Ofttimes a silly bit of business is retained in a film when those responsible describe it as "fitting the plot." This preposterous work contains very little that can be manifest as fitting its plot, since the latter makes scant sense from its beginning to its finish. An opening scene establishes the tenor for the piece, as it occurs in a state institution for the insane wherein a viewer must question the rationale of displaying a hallway teeming with obviously mad inmates gamboling about freely and unsupervised, hardly acceptable procedure anywhere. A male patient, Janice (Lenny Von Dohlen), has just overpowered, bound, gagged, and drugged his apparently tongue-tied physician, Dr. Frank Carlyle (Matt McCoy), his motivation being Carlyle's aborted procedure of brain surgery upon Janice to reverse his insanity, a failure that additionally caused substantial loss of use to the latter's left hand. Janice has managed to learn where the doctor resides and, after escaping from the institution by wearing Carlyle's lab coat and I.D., walking past obviously insensate hospital personnel, he steals the surgeon's auto and drives to Carlyle's house near Malibu Beach during a savage rainstorm that is raking Southern California's coast. Meanwhile, the beleaguered surgeon and his spouse Diana (Joanna Pacula) are hosting Jack (George Lazenby) and his girl friend Holly (Kylie Travis), but due to the storm the quartet decides to remain at the Carlyle home in lieu of going to a restaurant, thereby setting the stage for Janice's use of them as victims of his sociopathic behaviour. Thus begins the heart of this feeble essay in the cinematic Genre of Paranoia, with hapless victims being held hostage to the rantings of a vicious killer who has been allowed by director/scriptor Lawrence Simeone to obtain a revolver. Direction is weak, critical shortcomings apparent with setups and blocking, while the players are seldom comfortable in their roles. The screenplay, as presented, has an incongruous narrative structure, displaying flagrant continuity flaws that deprive cast members of a framework within which they may be able to effectively do their work. Von Dohlen garners acting honors, such as they are, having turned his part into something playable despite its shoddy dialogue. Pacula walks through her role, while McCoy seldom alters his expression, perhaps understandable as his lines are the film's worst, and Travis seems to be acting in another, not necessarily better, movie. A dramatic score from Greg Turner soon becomes the most absorbing portion of the affair, although it frequently outpaces the ostensible aims of the scenario. Experimentation by cinematographer Harris Done begins during the opening shots featuring employment of a red filter, and there is a good deal of creative effort to be found in his use of lighting that, along with Turner's scoring, give one something to focus upon in lieu of the foolish story. Better editing and post-production sound efforts would have helped matters, but unfortunately these lacks are in line with generally inferior production perpetrated throughout. Those viewers game enough to remain until the end will examine a ridiculous climax, one that beggars any connection with good sense that may have preceded it.
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