Psychopath (1973)

psychopath 3

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 0 out of 10

4-Word Review: TV host kills parents.

Mr. Rabbey (Tom Basham) is a puppeteer who hosts a popular children’s show on TV as well as working at the local hospital where he performs puppet shows for the sick children. It is there that he becomes aware of the abuse that children receive at the hands of their parents and decides to try and put a stop to it by stalking the parents he considers to be responsible and killing them.

This low budget ‘70s excursion fails at its own novel concept by creating unlikable victims that makes the viewer enjoy seeing them get offed and to a degree sympathize with their killer. The over-the-top way the parents berate their children, which is poorly acted to boot, gives the thing a Reefer Madness-like quality. It also doesn’t explain what happens to the children after the parents are killed or who takes care of them. Whether this was made as a social statement or simply using the idea to make an offbeat horror film is unclear, but it fails on both ends.

Basham, whose next film wasn’t until 35 years later when he starred in The Appearance of a Man, certainly has a creepy look and I liked his bowl haircut and beady eyes, which are put to full use with lots of close-ups, but the banal material doesn’t allow for any interesting characterizations. The movie also marks the film debut of John Ashton who appears as a police detective as well as an early role for Margaret Avery who plays a nurse.

There are some ‘70s horror films where you have to forgive the long periods of stodgy drama, derivative dialogue and wooden characters if it can at least have a few scary moments or gory special effects, but this film never gets there. Instead it’s mechanical and unimaginative with amateurish production values that supplies zero scares or shocks.

psychopath 2

Alternate Title: An Eye for an Eye

My Rating: 0 out of 10

Released: September 28, 1973

Runtime: 1Hour 24Minutes

Rated PG

Director: Larry G. Brown

Studio: Intercontinental Releasing Corporation

Available: VHS

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