3.8/10
386
8 user 12 critic

Phobia (1980)

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

Director:

John Huston

Writers:

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

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1932. The tyrannical and despotic government of President Machado has headed Cuba for seven years. The latest measure of that tyranny is the outlawing of public gatherings of more than four... See full summary »

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Cast

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
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

What happens when your Psychiatrist goes out of his mind?

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Canada | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 September 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Fobi See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,100,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$59,167
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Borough Park Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Quotes

Dr. Peter Ross: [to Jenny] I'm not going to spend the rest of my life in a chemical straight jacket!
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Soundtracks

My Rival
Written by Donald Fagen Walter Becker
Performed by Steely Dan
Courtesy of MCA Records.Inc
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User Reviews

Eminently forgettable
20 January 2008 | by lazarilloSee all my reviews

The late, great John Huston apparently went on a bender and woke up in Canada where they plopped him in the director's chair to helm a tax-shelter "psychological" horror flick remarkably similar to "Schizoid", a slightly better Klaus Kinski vehicle released the same year. An unorthodox psychiatrist finds that his patients are being murdered, ironically in ways that play to their greatest phobias. So who could be the killer? Well, I won't spoil it, but all you have to do is looking at the frickin' tag line.

Besides being generic and dull, the main problem here is the male lead. Canadians do tend to have an inferiority complex sometimes, but I find it hard to believe that they couldn't have found a greater thespian talent in that entire country than "Hutch" (or was it "Starsky"--I get confused?). Paul Michael Glaser gives a central performance that is every bit as compelling as paint drying. As for Huston, this fortunately wasn't his swan-song--he ended his life with an impressive troika of films, "Under the Volcano", "Prizzi's Honor", and "The Dead". This was merely an unfortunate misstep for him.

The only good thing I can say about this (and I'm really clutching for straws here), is that, also like "Schizoid", it does have a surprising and uncharacteristic nude scene by a young lovely of the Canadian tax shelter era. With "Schizoid" it was Donna Wilkes; here it is Lisa Langlois, who was in Claude Chabrol's "Blood Relatives" and any number of Canadian films better than this (maybe THAT was the whole reason I watched this years back--who knows?). Other than that small favor though its eminently forgettable


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