Apr 4, 2011

Patrick


 In the 1978 Ozploitation flick Patrick, a naive nurse named Kathy develops unwarranted empathy for a comatose matricidal killer named Patrick. After killing his Mother and her lover three years earlier (whose lovemaking further perturbed poor disturbed Patty boi) - Patrick - probably caused by his incapacity to psychologically cope with his dirty derelict deeds - fell into a coma. Although Patrick is impotent as far as physical mobility goes, he has developed keen psychokinetic powers. Nurse Kathy - a fetching young lady with an inquisitive mind - finds herself fondling Patrick's genitals out of curiosity - even arousing his vegetated member. Overtime, Patrick develops an increasingly romantic obsession with hot twat nurse Kathy.  Jealous of any man that enters Kathy's life, self-centered Patrick begins to manipulate events in her life from the discreet comfort of his sterile hospital bed. Like a lot of guys with mommy issues, love struck Patrick naively mistakes Kathy's kindness and sympathy for love, thus intensifying his psychokinetic wave of destruction after the cutesy nurse neglects to reciprocate his delusional feelings. Of course, Kathy eventually tells Patrick - in a fit of unrestrained rage - that on top of being a narcissistic Momma's boy who is incapable of true love - he has nothing to offer her, aside from psychokinetic scribblings on an electric typewriter. At best, Patrick is a quasi-villain who is not exactly evil, but acts more like an irrational neurotic girl whose judgment is blurred due to fluctuating hormone levels during a monthly menstrual cycle - as he always acts out violently when things do not workout in his favor. That being said, Patrick is indubitably an unconventional work of horror and a neglected cinematic gem that is guaranteed to offer the viewer a jolly old deranged time - where the monster is an immature matricidal maniac's mind, yet despite his lack of animation, he still gets your adrenalin pumping just fine.


Patrick was directed by Richard Franklin, a Hitchcock connoisseur who freely admits his psychokinetic horror film was influenced by the Ed Gein inspired masterpiece Psycho (1960). In fact, Franklin developed a real-life friendship with Hitch and would later go on to direct Roadgames (1981) - a mobile vehicle reworking of Hitchcock's Rear Window (1958) - as well as Psycho II (1983) - a surprisingly decent sequel to Alfred Hitchcock's original masterpiece. Despite taking influence from Hitchcock's Psycho, Patrick is a highly original film in its own right. Although both films feature pathetic matricidal killers who have obvious problems socializing with the opposite sex, the similarities pretty much end there. Patrick screenwriter Everett De Roche based the script on a real-life mentally unstable individual named Patrick - who jumped off a balcony after discovering his wife was sleeping with another man - becoming completely paralyzed in the process, aside from being able to spit and catch random erections (like Patrick in the film). Richard Franklin openly admitted (in a DVD audio commentary) that he had "literary pretensions" whilst directing Patrick - taking the liberty to include unreferenced quotes from William Shakespeare (The Tempest) and Oscar Wilde in the film. While girlishly arguing with Nurse Kathy via an electric hospital typewriter, Patrick psychokinetically plagiarizes Wilde's famous quote, "Yet each man kills the thing he loves." Of course, Patrick - being a neurotic maniac - self-deceptively believes that he is in love with Kathy, despite the fact that he has never physically embraced her (nor could he). The hospital's matron - Cassidy - a bitter old wench who seems to suffer from a dire case of sexual repression - has a seemingly irrational hatred for comatose Patrick - as well as an instant contempt for Kathy upon first meeting her. Cassidy - a godless realist and self-satisfied "humanistic" proponent of euthanasia - who at first seems like a vile she-bitch gatekeeper from hospital Hades - ends up coming off as one of the wisest characters by the conclusion of Patrick. Had Kathy practiced the same cold and calculated hospital procedures stringently endorsed by Matron Cassidy, she would have undoubtedly avoided Patrick's hospital bed led reign of temper tantrum terror. 


Although early psychoanalysts like Wilhelm Reich and C.G. Jung (who wrote extensively on parapsychology throughout his career) attempted to study Occult phenomena - such unconventional research has now become virtually abandoned in the medical world. In fact, Jung once attended a séance performed by an adolescent girl psychic and also wrote on several clinical cases of double consciousness. Of course, as so cynically portrayed by the doctors in Patrick - the golden age of studying unexplainable psychological phenomenon is long gone. Nowadays, psychologists are only interested diagnosing individuals via brain scans and prescribing dangerous (and many times unpredictable) psychoactive drugs. Nurse Kathy encounters a doctor - who is more arrogant than charming - that freely admits he was originally interested in studying the more mysterious elements of the brain and human psychology - but is now only interested in monetary success. Only Kathy - a naive nurse who is dubious of modern medicine - finds abnormal Patrick to be of an intriguing character. What makes Patrick more interesting than most films of a similar supernatural nature is that it provokes the audience to ask questions \regarding euthanasia - as well as the validity of cold materialistic science when treating psychological blemishes of a less accurately definable sort.  Richard Franklin and screenwriting co-partner Everett De Roche originally intended to make a sequel to Patrick; Patrick II: The Man Who Wasn't There, but, alas, fate did not work in their favor, thus the project never left pre-production. Additionally, in the audio commentary for the Synapse DVD release of Patrick, director Richard Franklin acknowledges his interest in remaking Patrick with modern filmmaking technology just as Alfred Hitchcock did with some of his earlier films. Unfortunately, it is now impossible for Franklin to remake Patrick as he passed away in 2007. Still, novice director Mark Hartley announced in February 2010 that he would be remaking the film - undoubtedly the (often times unfortunate) fate of all decent (and not so decent) horror films. Admittedly, it would be interesting to see a modern day Patrick who utilizes a computer and the internet as his pseudo-romantic weaponry of the third eye controlled kind. For more info on Patrick, check out Synapse Films.


-Ty E

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