68 user 53 critic

The Medusa Touch (1978)

PG | | Horror, Sci-Fi | 7 April 1978 (UK)
Psychological thriller about a telekinetic novelist who causes disasters simply by thinking about them.


Jack Gold


John Briley (screenplay), Peter Van Greenaway (novel)
1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Burton ... John Morlar
Lino Ventura ... Detective-inspector Brunel
Lee Remick ... Dr. Zonfeld
Harry Andrews ... Assistant Commissioner
Alan Badel ... Quinton - Barrister
Marie-Christine Barrault ... Patricia Morlar
Jeremy Brett ... Edward Parrish
Michael Hordern ... Altropos - Fortune Teller
Gordon Jackson ... Dr. Johnson
Michael Byrne ... Sergeant Duff
Derek Jacobi ... Moulton - John's publisher
Robert Lang ... Pennington
Avril Elgar Avril Elgar ... Mrs. Pennington
John Normington ... Mr. Copley - John's schoolmaster
Robert Flemyng ... Judge McKinley


John Morlar (Richard Burton) is watching a British television broadcast when an anchorman states that American astronauts are trapped in orbit around the moon. Suddenly someone in Morlar's room picks up a figurine and strikes him on the head repeatedly. His blood splatters the television screen. French Detective-Inspector Brunel (Lino Ventura) arrives at Morlar's apartment to begin an investigation. At first he thinks Morlar is dead, but soon he hears him breathe. At the hospital, Morlar is hooked up to life support systems, one machine in particular monitors the activity of his battered brain. Brunel discovers that Morlar has been in psychological analysis because of his history of being witness to many disasters, other people's disasters. Dr. Zonfeld (Lee Remick), Morlar's analyst, explains that Morlar's delusions had begun when he was a child. He believed that he had caused a hated nanny's death. Morlar's childhood delusions were reinforced at a resort when he overheard his parents... Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TELEKINESIS: A mental force that enables this man to move objects and control events. Science cannot explain the awesome power of the mind. And nothing can explain it. See more »


Horror | Sci-Fi


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Second of two horror movies in which Richard Burton starred during the 1970s. The other was Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977). See more »


When passing the 747 wreckage in the street, a thrust vector nozzle from a Harrier Jump Jet is prominent. See more »


Doctor Zonfeld: [describing Morlar to Brunel] Most of my patients find the world too much for them. He was too much for the world.
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Referenced in Family Viewing (1987) See more »

User Reviews

"I'm the man with the power to create catastrophe".
29 December 2018 | by lost-in-limboSee all my reviews

And he isn't kidding! An unusually rigid, dark and hazy telekinetic crossed disaster driven supernatural-thriller, predictably told and methodically directed, but the spectacle starts out like a cerebral murder-mystery before the bleak, schlocky mayhem bursts from the seams. Once a weary-eyed Richard Burton starts staring into your soul... only means upcoming doom is near. About an hour away... give or take.

The story follows a French detective Brunel (Lino Ventura who's great here) on temporary assignment for Scotland yard, as he investigates the attempted murder of a writer, John Morlar, who now lays comatose in a hospital bed. However there's something strange about this case, and this man. He learns from Morlar's psychiatrist Dr Zonfeld (a really cold Lee Remick), and Morlar's journals, he believed he could predict the future, and eventually cause disasters, or even death.

This leads to a lot of red herrings, where motivations are unravelled through Brunel's consistent digging of the facts, although it's not hard to figure who was the attempted murderer. So when that's finally revealed, everything suddenly changes and the story comes into its own feeling like there's a lot more at stake. The script through flashbacks, interestingly gives an insight into Morlar's decaying mindset, as his psychic ability grows and bitter distain for life (especially for the establishment) festers. Therefore the morbid nature of its bubbling intentions builds and shocks begin to multiply, which always seem to end in tragedy, and once its starts... there's no going back. It's going to end, like it began... Morlar will see to that with an excellent, fitting ending.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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UK | France



Release Date:

7 April 1978 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Medusa Touch See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor) (as Technicolor®)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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