Arnold Masters, a gentle recluse wrongfully convicted of murder and confined to a snake pit ... more »
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"Perhaps the good sergeant died of a guilty conscience."
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 10/27/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I think most anyone who's seen Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), when asked the most memorable scene, would probably reply the swimming sequence featuring Julie Adams and the creature...it had a sort of sensual, romantic poetry to it, along with featuring Ms. Adams in a bathing suit. And I'll tell you what, seeing her some twenty years later in this film, Psychic Killer (1975), she's aged incredibly well, looking about as beautiful as she did back then...older, yes, but no less attractive, in my opinion. Co-written by Mikel Angel (The Love Butcher), Greydon Clark (Satan's Cheerleaders), and Ray Danton (The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond), who also directed here, the film stars Jim Hutton (Where the Boys Are, Major Dundee, The Green Berets), Paul Burke (Valley of the Dolls, The Thomas Crown Affair), and Julie Adams (Creature from the Black Lagoon, "General Hospital", McQ), who was also married to writer/director Danton at the time. Also appearing is Neville Brand (Stalag 17, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn), Nehemiah Persoff (Voyage of the Damned, Twins), Whit Bissell (Soylent Green), Mary Charlotte Wilcox (The Big Bus), Stack Pierce (Cool Breeze, Trader Horn), and Della Reese (Harlem Nights, "Touched by an Angel") in a minor, yet highly memorable role.
The film begins in a state run mental ward, as we see a man awakened in a panic, and run screaming through the facility until finally subdued. His name is Arnold Masters (Hutton), and he's plagued with nightmares about his deceased mother. The back story is his mother was really sick and needed an operation, one which he couldn't afford...no cash, no slash, that's our policy...anyway, the doctor who would have performed the operation wound up murdered, and Arnold, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, was accused, charged, and eventually convicted, all the while maintaining his innocence. Anyway, after his recent raving fit, Arnold is placing in the high security loony ward where he becomes friends with Emilio (Pierce), a voodoo guru of sorts. Emilo ends up taking his own life, but not before leaving Arnold some tools of the trade. Arnold's released (turns out the real murderer confessed) with a hearty slap on the back and a `no hard feelings' attitude from the hospital, and returns to the old homestead, with thoughts of revenge on the brain. You see, while Arnold was away, his mother passed on, and those he sees as responsible must be made to pay. There's the court appointed psychiatrist who testified against him, the negligent nurse (Wilcox) who was supposed to care for his sickly mother, the policeman who actually arrested him, Arnold's attorney who basically sold him out, and so on...and thus Arnold begins using his new powers to have out of body experiences to cause a series of bizarre and unexplained deaths, which baffle the police, including Lieutenant Morgan (Burke). Eventually Morgan does make a connection of sorts between the victims and Arnold, seeks the help of Arnold's doctor from the mental ward, Dr. Laura Scott (Adams), whom both end up looking towards a professor in parapsychology, Dr. Gubner (Persoff) for help in not only figuring out Arnold super whammy powers, but also how to stop him.
I think this is an excellent example of an inexpensive film done really well, displaying how far a solid story, a decent script, a professional cast of actors, and a good amount of effort can go towards producing an enjoyable film, one much better than I would have thought given its B movie trappings. The movie reminded me a lot of an earlier film titled The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971), featuring Vincent Price, in that the main character seeks revenge, through highly unusual means, against those he sees responsible for the death of a loved one. While the death scenes here, which got progressively more fantastic, aren't as elaborate as in `Phibes', they're still entertaining and even slightly comedic. One of the aspects I really liked about this film was how director Danton, who was primarily an actor in his time, kept things moving along, reasonably focused, and used great location shots to his advantage. Very little time was wasted, and my interest was maintained throughout the nearly hour and a half running time. As far as the actors I thought they all did well, especially Hutton and Burke in their roles. In the beginning one can't help but feel a sense of sympathy for Hutton's character, but that changes quickly, especially when Arnold begins playfully taunting the police. One slightly, strange aspect was how far the filmmakers went to prove how deserving each of Arnold's victims were, like the doctor who was about to engage in a sleazy, adulterous affair prior to his death, the nurse who purposely and shamelessly flirted with her terminally ill, bed-ridden patient (exposing her cleavage and such), and the belligerent butcher (who was Arnold's mother's coroner, I believe) who had a penchant for ripping off his customers, and suffered perhaps the nastiest demise. As far as the lawyer character and his eventual fate, there really didn't seem a need to vilify him as most people I know who've had experiences with his ilk would have loved to have done what Arnold did, that is dropping a two-ton cement block on top of his head. Another thing, there was just enough psuedo scientific material, provided by Persoff's character of Dr. Gubner, to lend a sense of believability to Arnold's newfound abilities, thus requiring less of a suspension of disbelief than one would normally expect in a film like this...again, credit goes here to the strength of the material relative to the genre. I also appreciated Adam's character, that of Dr. Scott, a strong, vibrant, caring individual caught between concerns for the welfare of her ex-patient but also fearful of his involvement in the murders. My favorite scene in the film features Neville Brand as a butcher and Della Reese as a dissatisfied customer, the two engaging in a heated exchange with regards to his dishonest business practices. Neither one seemed willing back down an inch...who hasn't wanted to tell off a dishonest merchant at least once in their life like Ms. Reese did here?
