Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Psychos in Love (1986)

The Movie: Joe (Carmine Capobianco, who also co-wrote this movie and wrote the soundtrack) is the owner and bartender of a strip club. He’s also a psychotic slasher who likes to kill random women. Unfortunately, that’s not the kind of thing that will get you a second date (or even a first if you spill it too early), and he despairs of finding romance.

Then one night, Kate (Debi Thibeault, who was also the costume designer) walked into his bar. There is instant attraction, and it is further enforced when Joe finds that Kate shares his extreme aversion to grapes. However, what really bonds them is when he makes the discovery that she is also a psychotic slasher. Delighted to find somebody else who can understand their hobbies, the two fall deeply in love.

However, all relationships have their snags; which Joe and Kate are going to have to face. Then, as time goes on, the two start to find that killing people isn’t as fun anymore. Joe and Kate agree that it’s time to move on from their hobby and start a new life together. Unfortunately, when Herman the cannibalistic plumber (Frank Stewart, also the hair designer and makeup artist) discovers their former pastime, he may be able to blackmail them out of retirement…

The Review:

“I really don’t know how to say this, and I don’t want you to get the wrong idea or anything; but… I’m not going to kill you.”

I had a particularly putrid little movie all picked out for my Valentine’s Day review. Unfortunately, Netflix still hasn’t sent it to me, so I needed a substitute. It was difficult to think of something else I have access to that can truly illustrate my loathing for this unholiest of days. I have Yum Yum from the site House of Self Indulgence to thank for providing me with the answer. He has just put up a review for this film on his site, and it reminded me that I had an old VHS copy buried in my movie collection. Oh, and Yum Yum; if you are reading this, I’m not trying to steal your thunder. I am well aware that there’s no way I’ll match up to you.

Psychos in Love is very obviously an amateur movie done on a really low budget. However, once you accept that consideration, it’s overall a fun little flick. Psychos in Love is a pitch-black comedy; and while the humor is very hit or miss, it falls more on the former side than the latter. It has some truly funny lines as well as sight and situation gags. The sheer absurdity of the entire set-up is emphasized and, for the most part, played upon well. Probably my two favorite scenes are the one where Kate gets out of bed to find that Joe has brought home one of his victims; and the scene where the two of them are checking out at the local video rental.

The two leads, who this movie centers around, do their characters justice. There is no way they’ll get Oscars for these roles, but I find the two protagonists to be believable and even somewhat sympathetic. What’s more, I actually find the romantic aspect of this film much more convincing than I do in most big budget, consciously romantic movies. For the most part Joe and Kate’s relationship moves in small steps; and they are mainly seen handling all the little details, good and bad, that make up a relationship.

Admittedly the scene where they meet is a little overwrought; but then, would you expect anything else from a movie titled Psychos in Love? However, once we get to the actual relationship itself, it feels real. There are few grand gestures or overly romantic moments. Instead, we are presented with two people who are trying to build a life together. They are uncertain and awkward at first, they make mistakes, and they even get on each other’s nerves. However, ultimately they decide that this is the person they want to be with, and this allows them to work through the rest.

For fans of exploitation movies, Psychos in Love has plenty to offer in the way of female nudity and some decent gore effects. Some campy fun can even be had from the low budget feel of the whole affair. One of my favorite examples of this is one of Joe’s victims very early on; where he creates the shower scene from Psycho and it’s clear that the actress is having a hard time trying not to laugh.

However, there are a few downsides. The plot doesn’t completely gel. Herman the cannibalistic plumber is really only an afterthought, one that probably could have been removed from the script entirely; and when he and our two leads finally meet the scene doesn’t really work. There are a few scenes of interactions between the leads and the film crew that break down the fourth wall, with mixed results. And finally, it’s clear that nobody knew how they were going to end this movie, and the final scenes drag on far longer than they should.

However, overall I found myself enjoying this movie. If you have a warped sense of humor and aren’t too squeamish, it can be a lot of fun. More so, Psychos in Love actually does a surprisingly good portrayal of two unusual people who find each other and form a healthy relationship. Even psychotic slashers need love, after all.

1 comment:

  1. Your concern for my thunder was a sweet as this movie. :)

    I agree, no Oscars for the leads, but LeeAnne Baker should have at least got a best supporting nod as "Heavy Metal Girl."

    Yeah, the scene near the end when Joe and Kate confront the cannibalistic plumber in their kitchen was a tad on the long side.