Monday, November 9, 2015

SECRETS OF A PSYCHOPATH (2014) (DVD Review)

SECRETS OF A PSYCHOPATH (2014) 

Label: Cinema Epoch 

Region Code: 1
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 091 Minutes
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo 
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1) 
Directior: Bert I. Gordon
Cast:  Kari Wuhrer, Mark Famiglietti, Mia Serafino


Secrets of a Psychopath (2014) comes to us by way of a very familiar name, director Bert I. Gordon. The man who brought us the '70s drive-in classics Food of the Gods (1976) and Empire of the Ants (1977), two slices of ecology gone wrong movie magic featuring over sized creatures causing mayhem in the world of man. I have a soft spot for this  vein of drive-in cinema from the '70s, but realistically it's now been twenty-six long years since Gordon last directed a movie, and thirty-eight since he directed a movie I've actually watched, which is not a comment on the quality of his movies from the '80s, I just have not seen them. Going into this I was both a bit excited and slightly worried about what the old duff was up to with the low-budget Secretes of a Psychopath, starring Mark Famiglietti (Terminator 3) and Kari Wuhrer (Eight LeggedFreaks) as a demented brother and sister who live alone in their childhood home. Henry (Famiiglietti) who prowls the online dating sites looking for a suitable mate, he's an attractive guy, has a nice way about him, and meeting women and bringing them to his home is not a problem. However, once he gets them home things get strange very quickly. Henry has some serious sexual hang-ups, and before you know he and too-close for comfort sibling are dressed up as dolls and murdering the young women. Exactly why they're up to what they're up to is the focus of this psycho-sexual drama/thriller from Gordon, as we delve into the bizarre and traumatic events that have lead this demented duo down that path they're on. 

At one point Henry finds himself at the cinema enjoying a vintage racing movie just a little too much, imagining himself in the driver's seat with a huge smile plastered across his mug. An attractive young woman takes notice of him and moves into the seat next to him, she makes a ridiculously overt come-on and before you know it the two are back at her apartment. They make some small talk and she talks a bit about her roommate Georgette (Mia Serafino), who she says is the image of perfection, a sweet and honest young woman. While this young woman tries to get the pants off Henry he is a bit preoccupied with thoughts of her more wholesome roommate, once things start to get sexual he strangles her to death. This guy does not have time for whores, he's may be crazy, but the guy craves a wholesome woman, not these women who will drop their panties on the first date. 


Once the roomie Georgette arrives he snatches her and forces her into his car and takes her back to his place, where he ties her to a bed, and goes on about marrying her and how happy they will be together blah blah blah. Meanwhile she earns a little trust and is able to walk around the house, where she finds a scrapbook of all the women that Henry has previously brought home, a macabre scrapbook of women who just didn't make the cut. 

Kari Wuhrer as the sister Catherine seems to be the true source of both Henry's insanity and murderous intimacy issues. As the predictable thriller plays out we discover through some nicely executed flashback sequences what transpired in their youth and how it fucked them up, but the reveal is pretty broadcast from early on, with some incestuous overtones and adolescent mind-fuckery. Content and performance wise this is about on par with any of the Lifetime Channel movies I find my wife watching on the weekends, which is to say a little on the dull side, there are very few surprises and the acting is varied to be kind. While Wuhrer is always pleasing on the eyes, she and Famiglietti are a bit inconsistent in their roles in my opinion, they're weird for sure, but they both seem to struggle to connect with the material. 


Bert I. Gordon's direction is solid, there's skill behind the execution with some decent low-budget cinematography, the low-budget limitations seem to be hid behind a gloss of stylized color correction, it's a nice looking low-budget digital shot movie. There's some nice atmospheric lighting, some fluid camera moves and talent behind the cinematography. The score from Scott Glashow (Hatchet III) is sort of generic but suits the psycho-sexual melodrama nicely. At the end of the day I didn't love this movie and I probably won't ever re watch it, but as a fan of Bert I. Gordon's previous work I appreciated that the old guy is still making genre movie, and at the end of the day that's just cool, though I sort of wish he had gone the creature feature route..



Extras on the disc from Cinema Epoch include a new nearly hour-long interview with the now ninety-three year old director Bert I. Gordon who speaks about developing the movie, shooting on digital as opposed to film, his own introduction to feature movie making, and looking back at the making of his own career, including his last films, Satan's Princess (1989), working with Orson Welles on Necromancy (1972). and his future plans for movies. The interview it quite a treat for fans of Gordon's work. Other extras include a trailer for the movie and a collection of images/ 

Special Features: 

- Exclusive New Interview with Director Bert I. Gordon (54 Mins) 
- Trailer (1 Mins) 
- Still Gallery (2 Mins) 

I didn't love Secrets of a Psychopath, it's a bit predictable and is way too melodrama for my own tastes but it's not awful, just not my sort of movie. It pleases me to know that Bert I. Gordon, who made such fun drive-in movies back in the 70's and '80s, is out there making movies today, he still has the passion and the drive, and that's awesome. If you're a hardcore Gordon fan this might be worth a watch, particularly for the new interview, but if you're only curious and don't want to commit to a puchase you can watch it on Amazon Instant Video for about three dollars. 2.5/5


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