Something Weird Video // 1968 // 69 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron // November 30th, 2002
She's one crazy kitty!
Virginia, a New York socialite, carries such a heavy personal appointment calendar that in between airport send offs of her safari bound brother and regular visits to the shrink to regain the rocker she's fallen off of, there is hardly any time for multiple manslaughter. Yet our psychotic social climber, with the help of her questionably sexual manservant Bi (get it?), has plans for three Manhattan miscreants she read about in the true crime section of The New Yorker. Actor Charles Freeman razored up a husband he was cuckolding. Wrestler Rocco went too far off script and stomped to death a fellow athletic thespian. And lowlife drug dealer Buddy gave a Courtney Love size dose of heroin to his flophouse Fiona Apple. Ginny wagers $100,000 that each of these murderous mugs can't survive 24 hours in the Big Apple with her human hunting skills pitted against their fly gathering ennui. And as she picks off her putrid prey one by one, friends and family come to a startling discovery: their Cosmo reading Nikki Hilton is Jason Voorhees with a standing reservation at both 21 and Belleview. So what compels this feline to crossbow and spear the city's cretins? Was it seeing her beloved puppy do a penthouse swan dive? Or was it learning that the Hamptons were all booked up again this year?
Conceived as a straight-ahead thriller but later modified to play the sexploitation circuit with multiple scenes of university dropouts exposing their sheepskin, Confessions of a Psycho Cat is a hammy haute couture jacket trimmed in a marvelous lunatic fringe. It's a wonderfully unbalanced smarm fest, mixing The Most Dangerous Game as conceived by Dominique Dunne, mental illness, and home movies of commune members smoking banana peels to create a kind of Sybil Goes on Staten Island Safari. The diametrically disturbed storylines wants to have their skin and slaughter too, as they jump between the urbane urban long pig hunt and the understudies from the Soho methadone clinic's production of Hair doing bed aerobics. The cut and paste production values are evident from the first shots of Buddy talking with his friends. The actor looks a couple of years, gray hairs, and VD treatments older. He recounts the events from the crime film in flashback (how he personally knows ALL these facts is anyone's guess -- he barely knows how to sit up straight) and we see Virginia's plan in action, her growing high eyebrowed insanity, and way too many extreme close ups of Jake LaMotta's punch drunk mug. It's fairly obvious that, if left intact, the original movie with its mediocre melding of the human pelt pursuit with The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat would have disappointed, like the clam chowder at Delmonico's. Sure, Eileen Lord is indeed a compelling insane presence as Virginia. She is the only nutcase in the history of the cinema to have madness embedded in eyes and hairstyle. But adding the lethargic, do-we-really-have-to-fake-sex-Mr.-Producer-can't-you-just-give-us-th e-money-out-of-the-kindness-of-your-heart skin insert shots only emphasizes the story's stuffed dead carcass quality.
There is a standout set piece, however, in this mixed up madhouse. It revolves around the retelling of Jake LaMotta's last sour hours on earth. It begins with the aging bull seated, shirt- and clueless, in a seedy motel chair. He is speaking to someone on the phone -- or at least he is desperately trying to ACT like he is speaking to someone on the phone. It's Virginia, or course, Ms. Psycho Cat herself, calling to taunt and tease the oversized human sweat gland. Now, all the while that LaMotta is giving it the old cauliflower try, sputtering lines like spittle into a ring side slop bucket, a surly barely legal lass sits bare breasted on the bed across from him and whines. A few minutes go by, and you start to realize something. She is really NOT in the room with LaMotta. She is talking to absolutely NO ONE. SHE HAS BEEN ADDED TO THE FILM, like a jailbait Greek chorus. In truth, she has to be of age or SWV would not release the film, but nonetheless she gives off a creepy naked 8th grader vibe even as she talks like a dive bar cocktail waitress. She argues, complains, and lambastes the former champ into answering his phone. LaMotta's reactions are priceless, as they are just edited parts from his phone conversations. There may have been someone originally in the room with him, but we're never sure. Jake and Judy (Judy Prostituty) are edited together in an attempt to sell the fraud. Later on an angry LaMotta rises and begins to seethe. Not like a steer mind you...more like a ticked off turd. As he leaves, the slack jawed slut concedes, and tells him to keep his lousy $20. Now that's class. Along with the flashback of a doggy doing a flying Wallendas from the 37th floor, Confessions of a Psycho Cat offers enough nutty niftiness to more than make up for the vagrants exposing their dirty pillows.
Something Weird Video again shows why its DVD packages are so unbelievably addictive. Psycho Cat is presented in a full frame black and white transfer that is so fresh you can almost smell the sewer water hot dogs of New York. The contrast between darks and lights is so spectacular that you can actually differentiate how Buddy's five o'clock shadow changes between the old and new scenes. As usual, SWV provides a wealth of extras, including more mind numbingly must see trailers (for films like Olga's House of Shame and Spoiled Rotten) and a wonderful exploitation art gallery. But the standouts are the two long form featurettes. Hot Blooded Woman is a 68-minute mini-movie that begins with a statuesque blond seducing a greasy hobo. And it's downhill from there as we enter the damaged psyche of Myrtle Pennypacker (the name alone is worth a couple of years in analysis) to uncover why she is such a go-go dancing transient lover. Preface to a Life, on the other hand, has your family in its shameful sites when it comes to laying hang-up blame. A 28 minute short about how Mom and Dad can totally screw up your life by foisting pre-conceived roles and ill conceived dreams upon you, everyone watching it will instantly recognize where their years of guilt, various nervous tics, and numerous personal failures derive. And for once, it really IS all your parents' fault! So whether it's rampant tramp nymphomania or the deep seeded desire to stab Jake LaMotta in the brisket, SWV's DVD presentation of Confessions of a Psycho Cat offers mental illness and neurosis for what it really is: unintentionally hilarious fun.
Review content copyright © 2002 Bill Gibron; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Something Weird Video
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 69 Minutes
Release Year: 1968
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Archival Short Subject
* Added Featurette: Hot Blooded Woman
* Gallery of Sexploitation Art
* Radio Spot Rarities