Tuesday, October 9, 2012

31 Nights of Terror '12 #3 - Schizo

 The cover of my VHS copy of Schizo

Schizo (1976)
Director: Peter Walker
Starring: Lynne Frederick, John Leyton, Stephanie Beacham
Format: VHS (Warner Home Video)

Plot: Samantha (Frederick, VAMPIRE CIRCUS) and Alan (former pop star Leyton) are getting married, but William Haskins isn't pleased. He grabs a train south to London and begins shadowing Samantha as she tries to get on with married life. Haskins' attempts to frighten her drive Samantha to desperation, but she's having trouble convincing anyone that she's being stalked. Even her psychiatrist dismisses her concerns as part of her neurosis. As bodies begin turning up, Samantha's story becomes more believable, and her dark secret from the past begins to reveal itself.

English psychological thriller Schizo could also be considered an early slasher, or a British version of a giallo, albeit with a smaller body count than most. Perhaps the best comparison would be Black Christmas, only in that the killer's identity is known from the start. Or is it? I'm not going to spoil anything, but there's a twist that you'll see coming a mile away.

Director Pete Walker (HOUSE OF WHIPCORD, FRIGHTMARE) puts the kettle on the stove and lets it boil slowly. Frederick does an admirable job as Samantha first comes off looking like an overly-paranoid woman but before long is fighting for her life as those around her start dying. It doesn't hurt that she's extremely cute and spends a lot of screen-time in the buff.

The kills offer some good gore (the best being the knitting needle through the back of the head and out the eye) and the acting's pretty good across the board. Jack Watson is suitably creepy as stalker William Haskins.

If you're in the mood for a slow-boiling British psycho slasher, Schizo is worth a watch.

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