Driven to the edge of insanity by the execution of his older brother, Chet is boiling over with hatred. After getting his face slashed in a senseless alley-way brawl, his paranoia begins to paint everyone around him as an enemy. He turns to his sweet younger sister, his slutty girlfriend, and even his old poker buddies for solace, but all of them have real or imagined links back to the ill-fated trial that condemned his brother, thus aggravating Chet's psychosis. After viciously assaulting the prosecuting attorney's son, the troubled youth draws the relentless attention of detective Lt. Mac. Spiraling out of control, Chet commits an arson and then a senseless murder. With Lt. Mac ratcheting up the pressure, Chet sinks deeper and deeper into the bottomless pit of his own psychotic delusions. Written by
"Anatomy of a Psycho" is in the category of juvenile delinquent noir or JD noir. A good print of it brings out the noir cinematography and staging in places. It is more JD than noir, however.
The story is not a mystery, not a thriller, and not horror. It's more or less sincere drama that suffers from ineptitude in execution. The result is a good deal of tedium with occasional flashes of interest. This is not a b-movie, but a c-movie.
Darrell Howe plays the psycho, well not really psychotic. He's simply behaving very badly, following his bad impulses and drives. He's very upset because he believes his brother has been wrongly executed for murder and he's determined to take revenge. This he does, by burning down the house of the judge, for example. His sister is engaged to Ronnie Burns whose father testified against his brother, so he lies in court about Burns and gets him jailed.
Michael Granger plays the cop, and you may recognize him.
JD is perhaps not the best way to characterize films like this. The category of "troubled youth" may be better. The delinquent is a more extreme troubled youth. These films reflect the disillusionment of young men and women who don't like the society (or family life) they become aware of as they grow up or doubt its values. They see no place for themselves in it, so they choose some other path. These films exist today because conditions haven't changed.
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