‘Mother may I go out and kill?’
The Psychopath is a 1965 [released 1966] British horror thriller film directed by Freddie Francis from a screenplay by Robert Bloch (Psycho). The Amicus production stars Patrick Wymark, Margaret Johnston, Alexander Knox, and John Standing.
This murder mystery contains elements of Edgar Wallace and is, in effect, a British giallo (albeit one scripted by an American writer), made just a year after Mario Bava’s seminal Blood and Black Lace. The presence of Italian actress Gina Gianelli in a fetishistic shiny red coat is also a nod towards gialli.
The film’s distinctive score was composed by Elisabeth Lutyens (Paranoiac; The Earth Dies Screaming; The Skull).
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On April 10, 2018 The Psychopath was released in the USA on Blu-ray and DVD by Kino Classics. Special Features include:
- Audio Commentary by Film Historian Troy Howarth
- Reversible Artwork
A cynical police inspector (Wymark) investigates a string of murders where the victims have dolls attached to their bodies. The trail soon leads to one Mrs. Von Sturm (Johnston), who knows a set of dark secrets that may hold the key to the murders…
“It is pretty obvious from the beginning who the psycho is, because she plays with dolls, and shuts out the world, though the movie has a rather simple twist that fends us off from solving the mystery until the end. But if you read the tea leaves of the art direction, however, it is clear from the very first moment when the inspector comes to the house of Von Sturm, that there is a problem.” rmarts
“The Psychopath isn’t the best film from neither Francis or Bloch, but if you tend to enjoy moderately twisted sixties thrillers or just yet another production from Amicus, this might be something for you.” Ninja Dixon
“The colours seem to have been ruined in the laboratory, and except for a suitably shocking opening sequence depicting a long-drawn-out murder, and an effective chase scene in a deserted boathouse, Francis’s direction has little to recommend it.” Phil Hardy (editor), The Aurum Film Enclycopedia: Horror
” … while it’s tempting to lump The Psychopath in with the suspense films being released throughout the 1960s in England, like those from Hammer … it’s difficult to deny that the film’s macabre, sensational palette stands out in garish contrast. Again the word to drum up is “pulpy”: The Psychopath feels vivid and hastily sketched in a way that the Italian gialli of the ’60s-’70s always do and that the polished British psychological thrillers never do.” Nessun Timore
“The opening murder is a hypnotically drawn out sequence in which there is continuous gentle movement, be it by the camera or within the frame, in pans to the right, in static shots of a car window winding up and a tyre going down, all of this beautifully pointed and paced by cinematographer John Wilcox. The car prowls the victim Klemer just as later the noose will stalk Ledoux (Robert Crewdson) through the junkyard. Patrick Wymark is, as ever, a solid presence…” Paul Higson, The Shrieking Sixties: British Horror Films 1960 – 1969
Mrs. Von Sturm: “Years can be cruel… but not as cruel as men!”
Patrick Wymark (Repulsion; The Skull; The Blood on Satan’s Claw), Margaret Johnston, John Standing (Torture Garden), Alexander Knox (The Damned), Judy Huxtable (Scream and Scream Again; Die Screaming Marianne), Thorley Walters (Dracula: Prince of Darkness; Twisted Nerve; Vampire Circus), Robert Crewdson (The Night Caller), Colin Gordon, Tim Barrett, Frank Forsyth, Olive Gregg, Harold Lang (Doctor Terror’s House of Horrors), Gina Gianelli (The Deadly Bees), Peter Diamond.
The working title was Schizo.
We are most grateful to Zombos’ Closet for posting the press book online
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