BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review
- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
I’m killing you…with my mind! This is the mad premise of character actor Ray Danton’s Psychic Killer. Released in 1975, the B-movie is probably still known among certain groups due to the simple fact that, despite a shocking amount of blood and a “boobalicious” nude shower killing, the film received a PG rating from the clowns at the MPAA. Obviously, they didn’t bother to finish the film before slapping it with a rating that suggested it was harmless entertainment. Murder via the far-fetched theory of astral projection is, apparently, fun for the entire family!
Spinning its web from within the motherly tombs of Hitchcock’s Psycho, Danton’s flick takes Norman’s mom complex to another level as the mother-obsessed Arnold Masters (Jim Hutton, father of that Timothy) is found guilty of a murder he did not commit. While in prison, he is taught the techniques of astral projection by another inmate who brags about killing a pimp from his cell and discovers a rare talent to control things at will thanks to an amulet the prisoner bequeaths him. He gets stronger and stronger in his abilities and, upon his release, his anger at missing out on his mother’s remaining days on earth leads him to take vengeance upon the people responsible for unjustly imprisoning him in the first place...and butchers who insult him.
Mind revenge will be his! But Lieutenant Jeff Morgan (Paul Burke) believes there is more to Masters than he is publicly confessing. He is hot on his trail and the psychiatrist, Dr. Laura Scott (Julie Adams of Creature from the Black Lagoon fame), assigned to Masters is also suspicious of his coded lsnguage. Just how far in his revenge killing will he get? Only the expertise of psychic expert Dr. Gubner (Nehemiah Persoff) can tell for sure and that’s if Masters doesn’t get to him first.
To be fair, Psychic Killer is trash cinema at its most rote. Not every cult cinema follower will fall in line behind this one. The acting is limited. The direction is flawed. And there’s little sense of suspense to much of the hocus pocus hootenanny. And yet somehow it remains intriguing in that car crash sort of way. You. Can't. Look. Away. It’s truly unsettling. I suppose this is why we are still writing about this little film and why Vinegar Syndrome has seen fit to release the fully uncut version, newly restored in 2K from its original camera negative.
Danton directed three films before calling it quits and Psychic Killer is the finest of the lot. That’s not saying much in the realm of B-movies but, hell, the film hits its target more often than it misses so, yeah, I should shutup and you should check it out. Co-written by Mikel Angel (The Love Butcher), Greydon Clark (Satan's Cheerleaders), and Danton himself, Psychic Killer might have been made when astral projection and Kirlian Photography were all the rage but that doesn’t stop it from still being a memorable b-movie SINsation.
MPAA Rating: PG.
Runtime: 89 mins
Director: Ray Danton
Writer: Greydon Clark, Mikel Angel
Cast: Paul Burke, Jim Hutton, Julie Adams
Genre: Thriller | Horror
Tagline: "First it drives you mad, then it kills and kills and kills!"
Memorable Movie Quote:
Distributor: Embassy Pictures
Release Date: December 1975
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: May 31, 2016
Synopsis: A former mental patient uses astral projection to destroy the people he believes have wronged him.
Available on Blu-ray - May 31, 2016
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD-50, 1 DVD); DVD copy
Region Encoding: A
Vinegar Syndrome prides itself on restoring cult films. Their release of Psychic Killer is a great example of their quality of work. Fully restored in 2K from a recently discovered 35mm negative, the 1080p transfer, presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, is gloriously gritty with eye-catching details. The AVC encoded image provides a nice layer of grain and solid black levels that add a bit more depth to the picture than ever seen before. The film’s original mono DTS-HD MA soundtrack, which also supplies clean dialogue and the film’s soundtrack, is the only source of audio so you will need to TURN IT UP.
The release is fairly standard for Vinegar Syndrome. Of course, you get the reversible sleeve art, the TV Spots, and the original theatrical trailer. That’s a given but they also have supplied it with a few featurettes that fans will enjoy. All three featurettes sport new interviews with the cast and the crew.
- The Danton Force (9 min)
- The Aura of Horror (13 min)
- The Psychic Killer Inside Me (8 min)
- TV Spots