Thursday, October 11, 2012

Schizoid Devoid: "Schizoid" (1980)

Who is killing the women in Marianna Hill's therapy group?

Is it the creepy psychiatrist Klaus Kinski? His troubled yet still unbearably cute daughter Donna Wilkes (who has a brief nude scene that I have been dreaming about since Maclean Stevenson's sitcom "Hello Larry")? Marianna's grinning ex-husband Craig Wasson? What about a youngish looking Christopher Lloyd, the bitter handyman? Or even the even younger looking detective Joe Regalbuto?

Hill plays an advice columnist who is having more problems than a week's worth of Ann Landers letters. She is receiving death threats, and someone is killing the women in her group with an extremely large pair of scissors. The killer, whom I figured out pretty quickly, wears a fedora and coat, striking a good silhouette in the otherwise unscary killing scenes. Hill is also messing around with the chain smoking Kinski, resulting in a sex scene I could have gone all my life without seeing. Kinski is also sleeping with a stripper/patient, and he, uh, "analyzes her feelings" against a hot water heater, resulting in another sex scene I could have gone my whole life without seeing.

The finale takes place in Hill's newspaper office, as the film makers drag the proceedings out by assembling all of the suspects together, like a bad Agatha Christie novel, except with shootings and stabbings instead of a parlor full of upper middle class Brits and a brilliant detective. Filmed and released in 1980, this has all the makings of a slasher film. The few killings here are not all that gory, but violent.

The semi-name cast all try their best. Paulsen's direction is void of suspense as he hopes his mediocre script will carry the whole film. Instead, it becomes gimmicky and silly, but still trudges along like this is Shakespeare. Eventually, between the awful synth score (the scissors have their own theme every time they appear) and Kinski's overbaked performance, a viewer must take this with a grain of salt.

I cannot recommend "Schizoid," but I am bemusedly grinning and shaking my head while doing it. (*) out of five stars.