Patrick (1978)
By: David Michael Brown on May 20, 2009  | 
Umbrella Entertainment (Australia). All Regions, PAL. 1.77:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 2.0. 108 minutes
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Richard Franklin
Starring: Susan Penhaligon, Robert Helpmann, Robert Thompson
Screenplay: Everett de Roche
Country: Australia
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How do you make a film interesting when your main adversary is bed ridden, in a catatonic coma? Unblinking, staring vacantly into space, Patrick is a villain with a difference and despite his lack of mobility he causes dread and fear in all that meet him.

After a shocking pre credits sequence we join the film as Nurse Kathy Jacquard, played by Susan Penhaligon, starts work at a clinic. Her main duty is to care for Patrick, a young man in a coma. He lies wide eyed and motionless but somehow the pair form a bond. The only sign of life that Patrick normally shows is involuntary spitting but soon he starts to grant the nurse glimpses of his telekinetic powers. As Nurse Kathy tries to get on with her life outside the walls of the clinic strange things start to happen. When it comes to her love life Patrick's extrasensory jealously rages and all who surround Kathy suffer his bed ridden telekinetic wrath.

The film's credits read like a who's who of Aussie exploitation. The film is written by Everett Da Roche, the scribe behind Long Weekend and Razorback; director Richard Franklin gave us Fantasm and Road Games amongst many and producer Anthony I. Ginnane was Australia's Roger Corman, a one-man film factory with his eye on the international dollar. His name became synonymous with sex, violence and excitement. Turkey Shoot, Thirst, Harlequin all came from the great man's stable.

It's obvious from watching the visuals and style of the film that Franklin learnt a lot from his time studying under his mentor Alfred Hitchcock. Scenes are viewed from some amazing angles, using reflection and colour to keep the eye interested, an imperative move considering the main foe's lack of mobility. The pacing is slow but you do appreciate the slow build up. Performance wise Patrick is well supported by the likes of Susan Penhaligon, Julia Blake and Robert Helpmann. The hardest role is that of Patrick himself. Apart from an electrifying bathtub murder and a couple of shock moments all he does is lay in bed and spit.

Fans of Kill Bill will notice certain familiarities with Uma Thurman's catatonic hospital scenes. Tarantino has made no secret of his love of this film, unsurprising as it travelled very well, becoming a box office sensation in the UK and Europe. An unofficial Italian sequel Patrick Still Lives issued all of the style and added lashings of blood and nudity to the mix but failed to live up to Franklin's classic telekinetic chiller.
The transfer is leaps and bounds beyond all previous incarnations of Patrick. The film's colour scheme is a tad muted in the interior scenes and there is a hint of grain but overall, especially during the films exterior shots, it's a great looking print. Don McAlpine's cinematography has been given the treatment it deserved.
The audio track has been given a nice clean up. The stereo mix is dynamic but as with all the recent transfers of these Aussie classics, there is nothing here to fully test your audio system. A nice easy listen and adds to the enjoyment of the film.
Extra Features
Umbrella has produced a fantastic disc.

A Coffee with Anthony I. Ginnane features an informal chat with the producing legend. Ginnane never holds anything back and the interview is a fabulously entertaining look into the making of the film.

We also get archival on set interview between the late Richard Franklin and Ivan Hutchinson. Franklin also provides an audio commentary with interjections with writer Everett De Roche. De Roche's synopsis for the un-produced Australian sequel The Man Who Wasn't There is also provided as a DVD Rom PDF bonus.

Umbrella also throw in a hilariously bad excerpt from the dubbed US version of the film, the original Australian and US trailers, still and poster gallery. Finally we get a marvellous trailer reel of the films of produce extraordinaire Anthony I. Ginnane trailer reel including Turkey Shoot, Survivor, Dead Kids and Thirst and some additional Umbrella Ozploitation trailers.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Another classic of Aussie exploitation, the image of Patrick's piercing eyes staring into the soul of his victims is a chilling one. Richard Franklin once again shows us what a great loss his early death was with this wonderfully handled chiller that despite all the odds, manages to be eerie, unsettling and a damn good watch.

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