1976's SCHIZO comes to us from notorious exploitation filmmaker Pete Walker. Imagine if you can, Hitchcock working within a Giallo aesthetic and you may have a small idea regarding what to expect with this one. The story focuses on a notable ice skater named Samantha. After getting married and taking some time away with her new husband, all is not as joyful as it should be. A man by the name of Haskins has taken a particular liking to the woman and is hell-bent on making sure that she does not live "happily ever after" with said hubby. Queue an intense stalking situation that begins driving Samantha batty. Even when she confides in a psychiatrist, her mate, friends, and the police; no one believes her. She's thought to be mentally ill until those close to her begin turning up dead. Despite the tag line and title of the film betraying the twist ending of SCHIZO, the movie is no less enjoyable. Haskins serves to be a particularly menacing brute (really emoting a ton of frightening presence with very little dialogue), and Samantha is a more than adequate pawn. What really catches you off guard during its run time is the gore and sheer brutality of each kill. The effects are executed quite well (a great eye trauma scene is a highlight) and Walker does a nice job balancing the thriller with the splat. It's a film of its time, a nice mix of familiar genre trappings, and although not Walker's finest work; it's worth seeking out. In the end the filmmaker exhibits an admirable dedication to pulling creepy coherence out of a genre bag packed full of just about every horror trope (including a seance) imaginable.
Lynne Frederick, John Leyton, Stephanie Beacham