Plot: A serial killer is on the hunt and as if the murders weren’t horrifying enough, a small doll is left at the scene close to the freshly killed corpse. Not just a random doll either, but a doll that is a dead ringer for the victim and of course, this terrifies even the police involved. As creepy as the dolls are, at least they offer a distinct clue and as such, Inspector Holloway (Patrick Wywarm) begins an investigation to track down possible sources of the dolls. This leads him to a number of potential leads, including a lawyer, his daughter who works at a toy store, and even a disabled old woman who obsesses over her imposing collection of dolls. As more bodies pile up with more dolls at the scenes, Holloway has to narrow down the clues and uncover the truth. But could this be a simple case of revenge or is there a darker plot in motion?
Entertainment Value: A serial killer chiller with creepy dolls, a weathered detective, and some solid b movie charm, The Psychopath might not be on par with Amicus’ best work, but it is a fun watch. The narrative has a fun premise, with a killer leaving behind dolls of the victims, but the movie doesn’t make the most of that aspect and the plot feels stretched a little thin. So if you want narrative depth or intricate developments, no such luck here, but there are some nice turns taken and those help keep things interesting, even if things are messy at times. I love the eerie atmosphere here and while some might not like that it is more mystery than horror, there’s enough creepiness present to keep most genre fans enthused. The pace is deliberate however, building slowly to certain high points in the investigation and for an eerie murder mystery, I think The Psychopath moves at a fair clip. Patrick Wymark is our stalwart detective and turns in a good effort, while Margaret Johnston is also a standout as the handicapped doll enthusiast that adds a ton of creepiness to the movie. The movie’s visuals are impressive and Freddie Francis provides skilled direction, so while The Psychopath is no genre classic, it is competent and has some memorable moments.
No nakedness. No blood. The movie takes a more refined approach to the violence of its killer, with stylized kills that sidestep the visceral carnage. A good example of this is the blowtorch death, which has a cool look and feel, even though the actual violence seen is minimal at worst. But the scene plays out in a creative approach, so while there’s no gore or explicit violence, it works quite well. The lack of on screen violence is also balanced by the nature of the material, as this is more of a mystery/thriller than outright horror movie. The movie also makes sure that tension and atmosphere are effective, so that helps compensate. The dialogue has some bright spots, including some much needed shots of humor, but overall, isn’t that memorable. The writing is capable, aside from the often convoluted plot devices, but not much as far as wild or outlandish lines. On the craziness front, we have a couple creative kills, a lot of creepy dolls, and some colorful characters. Not an over the top, out of control kind of movie, but The Psychopath has enough eeriness to earn a point.
Overall Insanity: 1/10