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After the shocking bathtub death of his mother and her lover, the sinister Patrick lays comatose in a small private hospital, his only action being his involuntary spitting. When a pretty young nurse, just separated from her husband, begins work at the hospital, she senses that Patrick is communicating with her, and he seems to be using his psychic powers to manipulate events in her life.Written by
In a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor the neon 'emergency entrance' sign in the film is always malfunctioning to say 'trance', referring to Patrick's coma. See more »
[to Kathy Jacquard who is applying for a job as a nurse]
Why did you choose the Roget Clinic, Mrs. Jacquard? We tend to attract certain types - lesbians, nymphomaniacs, enema specialists..."
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The end credits play over Patrick lying in his hospital bed with his eyes open. See more »
Original Australian version features a music score by Brian May; European version was rescored by Italian rock group Goblin, partly using outtakes from their score for a TV series for director Dario Argento. See more »
I didn't know Aussies were making horror films like this in the late 70s, full of visual imagination and inventive direction. Aussie horror flicks are rare enough as it is, but genuinely good ones are a rarity, I am sad to say.
Patrick is one of the rare good ones, and it is a seriously underappreciated film. The titular character is a young man in a coma, shocked into inactivity by the death of his mother. He is, according to all medical tests, clinically dead, kept alive only by machines. The new nurse, however, thinks otherwise. Is there something going on behind that vacant face? Something evil? ...and powerful?
The first thing that struck me, mere seconds into the film, was the wonderful camera work and direction. Richard Franklin, who later went on to direct the also-underappreciated Psycho II, did an amazing job. On the topic of Psycho, it is obvious that he was a fan of Hitchcock - there are many visual tributes to Psycho and other Hitchcock films.
Made on a shoestring, as all Aussie films are, but especially horror films, it features only the most basic of optical, on-set, and make-up effects, but the way in which the cast takes them seriously lends them far more weight than they would otherwise carry.
Speaking of the cast, they are uniformly excellent, especially the sublime and sadly missed Sir Robert Helpmann - more famous for his dancing than his acting, he was never the less a greatly-respected cornerstone of 70s and 80s Australian cinema. While the rest of the cast are very good, it is Helpmann who really carries the film, exuding class and professionalism even while being flung about on strings and wrestling with a rubber axe.
Patrick is an effective thriller, which transcends its miniscule budget and makes good on its rather lofty ambitions. If you don't mind Aussie accents in your cheaply-made supernatural thrillers, I recommend it highly.
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