The Psychotronic Man (1979)

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The Psychotronic Man (1979)

Post  BoG on Mon Sep 29, 2014 6:30 pm


(Jack M. Sell, 81 min, color, 1980)
What's Happening: Alcoholic barber slowly realizes he has prophetic and telekinetic powers
Famous For: Gave Michael J. Weldon the word "psychotronic" for his video guides
The barber's name is Rocky Foscoe, which, along with the title, should be reason enough to watch this odd low-budget sci-fi horror picture filmed in Chicago. Apparently, Chicago's mayors of the 70s refused to grant film permits because they felt American films had become too negative. So Sell (with co-creator and star Peter Spelson) did it illegally, like Larry Cohen in New York.

While clearly an amateur production (inconsistent rhythm, weak acting), Psychotronic Man is also clearly a labor of love. Some VERY long stretches depict nothing but cars driving, or people sitting and thinking, and the entire final third is a repetitive chase. But tilted camera angles, slow-motion images, dolly shots, closeups, fish-eyes, flash forwards, and decent music show an admirable attempt to entertain the viewer. I was laughing half the time as I watched, but afterwards I felt myself taking it more seriously, enjoying it on its own terms. We get little explanation for why Rocky develops his powers, and we should have gotten to know him better - perhaps in conversations with friends where he wonders what's happening and why. And Rocky's girlfriend (or maybe his wife) should have been part of the focus instead of so much time on the routine police investigation.

Goldweber, David Elroy (2012-06-14). Claws & Saucers: Science Fiction, Horror, and Fantasy Film: A Complete Guide: 1902-1982 (Kindle Locations 58193-58210). David E. Goldweber. Kindle Edition.
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