Keeping in sync with the Loose Cannons Podcast, I watched David Paulsen’s 1980 slasher Schzoid this week.
As if it’s not bad enough that advice columnist Julie (Marianna Hill) is receiving threatening letters, someone is also killing off the members of her therapy group. Will she be next?
I had seen this movie before, but my recollections were very few and far between, having watched the shaved-down Movie Macabre version some twenty-five years ago. As a thriller, it’s pretty mediocre with a bait & switch that fools pretty much no one. However, if you can get past the super gross father-daughter relationship between Klaus Kinski and Donna Wilkes – I wonder if this is why he took the part – the movie did have its charms.
The cast, which also included Craig Wasson, Richard Herd and Christopher Lloyd were great and all given entertaining, if not extraneous, bits to chew on. If seeing Wasson infatuate over wallpaper and Lloyd drone on about his one love – being a maintenance man – then boy, are you in for a treat!
The best are the exchanges between the two cops, Herd and Joe Regalbuto, though. Apart from the usual “man this job is really getting to me” repartee, there’s this hilarious bit where they decide to show Hill all their homicide files, just to prove how busy they are. But then, literally the next scene, they were all “we can’t divulge that info” when Kinski asked for a victim’s cause of death. That’s a real tight ship you’re running there, guys.
But really, I think the star of this movie is the score by Craig Huxley. Holy shit, it is bonkers! At times, it sounds like he just let a bunch of cats loose in a room full of instruments. My favourite was the sting that accompanied the first reveal of the murder weapon. It sounded like Michael Jackson’s Thriller!
What I found particularly strange was that the brutality of the murders often didn't match up with the tone of the rest of the picture. The movie also meanders a lot in the middle, which makes me think it may have been a perfect movie to get the Elvira treatment. Schzoid lies in that sizable list of B-movies that were populated by slumming established actors rubbing elbows with others who were on their way to bigger and better things – Lloyd would become Doc Brown only five years later.
Still, I did have a smile-slash-smirk on my face while watching a good deal of this, so that’s something. That’s Cannon to a T though, isn’t it?
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