This installment of the Drive-In Collection offers two very early exploitationers from 1959 and 1960 ANATOMY OF A PSYCHO and THE LONELY SEX.
ANATOMY OF A PSYCHO
ANATOMY OF A PSYCHO is the story of Chet Marco (Ronnie Burns the adopted son of George Burns and Gracie Allen) who becomes increasingly unglued after the execution of his older brother Duke for committing murder. Duke took care of Chet and his sister Pat after the deaths of their parents but Duke had to scrape and steal to make ends meet and one night a robbery ended badly. After his brother is gassed Chet begins a downward spiral into madness. He swears revenge on those he holds responsible for his brother’s death and the violence escalates as his mind deteriorates.
This flick is good despite Ronnie Burns’ attempts to submarine the production by way of his horrible acting. He takes things so over the top and he comes across as way too hammy. I’ve never seen anything with him in it before so I cannot be sure if he has any chops to begin with but he was the weakest part of the cast. One of the highlights is Moe the Marine Corp veteran from the Pacific Theatre in World War II. He lives in a place he and his friends have dubbed “the Shack” and it is where everyone hangs out to play cards and booze it up. The walls are covered with souvenirs from his time in the war. For the relative rarity of his screen time the character is developed quite well. If he looks familiar it might be a familial resemblance you are picking up on. Moe is played by Don Devlin, he’s the father of actor and producer Dean Devlin who’s been involved in a couple of little films you may have seen…
There is even a nod to SCARFACE (not that SCARFACE) when Chet receives an injury early on in a fight and it turns into a prominent scar that he is stuck with for the duration of the film. Chet’s madness leads him to beating a classmate, committing arson, stalking, sexual assault, murder and shooting it out with the cops. The end even has him scaling the tallest structure around (a water tower) after exchanging gunfire with the hardnosed detective on his trail. At this point he has become a mewling and crying wreck of a human being and is almost unbearable to watch. Thankfully he doesn’t start pulling the weepy card until the credits are about to roll.
THE LONELY SEX
THE LONELY SEX is an odd piece of sleazy goodness. Also in black and white like its co-feature this flick is filmed in a softer focus with less contrast giving it a grittier and sleazier feel than ANATOMY OF A PSYCHO. This film is just about plain old creepers. There are two of them. One is a young man who never really matured sexually though he is an adult and the other is an older more peeping tom who seems much more menacing and dangerous than the sexual deviant. Unfortunately for Annabelle the creepy peeper is a friend of her father’s named Mr. Wyler who wants her to call him “uncle” Matt and frequently comments on her figure referring to how pleasant she looks in a bathing suit. Throw in the fact he keeps mentioning how he may accidentally walk in on her while she is undressing and you get a slimy bastard. She finds herself in peril when she gets kidnapped by the deviant and the peeping Tom becomes one of her rescuers though by this point her father the doctor has become the film’s moral compass and the viewer ends up sympathetic towards her kidnapper and is even more creeped out by the peeper. Matt’s driven to deal severely with the psycho because of his own guilt.
The flick is not very ambitious. It’s not even an hour long. It is tightly written and well paced and the opening booby shot (though the only one) leaves the viewer with no doubt how the movie may progress. The flick can be summed up quite succinctly: boobs, peeping Tom, sexually stunted introvert, strangulation, soft focus and foreground lighting. THE LONELY SEX is not good, it’s not horrible either but it’s worth a watch because it’s not long. If I can’t find anything else to watch when I’m flipping channels and I come across a 50’s or 60’s black and white that isn’t a romantic comedy I will generally give it a watch. THE LONELY SEX would fall into this category.
Both films are nice looking transfers from 35mm prints that show obvious signs of wear though not to the point of distraction. Like most other Vinegar Syndrome twofers (save DEATH BY INVITATION) this one is devoid of any special features and is solely divided up by reel-like all VinSyn titles thus far which I think is a nice touch. You can find ANATOMY OF A PSYCHO + THE LONELY SEX offered directly by Vinegar Syndrome or from Amazon. Check out the trailer below.