on June 3, 2003
THE PSYCHO LOVER aka THE LOVING TOUCH concerns unhappily married psychiatrist Kenneth, whose aging, frigid wife loves the booze more than her husband. Small wonder he wants a divorce to live with his nice young mistress happily ever afterwards. Unfortunately for him his wife stubbornly refuses.
Kenneth also supports law enforcement with his expert advice. Police has caught a suspect in a series of horrible sex killings, but does not have physical evidence (they did not have DNA analysis in the early 70ies) and hence no case.[...]P>THE PSYCHO LOVER is a highly enjoyable early 70ies exploitation thriller. True, it is highly predictable, but that does not mar the fun too much. The rape/murder scenes are quite graphic, with even more nastiness implied (cue: ketchup bottle). However the sex maniac looks a bit ridiculous with his pantyhose masked grimaces.
There is enough sex and nudity as well as violence on display to keep you entertained. The film is accompanied by a nice easy listening soundtrack. And what's that for a cool car the headshrinker is driving? I did not see such a thing in my whole life!
IN THE HEAT OF MADNESS however is not so much fun. Not that it is a bad film, it is just drama rather than exploitation. The plot revolves around a photographer, who is assigned to shoot a photo series of staged sex murders for a pulp magazine. Much to the dismay of his fiance, the shooting sessions with their violent and sexual re-enactments of crimes seem to trigger some madness in the photographer, resulting in bloody murder...
This 1966 black and white movie has pretty good actors (especially Kevin SCOTT in the lead is very convincing) and a good story line, however is a bit l[weak] in the violence/sex department. Anyway, rewarding viewing at least once.
There are the usual short films SOMETHING WEIRD [...] on their DVD releases, however none of them is outstanding. There is THE NAKED FLOWER: A FABLE OF LOVE featuring some nudity and the most obviously faked fist fight ever performed in front of a camera and the gloating black and white "educational" short NAME UNKNOWN. This class room scare film stars a juvenile court judge detailing cases where teenage girls became victims of sex maniacs. It is interesting how the film tiptoes around sex crimes, which are only implied (one girl is found "unconscious")and how cynical the film's commentary sometimes is. The oddly named CAPTAIN BONDAGE VS. WOMEN`S LIB (!) shows a weirdly dressed man (imagine a masked superhero in SM garb with a big B on his belt) visting a feminist and the ensuing ropeplays. This weird short including the accompanying music defies description. Feminists however won't like this one too much, I'm afraid:)
Far better than the short features are the trailers. They are really GREAT and reason in itself to purchase this DVD. There is THE PSYCHO LOVER trailer (tagline: "If you are a woman, you'll never sleep alone again!"), the British THE FLESH AND BLOOD SHOW, a trailer for a rather sick movie called POOR ALBERT & LITTLE ANNIE, the black and white AROUSED, THE EXQUISITE CADAVER, TWISTED NERVE (my favorite of the bunch), THE WOMAN HUNT and the ultra violent SCREAM BLOODY MURDER ("The first motion picture to be called gore-nographic!"). All trailers have much sex, nudity and violence in it. Again: The trailers are so good that they alone reward the purchase of the DVD! Oh, there's also a hidden feature: a trailer for an early 1970ies adult movie named PSYCHODRAMA, where apparently a group therapy session results in an orgy including full frontal nudity, group sex and breast bondage! You can access this easter egg by highlighting THE PSYCHO LOVER trailer in the trailer section, but do not use the enter button on your remote control. Click twice the left direction button instead.
on August 22, 2003
I absolutely love the idea of a photographer becoming warped and twisted by the perversity he or she chooses to capture. Unfortunately, it seems that this idea is destined NOT to generate any good movies. Dario Argento's take on "The Black Cat" for the vignette film "Two Evil Eyes" is a case in point, but it has absolutely nothing on "The Heat of Madness" for sheer banality. It is very hard to imagine anyone genuinely liking this film. There is virtually no skin on display and the violence is strictly community-theater level retractable knife blades and blood packs. This would not be an issue (at least, not for me) if there was something else to focus on like, oh I don't know: ACTING SKILL? CINEMATOGRAPHY?! DECENT STORY?!! DOES ANYONE UNDERSTAND???!!! Instead the viewer is treated to pedestrian-level shot compositions, bland character portrayal and, worst of all, a storyline that had loads of possibilities and squanders them all.
The same can just as easily be said of "The Psycho-Lover." Despite some pretty kooky photography, tons of swingin'-'70s kitsch and a hallucination sequence that looks like "Laugh-In Goes to Hell," there just ain't much there there, if you know what I mean. The movie ambles along at with a look and a pace more suited to an episode of "Columbo," but with precious little of that series suspense or wit. There is some genuinely decent dialogue, but anyone at all familiar with thrillers will see where this little beauty is headed long before the "shocking" twist ending and the roll of the closing credits.
About the only reason anyone should even consider owning this disk is because of the trailers. As per usual, the supplemental materials included here are worth their weight in gold. There's a collection of trailers that includes spots for Pete Walker's "The Flesh and Blood Show" (a title I can't wait to see on the digital format), "Poor Albert and Little Annie" (actually a retitled version of "I Dismember Mama", and "Scream Bloody Murder" a.k.a: "The Captive Female" (though I prefer the "SBM" trailer included here). There's also an assortment of short subjects that must be seen (or not) to be believed. "Captain Bondage Versus Women's Lib" is pretty much exactly what you think it is. Shot on what looks to be color Super 8 film, it is true smut taken to the Nth degree. Taken in conjunction with another of the short subjects ("The Naked Flower"), one is left feeling mighty dirty, indeed. "Name Unknown," the final short-subject (this one a classroom scare film) is about the only one I can recommend. I love these things and experience severe bouts of nostalgia every time I watch one.
So, if you don't mind coughing up a few bills for at least three great trailers and one awesome short subject, I say have at it. Others are urged to look elsewhere.
on May 12, 2003
One must take into account that a lot of the "lost" films Something Weird releases to tape and DVD are "lost" for a good reason, i.e., they are not any good. PSYCHO LOVER is a good, sick piece of obscurity, about a psychiatrist scheming to get rid of his wife. It has a very Seventies look and feel, and THE MANCHURAIN CANDIDATE (yay!) is used as a major plot point. HEAT OF MADNESS is a black-and-white roughie about a rich girl who falls head over heels in love with a cheesecake photographer. The diretor is so unconcerned with art, he released this film without a musical score! If you've got time to waste -- alphabetize your CD collection instead!