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Phobia (1980)

A psychiatrist involved in a radical new therapy comes under suspicion when his patients are murdered, each according to their individual phobias.


John Huston


Gary Sherman (story), Ronald Shusett (story) | 3 more credits »
1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Michael Glaser ... Dr. Peter Ross
Susan Hogan ... Jenny St Clair
John Colicos ... Barnes
David Bolt David Bolt ... Henry Owen
Patricia Collins ... Dr. Alice Toland
David Eisner David Eisner ... Johnny Venuti
Lisa Langlois ... Laura Adams
Robert O'Ree Robert O'Ree ... Bubba King
Alexandra Stewart ... Barbara Grey
Neil Vipond Neil Vipond ... Dr. Clegg
Marian Waldman ... Mrs. Casey
Kenneth Welsh ... Sgt Wheeler
Gwen Thomas Gwen Thomas ... Dr. Clemens
Paddy Campanaro Paddy Campanaro ... Newswoman #1
Gerry Salsberg Gerry Salsberg ... Newsman #1


A psychiatrist treats his patients - sufferers from agoraphobia, claustrophobia, acrophobia, a fear of snakes, and a fear of man - with radical therapy in which they confront their fears by watching them on a large screen. The result is that each patient is driven to commit violent acts, and each dies by what he most fears. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


What happens when your Psychiatrist goes out of his mind?


Drama | Horror | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


According to Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett was the first to option the script from the original screenwriter. Shusett was in talks to sell the rights further, provided he could "fix it". O'Bannon agreed the script needed work and opined to restructuring it, instead of a more laborious 'Page One' rewrite.

O'Bannon and Shusett divided the script into three acts, and identified the main story conflict as "a crazy psychologist is trying to kill one of his patients". They realized the script only addressed this conflict in the third act, in which the hero also defeats the villain. They took out the first such scene, in which the conflict first matures, and moved it to the end of the first act.

Then, O'Bannon wrote a completely new scene to the end of the second act, in which the main characters suddenly freeze into a showdown. Both writers felt the revisions made the script more interesting; O'Bannon compared the rewrite to "a watchable sow's ear". Shusett sold the script to a Canadian producer, who attached John Huston to direct.

A further production draft was written by the producer himself. Shusett read the new draft and disliked it. He called Huston up to offer their earlier draft instead. Huston opted to use the producer's draft as a matter of convenience. (O'Bannon, Lohr: "Guide to Screenplay Structure". 2013, Michael Weise productions, pp.8-9) See more »


Dr. Peter Ross: [to Barnes] You arrogant, unconscionable bastard!
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Referenced in From Stereo to Video (2014) See more »


My Rival
Written by Donald Fagen Walter Becker
Performed by Steely Dan
Courtesy of MCA Records.Inc
See more »

User Reviews

Weird and strangely entertaining
9 August 2020 | by beholder23See all my reviews

This movie is obviously too weird for the mainstream taste so critics see it as John Huston worst entry.

That's not the case at all. You find here a tolerable whodunit aspect in addition to weird and interesting story line.

Simply don't expect too much, when you watch it and you get a mildly entertaining story line with a twist.

Sure, I consider some of John Huston's other work as superior, but it is still a good effort.

If you liked e.g. the equally weird 'Reflections in a Golden Eye' then maybe you like also this one.

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Release Date:

9 September 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Fobia See more »


Box Office


$5,100,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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