SCHIZOPHRENIAC: THE WHORE MANGLER
Directed by Ron Atkins
Written by Ron Atkins
Produced by Ron Atkins
Cast: John Giancaspro, Jasmin Putnam & Ron Atkins
1997/84 mins/Color/Dolby Pro Logic
1:33.1/English/US/NTSC Region 1
Review from the Cut Throat Video DVD
SCHIZOPHRENIAC commences with the obligatory prostitute shower scene, by way of a stalker POV shot. Voyeuristically we see as the prostitute soaps up her breasts and all the rest. She runs to the phone in the buff, and while conversing on the other end, she decides to partake in a nice wholesome masturbation phone sex session -- to be ended abruptly no doubt. Our hero Harry Russo (John Giancaspro) saves the day by strangling the dark-haired finger-banger -- to finish the deed with some postmortem bum sex. Harry, being a scumbag killer, is also a necrophile.
The Las Vegas streets are never safe from deranged drug addict Harry Russo. Accompanied by his ventriloquist dummy Rubberneck, Harry lurks around Vegas looking for "bitches", "who-ers" and other assorted lowlife to butcher in his whacked out haze of prescription drugs and coke. Rubberneck -- a gift from Harry's girlfriend Drew (Jasmin Putnam) -- fuels the fury in Harry by telling him to kill, through hidden voices. Drew couldn't have made a bigger mistake. By giving Harry the doll she starts a tidal wave of murder/rape ending in her own demise and mutilation. The deaths continue.
Plain and simple, John Giancaspro steals the show portraying Harry Russo. He is a fantastic psychopath, and never once comes across as an amateur actor which would be expected due to a film of this subgenre and budget. This guy's over-the-top antics are priceless. Giancaspro takes exploitation to a new level. You'll sit in disbelief while watching Harry Russo hop around naked sporting a blond wig, repeatedly cross-dressing, masturbating, shouting senseless obscenities, raping and pillaging along with much more fun! The rest of the film has mediocre to terrible, to incredibly annoying acting -- the worst of the bunch coming from Mr. Atkin's himself. I could never understand why a writer/director of their own film isn't able to pull off the character they wrote themselves. If anyone would be capable, you would think it would be the writer/director. Definitely not the case here -- he should have stayed away from the screen. That said, Atkins' character still wasn't as annoying as the drunken castration victim --I rejoiced with his demise.
SCHIZOPHRENIAC has plenty of violence, but the blood and gore FX are pretty lousy. The gore scenes basically consist of close-ups of dismally lit shots of badly sculpted wounds, or knife stabbings into bloody fabric. There are stabbings, strangulations, bullet holes, and even a castration - some of which work better than others. The film also contains an overabundance of sex, sleaze, nudity, and perversion, which is sure to entertain. Even if the gore (and "animation") FX are less than memorable, there is enough nudity here, from both sexes, to satisfy any self-respecting exploitation fan. Keep an eye out for a lovely ejaculate self ingesting scene. Mmmm frosting!
Cut Throat Video presents SCHIZOPHRENIAC: THE WHORE MANGLER 'digitally mastered' in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio which varies in quality. The majority of the DV footage is crisp and clear but occasionally it dulls, and during certain pans the screen gets a tad jerky (as to be expected with DV). The added titles and animation footage is dull and very digital looking as if done for a decade old video game console. The audio for the film is presented in Dolby Pro Logic Surround Sound. Overall the audio is consistently at the same level but from time to time the dialog lowers from the rest of the film. Nothing too noticeable, but overall a pretty good job considering a micro budget -- as I'm sure there were no sound men on set. The score by Atkin's is your typical no budget Horror film effort and isn't memorable.
In the supplemental department we get some lengthy deleted scenes, some of which Harry meets an old friend, goes to a fast food drive-through, dances around freaking out and so on. Next there are two trailers for the film, and an interview with Ron Atkins. Atkins explains how he made a film that he wanted to see and that it was basically for the fan in him. He also talks about himself making bigger films and the possibility of some day taking on Hollywood. A decent interview but he comes across as believing he is a fantastic filmmaker. Don't get me wrong, these SCHIZOPHRENIAC films show huge potential for Atkins, he just needs to hone his skills (and learn not to randomly hit the FX buttons on his camera for schizo-fx). This was a great effort for his second feature film. Lastly there is a short film by Christopher P. Garetano called A WALK WITH HARRY featuring John Giancaspro. Giancaspro answers some questions about shooting SCHIZOPHRENIAC and what it was like working with Atkins. In addition, he talks about New York City and its people in a highly amusing un-PC way. This is easily the best extra. A commentary with Giancaspro would have been an awesome extra, but alas, there isn't one contained on this disc. This DVD comes in a regular keep case with decent cover art. There is no Insert or booklet included, which is a disappointment. All DVDs should at least contain an insert, but it seems that most independent companies don't find this important. The discs presentation looks ok, with no animation but some background music. The supplements can be accessed by flipping the disc to side B.
This is definitely a must see film -- all due to Mr. Giancaspro. If this was acted by anyone else it couldn't possibly be as effective. The film isn 't filmed well, or even well written, but Giancaspro does his job and turns this otherwise run of the mill horror/exploitation film around, and kicks your ass! This film is highly recommended if only to see how this guy does it - completely uninhibited, no matter what the script calls for. And don' t forget -- "All anybody's good for is fuckin' in the ass!"
This Film Features:
Review by Chris Mayo. All Right Reserved. 2003. ©