Saturday, 15 August 2009

Patrick Vive Ancora (Patrick Still Lives) (1980)

I had to work long and hard to find a
screenshot without boobs


Back in the 70s and 80s, the Italians made a profitable little business out of shamelessly imitating Hollywood blockbusters. Jaws, the original blockbuster, spawned a rip-off from pretty much every Italian B-movie director you can think of: Joe D'Amato made Deep Blood, Enzo G. Castellari's made The Last Shark, Mattei cobbled together Cruel Jaws, Lamberto Bava made Monster Shark and Tonino Ricci made Night of the Sharks. Many other Hollywood films received this treatment. Obviously they couldn't compete with big-budget special effects, so they compensated with heaping helpings of blood, profanity and boobs. Things brings us to Patrick Vive Ancora, unofficial sequel/remake of Australian suspense thriller Patrick. It was directed by Mario Landi, who also directed the incredibly sleazy Giallo a Venezia, and in this film he does away with all that boring stuff from the first film: tension, suspense, plot, character development and anything else that could act as a speed bump between the sex and violence.

In a sudden and somewhat hilarious roadside prank/accident, Patrick cops a glass bottle to the face, which puts him into a coma and gives him telekinetic powers (naturally). His father, Professor Herschell, stashes him at a luxury villa and uses another trio of comatose patients and some giallo-esque coloured lighting to amplify his psychic powers. Then he invites five rich assholes, each with their own skeletons in the closet, to stay at the isolated Italian villa for a bit of therapy/R&R. These fucking idiots all show up without even considering why a total stranger has invited them to stay at his house. Turns out they are the final suspects for Patrick's accident and the doctor intends to use Patrick's powers to kill them in various gruesome ways.

Actually, this film reminded me a lot of Andrea Bianchi's Burial Ground: Nights of Terror. It was shot at the same villa and it has a very similar "plot" ie a bunch of rock-stupid upper-class morons get naked a lot and suffer gory deaths. It even stars Mariangela Giordano who famously got her nipple bitten off by a creepy midget in that film. Surprisingly she spends even more time naked in this film and suffers an even worse death, the most sleazy and graphic death-by-fireplace-poker-in-the-vagina scene I've ever seen, which knocks Argento's Mother of Tears down to second place. Sorry Dario.

That's probably the showstopper of the film, but there are a lot of other gory deaths, usually filmed in the most tasteless and misogynistic way possible. A groundskeeper goes for a naked midnight stroll and ends up mauled by her own dogs, who repeatedly bite her in the crotch like she's got Smackos in her vagina. Another guy gets hung up by a hook lodged in his neck, some lab techs get electrocuted, a woman gets decapitated by a car window and her husband gets locked in a car full of poisonous gas. The police aren't much help, when they find a guy who has been boiled to death in the swimming pool they conclude that his "death was due to a fatality." Thanks guys.

There is a lot of graphic violence but what really surprises is the amount of nudity. It's just shy of a softcore porn film. As I mentioned earlier, Giordano is naked in practically every scene. It's kind of hilarious, she just strips down for no reason whatsoever. At one point she is talking with her boyfriend in their hotel room and suddenly she adjusts her underwear so that her nipples are peeking out the top of her bra. "Whoops, almost went a full minute without exposing my boobs, lemme fix that." She also has a drunken rant at the dinner table while she's bare-ass naked, gets into a sexy naked cat fight with another woman and then has a bath. Later she dons a sheer robe and hits on a guy, but he gets so mad that he bitch slaps her twelve times.

Pretty much every female character spends a fair bit of screen time in the buff. Even the coma patients. One of the film's highlights is when Dr. Herschell's sexy assistant is compelled by Patrick to strip naked and unhygienically rub herself on his bed frame and masturbate on his couch. Surprisingly no hand jobs like in the first film, though he does fuck with her typing. The rare times they aren't naked the women are usually involved in hysterical screaming matches, calling each other ugly whores, assholes, cows, pigs, ugly bitches, you name it. When Giordano calls one guy a faggot, he counters with "Die alone, whore!" Ouch. There isn't a lot here for the ladies though, except for a few shots of John Benedy in his hairy, mustachioed glory. And a 60 year old guy in a speedo.

The film does take a little while to get going. Plenty of subplots are introduced early on, but they are completely abandoned by the halfway mark. The secret motives for the killings is trotted out with a half-assed shrug, and the whole thing is wrapped up with a sudden and anticlimatic ending as if they ran out of film. All in all it's an incredibly sleazy film featuring terrible dialog, hilariously bad acting and cheap special effects. I particularly like the cheesy effect where Patrick's glowing green eyes are superimposed over the screen. I'd heard that this film ups the ante on gore and nudity from the tightly restrained Patrick, but I wasn't prepared for exactly how much. This is a pretty bad film but in terms of highly entertaining sleaze it rates four and a half Joe Spinnel's out of five.

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