Reviews

Psychothrill (1987)

The first thing you notice about Psychothrill is that there are a lot of beginning credits.

Fabrizio, a wealthy, debonair gentleman, watches some dancing girls wearing sparkly gold bikinis. They’re not really dancing. They’re more shimmying, which is to say they aren’t very good at dancing. Fabrizio picks out a brunette named Rita, even though the nightclub owner recommends the blonde. Gentlemen prefer blondes, am I right? No. Fabrizio insists on the brunette. And because he is a gentleman, all he wants to do is talk. Meaning there is no boning sexy-time escapade.

“In the world I live in, women treat men like pieces of furniture,” Fabrizio explains to Rita. Yes, there’s no way an exotic dancer like Rita could understand how it feels to be used.

Meanwhile two cops bust a drug deal. They draw their guns in slow motion and shoot people in slow motion, and those people die in slow motion, which is the best way to die on screen. The cops eat donuts and complain about bad coffee and bad divorces. Then they have a shoot out at a bowling alley.

It quickly becomes apparent that Psychothrill contains all the tropes:
-an exotic dancer with a heart of gold
-a sad, wealthy man guarding a secret
-a hot-headed young cop wearing tight white jeans
-an old-timer detective whose daughter is pregnant, so he has a lot to live for
-a belligerent police chief
-a scene where a cop disguises himself as a wino bum

A thug wears a leather jacket and a German Iron Cross. His nickname is the Executioner, because he is a “savage sadist of a lunatic.” His preferred method of murder is switchblade, which he brandishes liberally. After a girl stuffs some coke into a doll, he shoves a knife into her gut. And has an orgasm. His O-face looks like he’s just eaten a pile of day-old egg salad. He is not an attractive man, and his double rat-tails aren’t helping much.

The cops are on the case to break up a drug cartel, bring The Executioner to justice, and take down the mysterious man who is responsible for it all. This is done by talking to a snitch, an old blind organ grinder who hangs out in restaurant bathrooms. You can tell he’s blind because his eyes are always looking up.

Fabrizio and Rita continue to fall in love and despite all their efforts, you will not care. She exercises in an aerobics studio—complete with butt shots—and they eat salmon mousse. They go to Peru and look at llamas. I had a neighbor who had a llama. They’re grumpy, they spit, and they smell bad, but they’re so adorable you forgive them for being total assholes.

Psychothrill is one part action and five hundred parts love story. It’s more like a telenovela with occasional gunshots. While there’s plenty of Mexican gutter films that soar to great heights, this one does not. The action sequences are far outnumbered by scenes of Fabrizio and Rita falling in love and shopping at a furniture store. There are only light touches of exploitation—not enough to make the movie entertaining or engaging. There’s not even a lot of blood. When someone gets stabbed, you expect a squall of blood and deafening screams, not just a smear of ketchup and awkward silence. The filmmakers were cheap with the stage blood—which is exactly where most of a film’s budget should go. The movie is repetitive and plodding, and while it does have its golden moments, it’s not memorable. Not even the orgiastic Executioner could push it over the edge. Psychothrill is what you turn to when the only other movie you can watch is Wendigo. Meaning, in the grand scheme of genre trash, Psychothrill isn’t the worst, but it’s far from the best.

My favorite scene is when Fabrizio and Rita stay at the Sheraton Lima.

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