Go to Homepage   Psychomania: Psychos for the New Age

  Crescent Blues Book Views

r rated, four moon iconImage Entertainment (DVD), ASIN: 6305871078
For the sheer thrill of spooky spiritualism and scary sťances, grab Psychomania, a British film with few peers in the dead-and-back genre. Invite your friends over and turn off the lights. Welcome Nicky Henson, who plays our New Age Hamlet, living right on the edge of madness. Witness Beryl Reid as his well-intentioned mother, who rewards clientele lusting after the dead. Looming quietly over the entire movie is that master of the macabre, George Sanders -- Hamlet's father figure and the kind of conspiratorial executive sure to find his head on the block in besieged corporate headquarters.

DVD: PsychomaniaFirst released in 1971, this addition to your home video library will outdo Freddy Kruger's weird pranks and leave even vampires thirsting for more films like this black comedy cult classic. Its sets include graveyards, as well as England's famous stone monuments -- all beshrouded in fog rising, it appears, from dead bodies. The plot circles toward an inevitable ending, propelled by a motorcycle gang eager to crash the barrier between this world and the next. The gang's name -- the Living Dead -- echoes with allusions to that rock group whose songs still rocket off shelves.

Dead Heads in America will recognize their kind of hero in Henson. Bored to death with his elders' secrets and lies, he tests the limits of both humor and rebellion. A strong-boned face and slightly gapped teeth transform his massive skull into a permanent protective helmet. Dedicated to knowing his long-gone father at last, he risks isolation in the locked room from which his male parent disappeared, leaving only his glasses. Once glimpsing the Great Beyond, the young man's determination to cross over escalates into a well-oiled plan for a mass exit from life's greatest charades.

Mothers and fathers, take warning! Together, this movie's middle-aged twosome manages the hero's home front like business in a sophisticated salon. Meanwhile, a giant frog sits under a plastic cake cover in their kitchen.

Does anyone do Gothic better than the British? Rosemary's Baby showed that, with assistance from Edgar Allan Poe's ghost, perhaps the Americans could hold their own. Stephen King's Pet Semitary granted kiddies' eternal wish to keep their favorite cats and friends forever lurking around their premises. The Shining, also by King, isolated a family whose daddy went completely bonkers. Such intense roles attract the best actors that Hollywood has to offer -- Mia Farrow and Jack Nicholson shivering and screaming their hearts out. Still, with Psychomania, the Brits demonstrate that the scariest people on earth are those who mean, quite charmingly and politely, to strip life of all its meaning. Get a motorcycle and strap on your helmet, if you can't take it any more. Or find this movie -- and feel the roar of pure cinematic pleasure!

Meg Curtis

Click here to share your views.