J.B. Spins

Jazz, film, and improvised culture.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Brooklyn Horror ’16: Psychotic!

He is known as “The Party Killer” and he is a real Brooklyn slasher. In this case, he is both a killer of Brooklynites and a psycho-stalker who happens to be from Brooklyn. At least he deserves credit for killing some of the most annoying victims ever in Maxwell Frey & Derek Gibbons’ Psychotic! (trailer here), which screens during the inaugural Brooklyn Horror Film Festival.

If you needed one more reason to avoid Bushwick, the Party Killer should certainly suffice. We will see exactly how he gets his name when he kills Shannon right smack in the middle of the birthday party she threw for her boyfriend Bill, the bass player in Stuart’s band. Since then, Bill has been a little uptight, whereas Stuart has always been ragingly insensitive. The inevitable conflict between them results in Stuart getting kicked out of the band he started.

Stuart’s square Craigslist roommate “Old Dog” Tim also wants him out, but fortunately he is preoccupied with stalking his old girlfriend. Stuart is quite smitten himself with sarcastic Roxy, but she is probably too cool for him. Unfortunately, he presumably left his wallet, keyboard, and weed at her place (but admittedly his memory is a little fuzzy on that score). As Stuart and Tim pursue their self-involved Seinfeld-esque lives, people in their social circles keep getting killed. Yet despite all the corpses, there never seem to be any cops around. This is indeed de Blasio’s New York.

Frey & Gibbons wear their Giallo love on their sleeves, but when it comes to satirizing the Italian horror genre, they can’t lay a patent leather glove on Astron-6’s The Editor. There is an awful lot of time devoted to the band and its internal discord, which might be very Brooklyn but tries our patience. Frankly, despite ostensibly tweaking BKLN hipster pretensions, Psychotic! often leaves us even more exasperated with Kings County denizens.

Still, Brian Stansfield’s woozy looking cinematography is absolutely spot-on. To their credit, Frey & Gibbons don’t hold back jack as Old Dog and Stuart, respectively. Kristen Martin also nicely boosts the energy and attitude as the mysterious Roxy. There is no question the Brooklyn Horror fest will be the perfect venue to watch Psychotic! with a like-minded audience, so if you are interested at all, see it there. However, it will be a more hit-or-miss viewing experience in other boroughs and other cities. It’s Brooklyn thing—screening this Saturday (10/15) at Throne Watches, as part of the first annual Brooklyn Horror Film Festival.

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