ABC Film Challenge – Horror – L – Schizo (1976) Movie Review

This is under L because of star Lynne Frederick

Director: Pete Walker

Writer: David McGillivray (Screenplay)

Starring: Lynne Frederick, John Leyton, Stephanie Beacham, John Fraser, Jack Watson, Queenie Watts

Plot: A newly married woman becomes convinced someone from her past is stalking her, but nobody believes her until the bodies start to pile up.

Tagline – Schizophrenia… When the left hand doesn’t know who the right hand is killing!!

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Schizo starts when Samantha (Frederick) is getting married to Alan (Leyton) only to find herself being stalked by William Haskins (Watson) her mother’s ex-lover and murder of her, he has returned to the life of Samantha to continue on his killing spree of the family.

With Samantha needing to prove that Haskins is stalking her, the people closest to her suffering his wrath, as she needs to try and get out of her situation before becoming the latest victim.

Thoughts on Schizo

Characters – Samantha is a famous ice skater who is about to get married, she had a traumatising childhood, which she saw her mother killed and on her big day, the killer returns to her life with a message, leading her to go through a situation where everyone is questioning her mindset. Alan is her new husband that isn’t happy her about not learning about the past Samantha has kept secret. William Haskins is the man released from prison that has come in search of Samantha, he has killed her mother and now it looks like he is coming to take her too. We do meet plenty of people that are trying to help Samantha along the way, be it the therapist Leonard, or best friend or landlady.

PerformancesLynne Frederick is the leading lady of the film and is strong with her characters reactions to everything happening through the film. Jack Watson does look the part of a creepy stalker through the film, while the rest of the cast do their jobs well.

StoryThe story here follows a woman on the biggest day of her life getting a visit from a man from her past, a man that killed her mother, he is stalker her in, with her friends slowly getting picked off. This is a very early slasher style story, it dives into the idea that someone might be stalking someone, which will create a paranoid image to the friends and loved ones, while giving us the early formula of seeing people slowly picked off along the way. It does use the environments to create different kills, and plants the early seeds of doubt about who the killer really is.

Horror/MysteryThe horror side of this film comes from seeing the different styles of kills being performed through the film, which plays into the slasher elements, while keeping us guessing as to who the killer might be.

SettingsThe film does adapt the environments to create the unique kills being performed through the film, using the available weapons along the way.

Special EffectsThe effects look great for the time, as we see the different injuries inflicted from the kills.

Scene of the Movie – Needle work.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The séance felt out of place.

Final Thoughts This is a big early slasher that might well have paved the path for many of the ones we know now.


The Beta Test (2021) Movie Review ‘Full Blown Mystery’

The Beta Test – Full Blown Mystery

Director: Jim Cummings, PJ McCabe

Writer: Jim Cummings, PJ McCabe (Screenplay)

Starring: Jim Cummings, PJ McCabe, Virginia Newcomb, Kevin Changaris, Olivia Grace Applegate, Jessie Barr, Malin Barr

Plot: A married Hollywood agent receives a mysterious letter for an anonymous sexual encounter and becomes ensnared in a sinister world of lying, infidelity, and digital data.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Beta Test starts as we meet Hollywood agent Jordan (Cummings) who along with his business partner PJ (McCabe) is trying to seal the latest deal to keep their business on top in the agency world. Jordan gets a strange invitation about meeting for an anonymous sexual encounter in a hotel, while he starts seeing strange reactions around him in everyday life.

After Jordan goes through with the secret meeting, he sees the start of a new confidence boosts, but soon he starts to see his own life starting to crash around him, with his relationship with his business partner and fiancée Caroline (Newcomb) crashing down around him.

Thoughts on The Beta Test

Characters & Performances – Jordan Haines is a Hollywood agent running a successful firm, about to get married, with everything going for him. He however finds himself getting a note about having an anonymous sexual encounter, something he goes through with, only to find his life starting to crumble down around him, as he looks to investigate who is behind the secret meetings. Jim Cummings brings us a character that does feel like it wants to be in a sequel to Liar Liar, with the reactions showing how his characters life is spiralling out of control, this is a positive because it shows us just how unsettled his character has become by everything. This film does circle around Jordan, with the supporting characters being his fiancée who senses distance being put between them, his business partner who sees his strange behaviour and the rest being the people he meets looking for answers.

StoryThe story here follows a Hollywood agent that finds his life turned upside down after getting involved in an anonymous sexual encounter, learning he is part of a bigger picture going on around the country. This is a story that will put us in the position of following Jordan around, as we see how he tends to push people into working with him, with his fake promises, making him an unlikeable character in this world, we do get the bigger messages thrown out there about changes in the system and that it isn’t fair that things have changed this way, the power is gone from the agents in the industry. This story does offer up a big mystery, as we wait to see how everything will unfold, what is the bigger picture, leaving us all the questions.

ThemesThe Beta Test is a mystery thriller that will show how one man will want to know answers about his life after committing to something he knows wasn’t right, leading him down a rabbit hole of what is truly going on. The LA setting is wonderful because it fills us with characters who believe they can get away with anything in this world.

Blue Finch Film Releasing presents The Beta Test in cinemas 15 October

Final Thoughts The Beta Test is a mystery that keeps getting bigger the further Jordan goes down the rabbit hole.