17 August 2015 | Coventry
Therapy? With Kinski? What a crazy idea!
Although the plot and rating of "Schizoid" didn't look too promising, I nevertheless really wanted to see it for three (very good) reasons
Number one: I generally like slasher movies from the year 1980 or 1981, because back then this sub-genre wasn't yet impacted by the overload of "Halloween" and "Friday the 13th" clones. Number two: I was really interested to see a horror/thriller that starred both Klaus Kinski (one of my all-time favorite actors) and Christopher Lloyd in the earliest phase of his career (or at least, prior to the successful "Back to the Future" movies). And perhaps the biggest reason for me to track down "Schizoid" is the fact that it features so many typical trademarks of an Italian giallo! The killer, as he/she is briefly introduced during the opening sequences of the film, wears a long black raincoat and black leather gloves while his/her murder weapon is a sharp pair of scissors. These are preferred accessories of giallo-killers and, on top of that, he/she exclusively targets female victims and the murders bathe in a sexist atmosphere. My conclusion is that "Schizoid" is a moderately absorbing thriller with a handful of tense scenes and original touches, but regrettably also a large number of implausible twists. Beautiful Julie works as a columnist for a Californian newspaper, but she's caught in a difficult divorce and participates in the group therapy sessions of the acclaimed psychiatrist Dr. Pieter Fales. Julie starts receiving eerie letters that exist of newspaper clippings and talk of gruesome murders. The female members of her group therapy sessions are being killed off one by one as well. Who is the culprit? Is it the perverted Dr. Fales, who has sexual relations with all his patients? Or is it Dr. Fales' pre-ripe 16-year-old daughter, who hates her father and all the women he has sex with? Is it the mysteriously roaming and voyeuristic janitor Gilbert or Julie's ex-husband Doug who never wanted the divorce? Or perhaps Julie herself is the killer because, after all, the murder cases help increasing her popularity as a columnist! Like other reviewers already righteously pointed out, the biggest default of this film is the credibility of Klaus Kinski's character. As much as I worship this eccentric actor, he simply cannot pass for a psychiatrist; let alone a psychiatrist who manages to seduce and sleep with all his female patients. The search for the killer's identity, on the other hand, results in a couple of exciting sequences and a tense climax. The body count is sadly low for an early 80s slasher (only 3 victims) but the murder sequences are grim and atmospheric. The performances from the ensemble cast are just mediocre, with the exception of Donna Wilkes
She's downright fantastic and amazingly makes her young character Alison simultaneously sensual, creepy and forbidden. Solely based on her performance in this film, I've added the film "Angel" to my must-see list.