The widescreen (1.85:1) picture on this Elite Entertainment DVD release looks very clean and clear, and the Dolby Digital 2.0 audio comes through well. The only extra included is an original theatrical trailer.
By the way, I have nothing against lawyers personally...they may not be well received in general, but when you need one, be thankful if you find a good one.
Good 70's chiller
Pvp Group | Belfast, County Down United Kingdom | 09/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Psychic Killer is my favourite 70's B movie. The idea, and story of a killer who does not have to be near is victims, is handled exceptionally well. Jim Hutton is excellent as usual and the supporting cast relish in their roles. One either to buy or to borrow, but you must see it."
A LOW BUDGET HORROR FILM WORTH SEEING!
! MR. KNOW IT ALL ;-b | TRI STATE AREA | 08/18/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's nice to see this available on DVD and looking this crisp and clean with numerous trailers as a bonus. I had not seen this film in about 20 years, but it holds up well and is way better than most films of this kind. This is a low budget horror film that is handled well and shows you don't have to have a big budget to produce and effective and entertaining movie. The cast is very good and much better than the usual you find in this sort of thing.
It's a strange film as it seems like a TV movie one minute and then turns gruesome and nasty the next or at least too suggestive and nasty for TV at the time. The simple story and quick paced direction make this one both creepy and fun. Hutton acquires the ability to project an astral form to do his bidding and uses this power to seek revenge for the people who wrong him and his mother. While the deaths aren't too graphic they do stick with you. The director makes sure you don't like the victims so watching them meet horrible deaths is a guilty pleasure. The film doesn't waste any time getting to it, but enough background is given to make us care about the characters.
It was great to see Whit Bissell (I was a Teenage Werewolf and many other horror, western and sci-fi films and TV shows) and Julie Adams (Creature from the Black Lagoon) in this neat little film that stuck with me from my childhood. At the time this was a fairly intense a graphic film, but not by today's standard.
Really enjoyable b-movie
filterite | Dublin, Ireland | 04/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The basic idea of this is that Arnold Masters is sent to a mental hospital for committing a crime he thinks he didn't commit and befriends a black man who not only believes him but gives him his black magic set after he dies. He is set free from the hospital after some bizarre happenings and comes home to find life in the old house has become dilapidated and filled with cobwebs. Being on his own since his mother passed away, he reads the old letters he sent to his mother and sees that they were partially censored which he finds deeply upsetting. He venges to make the people who done him wrong pay. And he makes sure he does that by using the black magic set he was given. One by one the victims are killed and the police are clueless to who it is until the missing pieces suddenly fall into place.
While the acting may be a bit ropey occasionally, the film plays out extremely well and occasionally has a few blackly comical scenes in the mix to ease the viewer somewhat. The tension though is created well and altogether the film is compelling viewing. Some scenes such as The Nurse's Death will provide enough amusement for all and the operatic property expert might possibly raise a chuckle or two. Sure there are shades of Psycho and possibly The Wicker Man about it ( but the last reference is only somewhat brief ) but the film can easily hold itself on it's own. Ultimately it is a really enjoyable movie but one that is utterly bleak in it's outlook on revenge and loss and the sad ending to this only makes it all the more so."