Monday, September 1, 2008

Movie Review #23: Schizo

SCHIZO (1970)
Directed by Pete Walker

A famous ice skater named Samantha (played by Lynne Frederick) announces her upcoming wedding in the local paper, sparking the interest of one William Haskins (her late-mother's ex-lover), who travels to London to stalk her. After shacking up in a local Welfare Hostel he begins leaving frightening clues to reveal his presence and stir violent memories of her past (namely flashbacks of a naked woman being brutally stabbed). At her wedding ceremony a bloody machete turns up when its time to cut the cake, but no one believes Samantha's suspicions of the madman until bodies start turning up - her pyschiatrist, her housekeeper's daughter to name a few. Samantha is accused of being neurotic and delusional by everyone including her husband, but even with all the unanswered mysteries it all seems to make sense in her favor.

Director Pete Walker does an excellent job of blurring the lines between reality and hallucination, leading us to believe that Haskins is the killer all along, until the final confrontation with Sam, a bloody climax that blends the past with the present to reveal her as the real murderer (the fitting tag line for the film pokes fun at schizophrenia: "when the left hand doesn't know who the right hand is killing"). Her spilt personality causes her to conveniently forget the murders, creating an un-likely villain who we can't help but sympathize with, even after we discover that as a child she stabbed her own mother to death and Haskins did time for the crime.

Schizo is a classic psychological thriller, and falls right in line with one of my favorite British horror films of all time - Horror Hospital (1973). I give it 4 toes.

Schizo at IMDB:

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