Schizoid (1980)

R   |    |  Drama, Horror, Mystery

Schizoid (1980) Poster

An advice columnist in the midst of getting a divorce begins receiving threatening notes from an anonymous stalker. Meanwhile, members of her group therapy session are being murdered by an unknown assailant.


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3 April 2016 | Quinoa1984
| not terrible completely but certainly not good - that middle ground slasher
Schizoid is fairly up front with you in the first 5 minutes or so: if you like seeing very sleazy movies where a guy in black gloves and a pair of scissors is going after women in not-terribly-clever-but-direct ways, then this is for you. But in place of having a director with some actual visual appeal or attempts at creating a distinct style like some of the Giallo directors (i.e. Argento or Fulci), you get here instead the 'different' side of things with casting: Klaus Kinski. For me, I thought this was the filmmakers going about it somewhat obviously - like, of course he's the killer, right? I mean, look at him! Or it might be Christopher Lloyd, who is the sort of maintenance man who shares an elevator with the main female character after fixing the boiler (so he says) and showing what a handy-man he is by moving the elevator by pressing a button with a screwdriver. Or could it be... someone else??

This is fairly standard stuff - the main woman, Julie of "Dear Julie", is part of some sort of weekly couples (or singles?) therapy group that also includes Lloyd's character, and we see how these murders unfold and how Julie wants to try to entrap the killer, who seems to be sending those word-cut-up type of letters - and yet it's hard not to want to keep watching with Kinski there. This is basic stuff for him, but he takes it seriously enough, and even created some ambiguity with his character. He also gets to play MELODRAMA (in bold type) with his daughter character, who lost a mother years before and blames him for it some reason or another. They have father-daughter squabbles, and those are some of the more entertaining scenes of the movie. For what it's worth, he makes it sort of compelling.

The rest of it is not very remarkable, neither in the kills (again there's little tension since we've seen these before, or at least you have if you've ever seen a horror movie, let along a slasher) nor in what seem to be red herrings going left and right (i.e. Lloyd's character, who gets kind of short-shrifted in the grand scheme of the story). The filmmaker, David Paulsen, didn't do that much else other than this movie and one other, and it's clear he's in it to create the requisite drama necessary to keep the story going, without putting in the work to make the dialog more than groan-indusing. And Craig Wasson, who one would later see in Body Double, is relegated to a role that any actor could play... almost, anyway.

Even the title is kind of disappointing; there's not too much of any kind of 'schizo' side to things, and we're just waiting for the other shoe to drop as far as when the killer may strike next or go after Julie, or when the cops might do *something* with this case. And yet because of people like Kinski and Marianna Hill (who is alright as Julie, just enough to get by), I can't say it's a total failure or mess. It's just... there, with some sleazy 80's horror-synth and a "twist" ending that reeks of hackery.

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