Thursday, September 27, 2012
Mr. Rabbie loves Chocolate Cake: The Psychopath (1973)
starring: Tom Basham, Gene Carlson and Gretchen Kanne
A rarely seen and awfully obscured proto-slasher, about one Mr. Rabbie, a puppeteer-slash-kid show host who himself is an inept man-child who stalks abusive parents and murders them in revenge, starting with a suburban couple who got away with the man slaughter of their own young boy after paddling him too far. Mr. Rabbie's continuous killing spree caught the attention of one Lt. Hayes, who's investigating a missing child case, though baffled at the apparently random slayings, but is picking up a few pieces along and began to notice the connections. Will Hayes find his killer, or will Mr. Rabbie be triumphant with his mission to avenge battered children?
The Psychopath had some worthy themes playing around; the concept of a battered child avenger does sound like a very worthy slasher film, as it touches quite a sensitive material yet could cater to the audience. However, the seriousness of this matter lost its edge thanks to some cheesy acting and some ineffective direction. There were some tugging scenes, like that of a hospital visit where a nurse explained to Lt. Hayes how a traumatized child can be beaten to submission; but the actual battery itself of the children, mostly done offscreen, had the adults act like pathetic arses that it's too obvious that the director wanted us to root for these people's demise. And too, Tom Basham as the titular psychopath led out a performance that ranges from innocent, weird then creepy, but overall a little hilarious given to the way he react or depict his character's man-child behavior. (Check out that "Chocolate Cake" reaction.)
Moving with a steady pace, but it gets around the killings after a thirty or forty minute run. The killings are a little dry, but the impact is a tad stronger due to us hoping for it to happen. My only complain about these murders is that Mr. Rabbie could at least made a clear point to his victims why he's doing this to them, make a good eye opener for their mistakes and make them realize it all could be avoided if they hadn't abused their child. But we all can't win with what we want, so I guess running a woman's head over with a lawnmower after towel snapping her unconscious will have to do for now.
It's a silly romp, but The Psychopath is an easy run-in for a slasher movie; Weirdly atmospheric, an unholy alliance of mean-spirit and biodegradable cheese, with a plot that, if worked right, would meet a lot of punch. Besides, if a certain Joe Spinell hadn't passed away in 1989, this movie would have an unofficial remake as Mr. Robbie: Maniac 2!
1 boy found dead on a ditch, killed
1 female face bashed with baseball bat
1 male strangled with cloth
1 female face shredded with lawnmower
1 male and 1 female slashed and hacked to death with kitchen knife
1 male shot
1 female shot