Bloodbath in Psychotown 1989
Directed by: Alessandro De Gaetano
Starring: Donna Baltron, Ron Arragon, Dave Elliot
Review by Luisito Joaquín González
Some movies are overwhelming with a power to evoke passion in a viewer, which wraps them up in the director’s illusion throughout the runtime. A few motion pictures become truly life altering experiences, and Bloodbath in Psycho Town manages to fit in that category. The morning after I watched this barrel scraped ‘slasher’, I woke up to a hefty £200 pound fine for unpaid parking tickets that I was unaware that I had ever received. I got up and went to play for my local soccer team and we were knocked out of the London lower league cup by a crunching 3-0 defeat. Much later I received a phone call from the girl that I was seeing, telling me that she wanted to discuss a rumour that she heard about a ‘gentleman’s only’ weekend in Amsterdam, which I thought I’d got away with a few weeks earlier. Then to add more pain to this bizarrely unfortunate day, my beloved Arsenal were beaten 8-2 by their biggest rivals Manchester United in an early taster for the season ahead. Life looked pretty grim…
All these drastically unlucky occurrences began with ninety wasted minutes of my life that I spent in front of this totally forgotten Z grade Troma trash. It’s almost as if…well… the ESP plot line had escaped the feature and invaded my life. Hideo Nakata’s The Ring was a famous story about a video that could jinx viewers to the worst kind of misfortune. Well now I’m sure I’ve uncovered an earlier example of this bizarre phenomenon. To be honest, I was somewhat relieved when seven days had passed and I was still alive!
Eric and his girlfriend Donna head to the remote town of Casa Della with three days left to finish their video project for graduation. Eric has decided to make a documentary about the village because it has a long history of bizarre occurrences. They bed down at a dilapidated mansion, which is owned by Eric’s father and was the scene of a recent unsolved murder. Donna feels that the abode may well be haunted, but her boyfriend disagrees. The following day, the couple head out to interview the locals and ask them for their opinions on the tragedy that happened only a week earlier. All that they find in the town, is a group of psychic palm reading hippies, who seem afraid of Donna’s subtle telepathic abilities. Before long the inevitable hooded nut job turns up and begins stalking the dumb-as-you-like students. Despite being given hundreds of blatant warnings from residents and even voices from beyond the grave, they decide to get to the bottom of the mystery. Just who or what could be behind the recent disappearances?
There’s not too much to put into words about this one, mainly because not a great deal happens. I will tell you though that ‘Drip of Blood in a Timber Yard’ is a much more suitable title for this snoozer. Troma has an awful track record with the slasher genre. Movies like Angel Negro, Girls School Screamers and the abysmal The Creeper have made Blood Hook, Splatter University and Graduation Day – the best of their output – look like Oscar material in comparison. Alessandro De Gaetano’s offering continues the low quality tradition, by being so mind numbingly boring that you’ll believe you’ve been locked in a concrete tomb for the entire runtime. With a title like Bloodbath in Psycho Town, I must admit that I expected a few gruesome murders. Unfortunately we get one anaemic chance to see the killer use his blade, which is hardly a Bloodbath and just isn’t good enough over ninety minutes. This was in fact so yawn-inducing that the director included five pathetic sex scenes featuring the same unappealing couple in a weak attempt at upping the momentum.
The hero and heroine of the feature, the ‘stars’ of aforementioned sex-scenes, are eminently watchable for the simple fact that they represent mankind’s mysterious personality-link with wood. Yes, if you thought that you had previously viewed timber-like performances, these two will leave you convinced that they studied drama in a forest under the tuition of a wilting Great Oak. Eric was particularly amusing, as he effortlessly proved that not only the T100s in the Terminator movies are devoid of human emotion. His girlfriend, who should have known better after previously appearing in both Hide and Go Shriek and Shallow Grave, managed to dictate the tedium with her constant nagging, which was as unrelenting as the lack of action. Not only were they a pair of human tree-trunks, but they also looked completely disinterested. That’s awful for up and coming actors.
Funnily enough, a member of the crew has written a comment on the IMDB about Psychotown, which attempts to explain why the movie turned out so badly. He says that director Alessandro De Gaetano blew most of the budget in the local Spanish restaurant and then split town without paying the crew. Even though these reports are intriguing, the poster loses credibility by coming across as totally bitter. He takes a snipe at De Gaetano’s sexuality, which is a cheap shot and also says Spanish food is rubbish (unforgivable lol!). Anyway, it most definitely looks like there were some problems on the set and maybe this resulted in the awkward picture that exists today.
On the plus side, Psycho Town does manage to build a smidgen of atmosphere in places. I liked the Blair Witch-alike interview scenes, which of course pre-date that movie by a good ten years. It looks quite obvious that the plan was to build a slow boiling and atmospheric psychological slasher film, much like Unhinged from 1980. It’s poorly handled though and a huge majority of the runtime is mind numbingly flat and forgettable. This only just manages to slot into the slasher category, due to the brief appearance of the mystery killer in a bright yellow rain coat. I believe that with only one on-screen murder in its locker, most genre fans will allow this to pass them by. The whereabouts of the touted ‘bloodbath’ is one of cinema’s biggest mysteries and it is a dumb and misleading title. A few years later, my good ‘friends’ over at Troma went one step further, by calling it Video Demons do Psycho Town and gave it a cover that made it look more like a supernatural gorefest. That’s exactly what the feature DIDN’T need.
This is no longer obscure, because it has been packaged on DVD under the aforementioned new name. When I first heard that this was happening, I thought that knowing Troma, it would be something like, ‘Tonnes of Naked Chicks, Gore and Academy Award winning actors in a Huge Massacre’. To be honest, I wasn’t that far away.
I just can’t see any of you liking this one and it’s best left well alone.
Killer Guise: √√
Final Girl: √