The Psychic – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Director:
Lucio Fulci

Cast:
Jennifer O’Neill….Virginia Ducci
Gabriele Ferzetti…..Emilio Rospini
Marc Porel….Luca Fattori
Gianni Garko….Francesco Ducci

Severin Films presents The Psychic. Screenplay by Lucio Fulci, Roberto Gianviti and Dardano Sacchetti. Running time: 97 minutes. Unrated. Theatrical release: August 10, 1977. DVD released Oct. 30, 2007.

The Movie

Restrained is a word not often used when describing Italian director Lucio Fulci’s best known work. He has a reputation for gore and shock as lavished on Zombie and The Beyond. Fulci’s name arises in conversations about Mario Bava and Asia Argento. Not quite the Merchant-Ivory appreciation society’s favorite trio. This film was made during a calmer time when maggots weren’t co-stars on Fulci’s sets. The Psychic is a supernatural thriller that relies more on tension than the grotesque. That’s not to say the film doesn’t have effects that will make you squirm in your seat. But you won’t be overwhelmed with them. According to the back of the box, this is Quentin Tarantino’s favorite Fulci movie. How can you argue with Tarantino’s cinematic taste?

Virginia Ducci believes she has psychic powers. As a child at a boarding school in Italy, she was able to tell when her mother took a tumble off a cliff at the English coast. Instead of giving us a long shot of a dummy going over the cliff, we’re treated to a couple close ups of mom’s face hitting the cliff. Ouch. Years later, Virginia travels through the Italian countryside. While entering a tunnel, she’s overwhelmed with images of a woman being bricked up in a wall. She finds the house and tears apart the wall to find a skeleton inside. She explores the significance of the other psychic images in her search for the killer. The mysterious killer wants to put a stop to her.

The Psychic qualifies as a giallo movie since the killer wears the signature black gloves found in the genre. The last half hour features the killer going into overdrive to erase Virginia’s tunnel visions. This is a very intense and believable chase. The ending is perfectly set up for the payoff.

This is a top shelf ESP thriller. You can tell that this was meant to be a classy production since they don’t have any scenes of Virginia showering. They meant to appeal to more than the Grindhouse crowd. The DVD features the European cut so you’re getting to eyeball more action than the audience back in the ’70s. If you’ve never seen a Fulci film, The Psychic is the best place to start, especially if you don’t have the stomach for rotting zombie epics.

The DVD

VIDEO:
The picture is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The transfer is looks as good as when it was first projected thirty years ago.

AUDIO:
The soundtrack is in Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono. The audio track is a ADR dub so the lips don’t match the words. Most Italian productions didn’t record sound. The levels are rather low so you’ll have to notch the volume knob up.

EXTRAS:
Voices From the Black (27:25) features co-writer Dardano Sacchetti, costume desinger Massimo Lentini and editor Bruno Micheli being interviewed over the phone. Clips from the movie and a few production stills illustrate their answers. They conversations are subtitled in case you can’t understand Italian. We get a clear picture of the film’s production from book option to release. Sacchetti cracked the script with a chiming wristwatch.

Theatrical Trailer (1:04) does a great job with selling the intensity with only a few clips from the film.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for The Psychic
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

9
THE VIDEO

9
THE AUDIO

6
THE EXTRAS

5
REPLAY VALUE

7
OVERALL
8
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

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