Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Psychic Killer (Blu-ray/DVD Vinegar Syndrome) - The Astral Projection Killer

Ray Danton directed a bunch of movies and TV shows but was actually a prominent actor appearing in over 100 different works of TV and film. Danton directed The Psychic Killer as his third effort behind two other Horror pictures the first featuring Robert Quarry called The Deathmaster. After The Psychic Killer Danton began a long career working on TV episodes. He worked as an actor in a previous Vinegar Syndrome release, the camp creepout, Crypt of the Living Dead. Today we're here to discuss The Psychic Killer as it has been released on Blu-ray. While Danton may have had a very short career directing features it wasn't because his work isn't appealing to gore hounds like ourselves. His work on this movie is the kind of thing that make us long for the days where the drive-in was the way to make babies and memories.

The Psychic Killer takes the form or revenge flick that focuses on the very popular mid-70's phenomena of psychic attack. The 70's were full of this new found gimmick as a way to shock people. Carrie was just being released in the theater and the Dead Zone would follow. Fulci's The Psychic would come shortly after that. These were well thought out stories that used psychic ability or in the case of The Psychic Killer, astral projection to fascinate the audience. While the aforementioned titles used the psychic element as an element of story telling and attack, The Psychic Killer seemed to play the astral projection card as a gimmick. The production value probably has something to do with it. Perhaps the writing isn't quite up to snuff, but neither of those points actually puts a dent into the real value of a movie like this. The value of The Psychic Killer lies in its ability to brandish gratuitous elements successfully as a b-roll part of a double feature. Show the boobs in a shower scene and make sure to give the audience some luscious gruesome gore. We get that even if the MPAA saw fit to give this one a PG rating upon its release. This is one of the few victories for the a Horror film in the wake of self-censoring Hollywood giving up the power to the dreaded four letter agency. 

While I wasn't thrilled with the picture as whole, favoring its baser elements to that of the story, I can appreciate the story that underlines those elements from writer Greydon Clark. You guys know how much I love Clark's work as a director. I seem to go on unplanned mini-marathons of his work accidentally. Black Shampoo, Satan's Cheerleaders, Without Warning... all of these have seen releases on DVD or Blu-ray in recent years and are to be enjoyed. With this release you actually get a sit-down with Clark as an extra. While Ray Danton passed in 1992, there's a featurette that includes interviews with some of the cast and crew to discuss the movie. There's an abundance of trailers and TV spots as well as reversible cover art. The main cover art really pops with bright colors and grindhouse elements that invite the audience into the movie as if it were a movie on a video store shelf in the mid-80's. 

The transfer looks great and comes from the original 35mm camera negative. It's impressive given the vintage and relatively obscure nature of the movie that we get such a nice print from which to enjoy the movie. It contains minimal flaws, is clean and has been held to the high standards of Vinegar Syndrome. They don't skimp on obscurity. They shine.

The is really a pre-slasher movie with supernatural elements. Fans of drive-in fare or grindy movie from the 70's are sure to dig it. Aldo Ray (from everything awesome from the 70's) and Julie Adams (Creature from the Black Lagoon) as well as Neville Brand (in every war and western picture from the 60's on) head this one up.

Order your copy now from Vinegar Syndrome or DiabolikDVD:


From Vinegar Syndrome:

Arnold Masters (Jim Hutton) is a mild-mannered man who obsesses over his mother, but finds himself implicated in a murder he didn’t commit, and is sent to an asylum. While incarcerated, a fellow patient teaches him the techniques of Astral Projection, also known as the Kirlian Effect, which is the ability to use his mind to control objects at will. When the real killer is found and Arnold is released, only to find that during his time in the asylum his mother has died, he vows vengeance against those responsible for setting him up and begins to use his powers to exact a bloody revenge.

Directed by character actor Ray Danton (Crypt of the Living Dead) and co-starring Julie Adams, Neville Brand, Aldo Ray, and Mary Wilcox, THE PSYCHIC KILLER is a mid 70s Drive-In classic that, despite frequent gore and a blood and nudity filled shower death scene, somehow received a PG rating from the MPAA and is presented here fully uncut and newly restored in 2K from its original 35mm camera negative.

Directed by: Ray Danton
1975 / 90 minutes / Color / 1.85:1
Actors: Jim Hutton, Julie Adams, Greydon Clark, Paul Burke, Neville Brand, Mary Wilcox

Features Include:
• Region free Blu-ray and DVD combo pack.
• All extras on both formats.
• Scanned and restored in 2k from 35mm original camera negative.
• “The Danton Force” featurette with Mitchell & Steve Danton, co-star Julie Adams and 1st Assistant Director Ronald G. Smith.
• “The Psychic Killer Inside Me” featurette w/ Greydon Clark.
• “The Aura of Horror” featurette w/ Mardi Rustam.
• Mutiple TV Spots
• Original theatrical trailer
• Reversible cover artwork
• English SDH Subtitles