Wednesday, January 11, 2012

In short: Psychophobia (1985)

The death of her husband in a plane crash leaves Mary (Mary Saint Peter) with two children frighteningly dubbed by adults trying to sound like children, a house threatening to fall back to the real estate company they bought it from, and frayed nerves.

Mary's nerves surely aren't going to become any better when the company her husband was working for decides to not pay her any money for what may or may not have been a work accident. At least there's a friendly lawyer and former school friend to help her out and fall in love with coming into play.

But monetary troubles aren't going to stay Mary's main problem. Strange phenomena begin to surround her and her house, and people treating her badly start to die horrible off-screen deaths.

A professor of parapsychology diagnoses a psychic infestation. Whoever or whatever may the problem be?

Psychophobia won't go down in the annals of Italian weirdo horror as anything more than a mediocre effort by a guy (Stefan D'Arbo) who didn't make any other movies, but if you have stepped as deeply into the world of these movies as I have, you will probably appreciate some of the film's more peculiar aspects.

If you are, on the other hand, looking for a "good" movie, you'll probably be less than delighted by the usual traits of Italian cheapo cinema, like erratic pacing and a narrative that never even seems to try to make sense.

Of course, what drives some people away is exactly what I enjoy about these films (unless it's not), so a complete breakdown of time, space and logic isn't just perfectly alright with me, but something I'm actually looking forward to. Psychophobia's brand of illogic isn't all that exciting or interesting for most of the film's running time, yet from time to time, the film comes up with lapses in logic peculiar and brilliant enough to help one through many scenes of melodramatic declarations and not much happening. Plus, there's that parapsychologist whose earnest explanations are always funny and never make any sense.

It seems as if the film were saving most of its powers of blowing minds for its last fifteen minutes. Suddenly, the lumbering narrative begins to jump and dance with silly glee. A hilarious tape from the beyond causes joy, and a brain explodes, until it all ends in awesomely dumb psychic powers manifesting. I couldn't have asked for more.


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