Reviews

Psychopath, The (1975)

Milo Aukerman and The Descendents once spouted off about “Parents.”

“Parents! Why won’t they shut up? Parents! They’re so fucked up! But little do they know, one day I’ll explode!”

I wonder if they had taken in a showing of The Psychopath?

The Psychopath is a disturbed motion picture. It involves children, parents, and the unsettling realities that can occur between the two. That’s part of the story. Then, there’s Mr. Rabbey, resident psychotic and host of a local kids’ TV program called “The Mr. Rabbey Show.”

“If you pretend enough and make your fantasies real enough, then it can come true!”

Good God. Forget Devil Times Five and Horror High; they were just screwing around. The Psychopath is the child-abuse-themed-horror-film with a mission — one that is both blunt and unnatural. Directed and written by Larry G. Brown, who bucked trends a few years earlier with the gay biker anomaly The Pink Angels, this film seeks revenge against horrible parents. It places an asexual, man-child as a host of a children’s show and adds a fuddled slasher. It isn’t just ridiculous; it’s completely deranged. If you’re feeling light-headed, don’t fret. The puppets, lawn mower death, and karate cops are instant equalizers.

Tommy aka Mr. Rabbey (the uncomfortable Tom Basham) keeps his ears and mascara-dipped eyes open. When he’s not busy enacting uneasy puppet shows on television (“I’ll chop your head off!”), Rabbey can be found on the playground, in the hospital, or riding his bike. With little kids. But sometimes, he hears and sees things, including a drunken couple beating their five-year-old child to death (then covering up the murder) and a mother slapping her young daughter to the ground while screaming, “Ya rotten little bitch!” Rabbey and his “blankey” don’t like these things. There’s a reason why. But now it’s time to get even.

If the initial novelty of The Psychopath is what drives the film, its taboo forces define it. Shabby, inconsistent, and seemingly edited by a conflicted mind, the film’s presentation is utter 1970s junk. Which, of course, is top drawer to me. The soundtrack jumps from stark, ass-shakin’ drum kits to out-of-tune schmaltz to country hackjobs without reason. Frequent inserts of Rabbey’s bug-eyes fill the screen. Sudden bursts of unintentional humor break the wall. Carnival footage pads the final third. Yet, these random intrusions rarely align with the emotional content, be it chilling (Rabbey’s alone time), tense (the stalk scenes), or jolting (parental behavior). Is all of this detrimental to the whole? Hardly.

The Psychopath is so steadfast in its angst that a little variety only benefits the film. In effect, that irregularity is what solidifies the movie’s promise as a bizarro, socio-trash delight, all the way through to the unbelievable ending. Disturbing subject matter. Deficient organization. Genuine intensity. Puppets that decapitate each other. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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