August 16, 2011

Patrick (1978)

"A comatose hospital patient harasses and kills though his powers of telekinesis to claim his private nurse as his own."

I heard an unsubstantiated rumour a few years ago that "Patrick" was going to be remade, but I've still yet to find any information about it. Hopefully nobody remakes this Aussie classic as I am quite fond of it.

Of course, I'd be lying if I said the main reason that I like this film so much is anything other than the presence of Susan Penhaligon in it. As far as the story goes, I prefer "The Medusa Touch" (1978) which had a bigger budget and many more memorable scenes even though Richard Burton's performance was undeniably wooden in places.

Having said that, Robert Thompson as Patrick couldn't be more intentionally wooden himself. He's in a kind of coma for one thing albeit with his eyes open. If that isn't creepy enough for you, he has telepathic powers and has a crush on his new nurse, Kathy Jacquard (Susan Penhaligon). I can't fault any of that for a moment.

"Patrick" is slightly predictable in that the action, when it happens, is somewhat telegraphed, but there's occasionally a nice amount of suspense with it. Some very good characters and overly serious acting keep it all entertaining, but I'm the first to admit that it's arguably all quite ridiculous really. That never stopped anyone enjoying "Carrie" (1976) though.

It's all eerie stuff with quite a few bizarre moments. If I say any more, it'll ruin it for you but "Patrick" is very adult and not some cheesy low-budget nonsensel. It'll even make you think about some controversial subjects if you are in the right frame of mind.

One warning I'll give you is that if you are at all fond of frogs then you'd better not watch this. There is a very cruel scene which isn't fake. Personally, I can't stand reptiles or amphibians (though I've eaten both), so it didn't really bother me.

My only big criticism of "Patrick" is that it's often a little bit slow and, unfortunately, boring for a modern audience. Although it looks cheap (and it was), if you give it a chance, you'll probably enjoy it.

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