Splatter Time Fun Fest 2013: Patrick (1978)

patrick

I’m around people on vents quite a bit, methinks something is amiss with this guy!

Screenplay By: Everett De Roche
Directed By: Richard Franklin

Science fiction in horror is almost always an interesting experience. There are a lot of really bad sci-fi horror movies in the world, but I’ve always found some of the worst ones to be at the least interesting. Unfortunately, I also often find that sci-fi horror stops at the interesting level. There are great examples of sci-fi horror that moves beyond being merely interesting. Too often however the case with sci-fi horror is that the creative forces behind the film are more interested in their science fiction idea than making a film that is better than the idea. Patrick is an example of this, as the idea underlining the film ends up being better than the execution of the film surrounding the idea.

Said idea in Patrick is certainly an interesting one. Psychokinesis, or telekinesis if you will, opens up a Pandora’s Box of possibilities when it comes to the horror genre. There have been a lot of films that have played around with the idea of someone using the power of their mind to physically affect others. What Patrick did to augment its idea, was to place its main character, he who is of the telekinetic variety, in a vegetative state. This did allow for the telekinesis idea to be explored in some, well, interesting ways. The character of Patrick can’t actually interact with those around him, so the film has to find ways for him to become an active member of the proceedings. The typewriter idea was really smart, and allowed for the character of Patrick to interact in ways that added intrigue to the story.

Outside of the idea behind Patrick, the film offers a few tantalizing moments of suspense. The ending is well done, and there are a few scattered moments throughout the rest of the film that amp up the tension. I wanted more of those moments, and less of the of, “Oooh, the nurse is playing with his genitals again,” way of going about interacting with the audience. Having the lead female character, Kathy Jacquard, sleep with one guy, then sleep with another, then play with Patrick’s junk, and so on and so forth didn’t add anything to the film. Side tangents like that detracted from the film as a whole.

Patrick could have been a much better film, but it’s still a decent horror film. The idea behind the film is a good one, and said idea is implemented rather well. Unfortunately the film didn’t engage me that much outside of its idea. Suspense and tension could be found in Patrick, but there wasn’t enough of either at any time in the film. I liked Patrick, but I wanted to like it more, and it’s a shame that Patrick left such a quality idea hanging out to dry without much in the way of supporting elements.

Rating:

***

Cheers,
Bill

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7 responses to “Splatter Time Fun Fest 2013: Patrick (1978)

  1. The commercial for this used to scare the heck out of me, but the actual film (as you noted) has issues (like that bed-hopping gal) that keep it from being great. That ending, though… yeah, it was pretty nice.

  2. The ending is neat, and I’d be interested to see if this years remake can improve upon the original in any way.

  3. As long as the story is handled well and the CG is kept to a minimum (I’d prefer NONE, but you know where we’re at in these genre flicks these days), I think it’ll be pretty cool.

  4. I heard mixed buzz about it out of FantastcFest, with a few people having the same issues with the remake as the original. We’ll see I suppose.

  5. Hmmm… that could be good and bad. Good if at least the film is well made and bad if it’s made the same mistakes. Yup, we’ll see…

  6. That’s pretty much exactly what I’m hearing, so we will definitely see on this one.

  7. Pingback: Splatter Time Fun Fest 2013: The 4th Annual Bloody Machete Awards | Bill's Movie Emporium

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