Australian genre movies seem to be coming (quite rightly) back into the spotlight. For myself this is great news indeed as some Australian cult favourites (Man From Hong Kong, StarStruck etc) really do need do be unleashed on the shiny disc. But it is UK genre faves Hard Gore that are dipping their toes welcomingly into the Australian horror scene with such delights as 'Thirst', 'Turkey Shoot' and here the much undervalued 'Patrick'.
'Patrick' is one of those movies that I was always aware over the years (from the days of the video nasty to now) but had simply never had the opportunity to actually sit down and view, so with Hard Gore's release I could (at long last) do just thatů
The film opens with hip young lad Patrick sulking in his bed listening to the nearby sounds of his mum canoodling with her lover in the bathtub next door. Obviously Patrick is a bit of a loner who can't get his own action so in true teenage huff stylee he goes overboard by throwing an old heater into the tub to electrocute the amorous lovers. We cut to some years later (though in truth Patrick doesn't look much older) where poor Patrick is some sort of catatonic coma in a nursing home. Seemingly he's been in this state ever since he killed his mother and now just lies in bed staring blankly and occasionally spitting randomly at any poor nurse that gets too close.
Cue a spunky (to use the local vocabulary) new nurse in town Kathy Jacquard (played by the lovely Susan Penhaligon), recently separated from her husband and now setting out on her own who lands a plum job of looking after the seemingly docile Patrick. We learn very early on that Patrick isn't just a living corpse as he has a knack of forcing his rooms windows opens using (well it had to be) his growingly powerful psychic powers!
Of course even in his catatonic state Patrick (being the loner teen boy he is) soon develops a crush (of sorts) on his cute new attendant Kathy, well how can he not when she sticks her hand between his legs for a quick grope to see if she can get a reaction (why is hospital never like this for me?!)
But needless to say things start to go horribly wrong (as ever) when Patrick again takes 'the huff' as Kathy develops relationships elsewhere (the chiseled doctor, her rekindling relationship with her ex etc) and he sets about using his psychic abilities to wreak violent attacks on all involved!
'Patrick' is a fun movie that certainly entertains in that dubiously sleazy and cheesy 70's manner that we love from genre movies of that period. You can easily see why this one was a hit in Italy (at least someone in Europe got it!) even though they redubbed Brian May's (no not he of Queen but the more talented Australian film composer) excellent genre themes with a halfhearted Goblin soundtrack. The film is stack full of sleazy elements, whether it's the naive nurses groping or Patrick's gutter rantings (via typewriter psychic moments) and was popular enough to inspire an even sleazier Italian produced sequel of sorts (the down and dirty 'Patrick Still Lives'). Director Richard Franklin shows strong (though not too stylish) talent behind the camera and the small ensemble cast of amusingly warped characters (with lead Susan Penhaligon running the show in fine 'strong independent woman' style) making 'Patrick' not a classic of the horror scene but a competent shocker and a fine example of the 70's genre scene.
The presentation by Hard Gore is good though not dazzling, but that will be down more to the source material rather than the mastering itself. The source print (most likely the same used by Elite for the US release) is solid enough throughout though slightly dark during the opening sequences but Hard Gore's anamorphic widescreen presentation more than balances things out making for an all round pleasant viewing experience. Likewise the audio is clear enough and all spoken dialogue is clear and audible with no great concerns for hiss or drop out. As for extras, well things are sparse on the ground here but not for myself anyway of any great concern. Alongside the usual (always welcome) selection of Hard Gore trailers there's a nice enough anamorphic widescreen trailer for the film itself. Whilst I know many genre fans can go into hissyfit mode of a DVD release doesn't have a smorgasbord of extra features I really couldn't care, just as long as the film itself is looking good (and admittedly I like a trailer) and here Hard Gore have delivered a solid viewing experience. Of course that's not to say that it wouldn't have been nice to see the inclusion of the Italian variation of this film included but what you get should satisfy enough.
'Patrick' is a fine example of the sort of naively sleazy genre fare that was produced in the 70's and I'm pleased that Hard Gore has taken the opportunity to bring it to the UK market after all this time. I love seeing these old movies coming back into the limelight, Hard Gore are making the shelves of high street stores look reminiscent of the video shops of the pre-VRA onslaught - this alone surely deserves our support. Stuff your digital teen slasher fests, give me some old school genre fun - check it out!
Review by Alan Simpson
|Released by Hard Gore|
|Region All - PAL|