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Schizoid (1980)

An advice columnist begins receiving threatening notes from an anonymous stalker. Meanwhile, members of her group therapy session are being murdered by an unknown assailant.

Director:

David Paulsen

Writer:

David Paulsen
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Klaus Kinski ... Pieter Fales
Donna Wilkes ... Alison Fales
Marianna Hill ... Julie
Craig Wasson ... Doug
Richard Herd ... Donahue
Joe Regalbuto ... Jake
Christopher Lloyd ... Gilbert
Flo Lawrence ... Pat (as Flo Gerrish)
Kiva Lawrence ... Rosemary
Claude Duvernoy Claude Duvernoy ... Françoise
Cindy Donlan Cindy Donlan ... Sally
Jon Greene Jon Greene ... Archie
David Assael David Assael ... Barney
Richard Balin Richard Balin ... Freddy
Fredric Cook ... Willy
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Storyline

Julie is an advice columnist for the city newspaper who begins to receive anonymous notes threatening murder and worse. At about the same time, female members of the group therapy session she attends are being stabbed, one by one, by an unknown assailant. Is there a connection? If so, why do the notes talk about murder with a gun, while the murder victims are being stabbed? At first, the police, her ex-husband, her therapist and her friends all assure her that the notes are probably unrelated, and hoax; but with time, it becomes apparent that someone close to her is responsible. Is it her therapist, Pieter, who has sex with his patients just before they are murdered? Or Pieter's daughter, who resents Julie for Julie's romantic involvement with Pieter? Is it Julie's ex-husband, who never really wanted their divorce? Or maybe Gilbert, the eccentric building maintenance man whom many people believe is a little crazy anyway? Just about everyone around her seems mentally disturbed enough ... Written by Brian C. Madsen <bcmmovies@earthlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Dear Julie: Don't let me do it again...


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 February 1981 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

Murder by Mail See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$900,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Writer and Director David Paulsen was told by Producers Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus that he had one month to have a screenplay ready that could be shot for under a million dollars, and that could feature Klaus Kinski, who was under contract. Paulsen also had only one month to secure a crew and shooting locations. See more »

Goofs

In the note that Julie reads is different from the note seen. The note reads: "Murder I Think about it more and more the rejection is getting so hard to take nobody cares about me I feel so ugly my head is breaking maybe you'll understand the bullets in the chamber the guns ready blow i don't want murders but I have to make them hear me can you understand help me I'm scared to death." However Julie reads "Murder I think about it more and more they talk forever about their stupid problems and i'm the one who's miserable I want to shoot them through the head and i can do it I've got his gun you're one of them i'm going to kill you to." However next we see the letter it reads exactly as Julie read it See more »

Connections

Featured in Movie Macabre: Schizoid (1984) See more »

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User Reviews

 
not terrible completely but certainly not good - that middle ground slasher
3 April 2016 | by Quinoa1984See all my reviews

Schizoid is fairly up front with you in the first 5 minutes or so: if you like seeing very sleazy movies where a guy in black gloves and a pair of scissors is going after women in not-terribly-clever-but-direct ways, then this is for you. But in place of having a director with some actual visual appeal or attempts at creating a distinct style like some of the Giallo directors (i.e. Argento or Fulci), you get here instead the 'different' side of things with casting: Klaus Kinski. For me, I thought this was the filmmakers going about it somewhat obviously - like, of course he's the killer, right? I mean, look at him! Or it might be Christopher Lloyd, who is the sort of maintenance man who shares an elevator with the main female character after fixing the boiler (so he says) and showing what a handy-man he is by moving the elevator by pressing a button with a screwdriver. Or could it be... someone else??

This is fairly standard stuff - the main woman, Julie of "Dear Julie", is part of some sort of weekly couples (or singles?) therapy group that also includes Lloyd's character, and we see how these murders unfold and how Julie wants to try to entrap the killer, who seems to be sending those word-cut-up type of letters - and yet it's hard not to want to keep watching with Kinski there. This is basic stuff for him, but he takes it seriously enough, and even created some ambiguity with his character. He also gets to play MELODRAMA (in bold type) with his daughter character, who lost a mother years before and blames him for it some reason or another. They have father-daughter squabbles, and those are some of the more entertaining scenes of the movie. For what it's worth, he makes it sort of compelling.

The rest of it is not very remarkable, neither in the kills (again there's little tension since we've seen these before, or at least you have if you've ever seen a horror movie, let along a slasher) nor in what seem to be red herrings going left and right (i.e. Lloyd's character, who gets kind of short-shrifted in the grand scheme of the story). The filmmaker, David Paulsen, didn't do that much else other than this movie and one other, and it's clear he's in it to create the requisite drama necessary to keep the story going, without putting in the work to make the dialog more than groan-indusing. And Craig Wasson, who one would later see in Body Double, is relegated to a role that any actor could play... almost, anyway.

Even the title is kind of disappointing; there's not too much of any kind of 'schizo' side to things, and we're just waiting for the other shoe to drop as far as when the killer may strike next or go after Julie, or when the cops might do *something* with this case. And yet because of people like Kinski and Marianna Hill (who is alright as Julie, just enough to get by), I can't say it's a total failure or mess. It's just... there, with some sleazy 80's horror-synth and a "twist" ending that reeks of hackery.


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