Thursday, May 26, 2016

Schizoid (1980)

Who is the crazed scissors slasher hacking up the members of shrink Klaus Kinski’s (NOSFERATU) therapy group and mailing threatening notes to newspaper advice columnist Mariana Hill (BLOOD BEACH)? Is it Kinski’s deranged teenage daughter Donna Wilkes (ANGEL), who likes to dress in her dead mother’s clothes? Or Hill’s goofy ex-husband Craig Wasson (BODY DOUBLE)? Or creepy maintenance man Christopher Lloyd (on hiatus from TAXI)? Hell, it could be Kinski himself. Not only is he Klaus Kinski, but he’s also regularly schtupping at least two members of his group, including Hill. If you can believe the foxy Mariana Hill would have sex with Klaus Kinski, you’ll have no problem dealing with other offbeat stuff in the screenplay by director David Paulsen (SAVAGE WEEKEND).

SCHIZOID offers plenty of clues to the killer’s identity, as well as red herrings. What it doesn’t dish up is juicy gore (it was released the same year as FRIDAY THE 13TH) and a twist ending that fools anybody. Both Hill and Wilkes have brief nude scenes, if you’re into that (if you’re not, check out Wasson in GHOST STORY), and all the characters act weird.

Kinski is a flat-out weirdo — off-screen and usually on-screen — but there’s no denying his twitchy hamming is fun to watch. Here, his character smokes constantly, follows people around, and acts generally suspicious for no good reason, other than that’s just how Klaus Kinski is. The television-friendly cast also includes Joe Regalbuto (MURPHY BROWN) and Richard Herd (T.J. HOOKER) as cops, and Paulsen went on to produce, direct, and write DYNASTY, DALLAS, and KNOTS LANDING. The R-rated SCHIZOID was one of the first features produced by Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus after taking over The Cannon Group in 1979.

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