Illustration : Geoff Holt

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The Psychopath

Curtis Harrington | USA | 1973


A customarily bizarre psycho-drama from Curtis Harrington, introducing Terry (John Savage), as a troubled young man fresh out of prison, after being forced to participate in a brutal gang rape. Arriving back at his mom Thelma’s boarding house, enigmatically played by Ann Sothern, Terry spends much of his time lounging by the pool, in-between spying on their young guest, aspiring model Lori (played by future American Graffiti star Cindy Williams). At the same time he’s being ogled himself by repressive and boozy spinster neighbour Louise — who harbours more than her fair share of perversely repressive secrets. As this mangled tale of warped voyeurism unfolds, it reveals Terry to be a dangerous violent psychopath, best left alone… 

Harrington’s film went virtually unseen at US cinemas, suffering from poor decision-making by its financiers, who used inexperienced distributors. For its brief but nonetheless welcome outing on tape, this kooky and twisted drama appeared as The Killing Kind on three different video labels — the first of which being the mighty Intervision whom issued the film sometime in 1980 while others later included the distinctive Olympus and Champion labels.








Re-titled “The Psychopath” by London based distributor Motion Pictures on Video, Harrington’s film was afforded one final outing in October 1987 — this time with newly commissioned sleeve art from the late Geoff Holt. This talented illustrator created a number of other sleeve designs for the company which included Body Fever, Malpertuis and Tantrums amongst others. Weirdly enough, this inscrutable yet polished artwork bears no resemblance to the grubby lifestyle portrayed in the film, as an uncharacteristically muscled John “six-pack” Savage is shown wielding a broken bottle amidst the fiery chaos of a road smash!

The BBFC had also been busy here, insisting upon cuts of some nine seconds. The offending footage was intended to reduce the overall impact of the film’s prologue, a brief and cruddy sequence which was shot slightly out of focus. Most probably MPV secured a deal with the (then) recently dissolved Intervision which provided the company with a mix of no less than thirteen of their titles. MPV continued to trade with modest success for a number of years before going into liquidation themselves by December 1996.


aka : The Killing Kind

cast : Ann Sothern, John Savage, Ruth Roman, Luana Anders, Cindy Williams, Sue Bernard, Marjorie Eaton, Peter Brocco, Helene Winston