FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Jan 25, 2006

Supernatural 70s Week! Day 3

This past weekend while browsing through the racks at a used video store, Rachael picked up a copy of the 1977 thriller The Psychic and handed it to me. I took one look at the HR Giger-esque box art, read "Directed by Lucio Fulci" on the back, and decided it had to come home with us. "Hot diggity dog!" I exclaimed, then jumped in the air and clicked my heels together. I hopped into the convertible and headed back to Riverdale with Archie and the gang.

OK, only some of that is true- you figure it out. Whatever really happened that day, The Psychic did in fact make it home with us and became the hump in Supernatural 70s Week.

Jennifer "Battle of the Network Stars" O'Neill stars as Virginia, a woman who's had psychic visions ever since the day she 'saw' her mother commit suicide hundreds of miles away. Yup, l'il Virginia started to freak out in Italy while mom was plummeting off a cliff in England. Spooooky!

Next thing you know, it's 18 years after the incident (and YES, of course there's a sensitive musical montage over the opening credits), and Virginia begins to have visions of a murder that took place in the house she's going to renovate to surprise her husband. She sees sorta wavy, sorta foggy images of paintings, lamps, bloody faces, a woman who looks like Phyllis Diller in a blue fright know how these visions are. She spots a watermark on the wall and immediately flips out. Virginia takes a pick axe to the wall and eventually finds a skeletal body hidden away! Yeeaagggh!

While the house is an unliveable dump, Virginia's husband has owned it for years. The police eventually figure out the identity of the body in the wall- it's a young woman who was, of course, a lover of Virginia's husband. Put one and one together and hubby is in jail for murder.

Standing by her man in true fashion, Virginia gets her Murder She Wrote on and decides to decipher the clues in her visions to figure out the real culprit. That's all fine and dandy until Virginia realizes that she's been having visions of the future, not the past...

Lucio "We are going to eat you!" Fulci, the man behind Zombie, has crafted a thriller here that falls short of being...well, good. While it's got a tighter plot than most of his other films, The Psychic also has atrocious dialogue and a huge span in the middle that is just plain dull. Virginia has visions so often...actually, just one vision, over and over...and they're accompanied by lots of staring. Quiet staring. Staring. Staring. Staring. Wavy foggy vision. Staring. Boring, right?

Fulci was reknowned for his gore, but it's in short supply here. In fact, the only shocking bit comes right at the beginning: when Virginia's mom takes a swan dive, her face repeatedly hits the cliff as she falls- leaving, shall we say, skid marks on the rock. There's some blood in the rest of the movie, but if you're looking for Fulci grossness, watch Zombie again.

The Psychic has a great beginning, a pretty decent ending (it would've been pretty damn good, but it sort of stops mid-sentence, if you know what I mean), and a very tedious middle. Great, crazy Goblin-ish soundtrack, though. Overall, meh. I give it 4 out of 10 face chunks.

That box art, to the best of my knowledge, is not by HR Giger. The more you look at it, the less Giger-y it seems. Lips on a skull are simultaneously funny and disturbing, though. While trying to solve the mystery of its origins, I did come across this however:

Excuse me, how fucking sweet is that? It's outside the Giger museum in Switzerland. I wish cities would grow some sac and do crazy stuff like that more often. Why aren't there aliens everywhere? Hanging from trees, hidden around would certainly make walking to the store more fun. Maybe I should run for mayor or something.

I also found this during my research:

It's the cover for an Emerson Lake and Palmer album, by Giger. My parents had it, and the cover used to terrify me. It was a gatefold: the dark part with the skull-looking thingy opened up and there was a face underneath. Completely terrified me, yet I looked at it every time my parents had the record playing.


warrenzone said...

I am very into The Psychic, I have it in that same funny box you have. I also have the ELP record.

John Barleycorn said...

An Emerson, Lake, and Palmer album would scare just about anyone.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read this review yet because I haven't seen this movie, but I own it. I've seen the beginning and when that lady takes a header off the cliff, it's such a YEE-OUCH moment. I dig on Fulci, usually, so I'm not sure why I keep this off.

And Jennifer O'Neill is WHITE HOT.

Amanda By Night