Studio: Shriek Show
Director: Mario Landi
Writer: Piero Regnoli
Producer: Gabriele Cristani
Stars: Sacha Pitoeff, Gianni Dei, Mariangela Giordano, Carmen Russo, Paolo Giusti, Franco Silva, John Benedy, Anna Veneziano
A group of people is lured to a wellness resort where they become the victims of a comatose man with telekinetic powers.
“Patrick” purists, as the 1978 Richard Franklin film has enough passionate supporters to qualify as a fanbase if not a full cult following, may lambast me for giving its Italian sequel/remake/ripoff an identical review score and thereby implying that the two films are somehow equal. They definitely are not. “Patrick Still Lives” is technically and structurally inferior to “Patrick” (review here) in every way imaginable as a film. Yet as a piece of horror entertainment, “Patrick Still Lives” is so hypnotically engaging on a weirdness level that you’ll wonder if Patrick himself is psychically willing you to enjoy it in spite of or because of the fact that it is so bafflingly constructed.
Other than a titular character with comatose telekinesis, the only thing “Patrick Still Lives” has in common with its predecessor is an actor with a unibrow. That’s actually not entirely true. “Patrick Still Lives” does reuse scenes involving a pool drowning, a self-typing typewriter, and a syringe presumably filled with potassium chloride, but otherwise the two movies are completely unconnected.
Less than 20 seconds into the abrupt opening, a passing motorist throws a bottle from a vehicle window and strikes Patrick in the face as he stands stranded on the road alongside his doctor father. Improbably, that bottle puts Patrick into a coma before the opening credits roll at the one-minute mark, and the film gallops into lunacy that only escalates from there.
In one of the most elaborately plotted revenge schemes of all time, the suspected bottle throwers are summoned to a medical facility that apparently doubles as a vacation resort so that they can be boiled in a swimming pool, impaled through the crotch with a fireplace poker, and telekinetically decapitated by an automatic car window, all over a slow period of several days. Although he is the source of the phenomena, Patrick is barely even a character in the movie bearing his name, appearing for a collective screentime that cannot possibly be longer than two or three minutes.
Unimportant subplots instead involve a blackmailed parliament member, women who cannot keep their clothes on, and various sized bottles of J&B scotch whiskey that seem to be in everyone’s room, pocket, or hand at all times. Nothing about the story’s logic makes a lick a sense, but the cinematic style on display is so strange that it hardly matters.
“Patrick Still Lives” drowns in hallmarks ripped from Italian horror cinema’s halcyon days. There are unmotivated green and violet lights straight out of Dario Argento’s “Suspiria,” two German shepherds like the one in Lucio Fulci’s “The Beyond,” and a keyboard and bass heavy musical score that sounds like Claudio Simonetti trying to emulate Mike Oldfield. In many ways, the movie collects all of the good and all of the bad that fans have come to associate with the strange way Italian horror films were made at the time.
Even with a half dozen gruesome deaths, “Patrick Still Lives” moves almost as slowly as “Patrick” did. Except the mesmerizing quality of its bizarreness becomes so consuming that the film’s plentiful shortcomings melt into being part of its odd appeal.
When its engine is not idling on battiness, “Patrick Still Lives” gets by on gruesomeness and on gratuitous nudity, which is often not even sexual in nature. Patrick mentally coerces one young bird into giving a naked lap dance to a bedpost, although other ladies find reasons just as pointless to disrobe whether it is sunbathing topless or taking a nap bottomless.
Is it a well-made movie? It’s doubtful that anyone would accuse “Patrick Still Lives” of being that. The story is absurd, scenes are chaotic, the main character is nearly absent, and the film is better described by the word goofy than it is by the word good. But the film is already shameless in blatantly associating itself as an unauthorized relation to a modestly respected psychological thriller, and that devil may care attitude extends to the filmmaking as well. Like it or not, the indescribable nature of “Patrick Still Lives” makes its quality debatable, but its entertainment value assured.
NOTE: The Italian title of “Patrick Still Lives” is “Patrick vive ancora.”
Review Score: 65