Patrick Still Lives (1980)

MARCH 9, 2009


In this day and age, you would think that getting an R rated cut of a super gory Italian movie would take MORE effort, but that didn’t stop Netflix from sending me a 90 minute version of Patrick Still Lives (Italian: Patrick Vive Ancora), despite promising the uncut 96 minute version on the website and even the damn sleeve that the disc was mailed in. Why do people even stock these things? The fact that they were ever made at all is beyond me (even with the cuts, the movie is still pretty graphic and sleazy, so cutting it doesn’t even serve the basic purpose of altering a film without the director’s consent), but the second that the uncut version was released, the R cut discs should have been tossed and burned. I will do my part by scratching the goddamn thing to high heaven.

The thing that strikes me the most about this movie is the unparalleled amount of nudity it contains. I’ve seen pornos that were more chaste. There are five women in the movie and every single one of them spends a good chunk of time in the nude. One of them appears nude more often than clothed, in fact. Even a scene that shouldn’t really have any nudity - a girl walking around the spooky courtyard prior to her obvious doom, for example - has more full frontal shots than just about any other horror film I can recall, and that’s just one sequence! And at least two of the film’s deaths involve the vagina, leading me to wonder whether this film was designed as a softcore and the horror stuff got added in later. The score is certainly “bowm chicka bowm BOWM!” esque at times, at any rate.

I especially wonder about this because the horror plot doesn’t make a word of sense, even by Italian standards. A guy gets bottled in the face after his car breaks down (all of that occurs in the film’s first 20 seconds, mind you) and goes into a coma, where he develops telekinesis and under the control of his evil doctor father, gets revenge on six people, one of whom was responsible for the bottling incident. Now, I get bottles broken over my face all the time, and I’ve never gotten any telekinetic powers from it, so that aspect already bugged me, but how the hell does one track “everyone” who drove on a road one particular day?

But who cares really, as the plot is only there to pass the time in between nude/gore scenes. The body count may be kind of low, but director Mario Landi makes up for it by staging some pretty awesome death scenes. A woman is eaten by dogs, a guy gets hooked in the neck and hung, and in my personal favorite, a typically skeleton-less Italian woman is decapitated by an automatic window. The film’s most notorious kill, a poker through the vagina and out of the mouth, seems to have gotten the brunt of the editing, so I can’t comment on its awesomeness. However, there was a wonderfully gory one in Mother of Tears, so I’ve had my fill of such things anyway.

Another great thing about the movie is how much everyone hates each other. There are at least three scenes of people smacking each other around (including a pretty epic catfight). And the namecalling!!! In the first 15 minutes alone, people are called assholes, cunts, whores, cows, mannequins (?), idiots... you name it, someone is needlessly referred to as one, usually in their first appearance in the film. Even the non-mean-spirited dialogue is worth noting, particularly when a doctor claims that one character’s death “was due to a fatality”. But that’s all fine by me, especially considering how long it takes for people to start dying off.

As is typical of Italian films, this was an acknowledged ripoff/”sequel” to a movie they had nothing to do with, in this case, Richard Franklin’s Australian film Patrick (which, oddly enough, I almost bought yesterday, without even realizing Netflix was sending me this one my way). I haven’t seen that film, but I don’t think it matters any more than it would if you saw Fulci’s Zombi (aka Zombi 2) before seeing Dawn of the Dead (aka Zombi). Ah, the Italians, needlessly confusing horror fans for over thirty years.

The DVD has a couple interviews worth a look. One is with Gianni Dei, who plays the title role (well, the Patrick part of the title anyway). It’s funny because he’s never seen the movie, considers his acting career something of a triviality, and generally seems bored with the whole affair. The other one, with producer Gabriele Crisanti is far more detailed. He doesn’t hilariously berate everyone in the world like many other Italian horror filmmakers do in these sort of things, but he offers up some good information nonetheless. There is also a still gallery, which I skipped on the grounds of “I just saw the movie so I don’t need to see photos of it”.

What say you?

And now, Horror Movie A Day and Happy Hour Comics would like to present the 5th in an ongoing series of HMAD-inspired comic strips. I hope you enjoy!! (Click to enlarge)

1 comment:

  1. I *love* "Patrick Still Lives"! I had seen and reviewed the "original" Patrick some time back, and found it distinctly meh, but then I saw and reviewed this Italian sequel, which improves on it in just about every way. More nudity, gore, and nonsensical plotting than you have any right to expect leads to a movie ten times more entertaining than it has any right to be.

    It really does have some "Cathy's Curse"/"Scream Bloody Murder"-level hatefulness going on throughout, including my favorite conversation-ender ever: "DIE ALONE, WHORE!"

    I got the Netflix version as well, and was unaware that it was cut--I don't really know what they would have left out, considering what was still in. Don't scratch it up, please! People need to see this.

    Incidentally, I assumed that Patrick's ESP powers were a result of his dad's mad-scientist tinkering--those three coma patients he had hooked up to all the equipment somehow powered Pat's powers, I think. Not convincing science, but close enough for Italian trash cinema.


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