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!

Sep 12, 2013

VHS Week, Day 3: PATRICK

You've gone to the prom with Carrie. You've spoken in tongues with Jennifer. Now, lie around and stare at the ceiling with...PATRICK!

Okay, that's not the tagline for Patrick (1978) and clearly I have no business trying to write taglines. But, the idea of a '70s movie with a single-named telekinetic teen certainly brings to mind Carrie and Jennifer (but, unfortunately, not Ruby), doesn't it? While this shocker from Australia is reminiscent of those similar films, it's unique enough to warrant a viewing.

And man, I just have to say, this VHS copy I have is amazing. Why? Because it begins with these three trailers, in this order:

Okay, that last one...I couldn't find the exact trailer for Stoner, but you get the point. And that point is, trailers for a horror movie, a sex comedy, and a kung fu flick followed by a "suspense thriller"? Holy crap, this tape contains a perfect drive-in experience. Well, as perfect as you can get without, you know, actually being at the drive-in. Years ago. Sigh.

Anybody expecting Carrie-style pig blood-n-explosionanigans will be disappointed by Patrick, which is far more slow, quiet, and strange. As I mentioned, the film is pegged as a "suspense thriller"; this ain't balls-out horror, and that's just fine.

Our titular wackadoo kicks things off by offing his mom and her lover as they enjoy splashing around in a post-coital bath. Mommy issues and sexual hangups, two great tastes that taste psychotic together! What Patrick didn't see coming, though, is that he'd also be injured in the accident. Three years later, he lies comatose in a mental hospital, all intense stare and glorious unibrow.

From there,the movie becomes your standard unconscious boy meets nurse, nurse is the only hospital staff member not trying to kill or experiment on unconscious boy, unconscious boy falls for nurse, unconscious boy uses telekinetic powers to inflict harm on nurse's suitors tale. Dime a dozen these stories, I swear!

As far as effects and, like, death scenes are concerned, Patrick is super tame and it's no surprise the film is rated PG. To that, I say YEAH, SO? It's engaging, and there are some interesting themes subtly at play here, such as the eternal science vs religion royal rumble and euthanasia vs quality of life. Still, if the slower pace of older cinema ain't your bag, you may not dig it. Your loss, sucker!


Michael Perridge said...

I saw that at the cinema in a double bill with Carrie or Psychic Killer or somesuch and all I can remember is it might have been Australian and somebody eats a frog, perhaps against their will ... but memory is a funny thing.

CashBailey said...

It's also featured prominently in the brilliant documentary NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD, about the Aussie exploitation boom of the 70's and 80's.