Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, the Israeli titans of the Cannon Film Group, had a huge business theatrically and on home video throughout the 1980’s producing lower budget films. Mainly known for their genre output, Scream Factory presents two of their offerings in a new double feature set.
Shizoid (1980) stars Klaus Kinski as a psychiatrist who runs a therapy group that is quickly losing its members to a serial murderer, while X-Ray finds Barbi Benton trapped in a hospital and stalked by a killer after a routine examination.
Schizoid (1980) plays like a TV movie of the week with a little gore in it. Julie (Marianna Hill) is a columnist for a newspaper who is receiving threatening letters while members of her support group drop like flies. Could it be her therapist, the aforementioned Kinski? A co-worker? Is it the therapist’s daughter (Donna Wilkes)? The murder mystery in Schizoid is void of suspense or interest, so you’re left just waiting for another corpse. It’s unfortunately revealed quite early on as to who we are looking for, we just don’t know the person’s exact identity. Of course, Kinski is the big draw here, and he does what he can to keep the character interesting and involved. His line readings are nothing but unique!
X-Ray (1982) is a simple slasher with the flimsiest of set ups that is so bizarrely directed as to be almost completely charming in its oddness. Nothing, and I mean nothing in this film makes a bit of sense. Susan (Barbi Benton) goes into the hospital for a routine check up only to end up playing cat and mouse with a killer. Why doesn’t she just leave? The doctors who force her to stay there have no legal right to do so. Everything in the plot is there just to keep her in one place long enough for the drama with the murderer to fall into place. In addition to this bit of silliness, it seems every character can't stop looking at Susan, as nearly everyone just leers at her for no reason whatsoever. I can only surmise that director Boaz Davidson is trying to make a possible suspect of everyone, but it merely induces laughter.
Continuing kudos to Shout! Factory for releasing these little seen films on Blu-ray/DVD in such great shape. Both films have a natural look to them and they both have a very period feel to their photography, which is welcome. In both cases, skin tones and black levels feel appropriate. An all around good job visually. Aurally, we have a single track for either film featuring solid dialogue and a nicely balanced mix. Unlike the double feature of Terror Vision and The Video Dead, this Blu-ray/DVD combo pack has very little in the way of bonus features. Each film has a single interview attached. Director Boaz Davidson discusses X-ray and its place in his life while actress Donna Wilkes talks about Schizoid and her career before and after the film, and has a few stories about the making of the movie. Trailers for each film are also included.
Continuing the deluge of horror product coming from Shout! Factory’s horror arm, Scream Factory, the company has released a double feature of relatively obscure slashers from the 1980’s which are making their debut on Blu-ray. The pair of films are a mild diversion for horror fans and curiosities worth a look, but I doubt they have much replay value outside of those who want to watch Barbi Benton get leered at for an hour and a half by a collection of more and more bizarre characters, and watch Kinski looking strained and puzzled in his handful of scenes as to what he’s doing in this film. Schizoid is the better of the films, but I couldn’t get terribly invested in either. 80’s slasher aficionados should rejoice that these little seen films are finally released properly and they’re still worth at least a look for the horror completist.