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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Monday, February 13, 2023

Help Me… I’m Possessed (1974)

I’m back with another regional drive-in movie review. This time it is Help Me… I’m Possessed from director Charles Nizet, who really didn’t do much other then a few flicks like this. The movie follows a mad doctor who runs a nut house. He specializes in getting rid of the parts of a human mind that make people violent. He does this by having a dungeon and whipping ladies. He also has a hunchbacked assistant and a creepy chauffer.

How does the torture dungeon help cure folks? This isn’t the sort of movie that requires or even desires that sort of logic. We do meet the doctor’s sister. Her name is Melanie, and she seems to be his one big success. She went from unpredictably violent to childlike. But when murders start to occur near the hospital it becomes clear that she might not be as innocent as she appears to be. The good doctor has managed to separate the violent tendencies into their own “monster” that appears on occasion to release the homicidal tendencies. Eventually folks catch on, including the doctor’s wife who comes for a visit, and he meets his end with a self-inflicted guillotining.

This isn’t a very good movie. While not an overly long movie, clocking in at seventy nine minutes, it feels much longer. The story is filled with ideas that are never explained or explored. Why does the sister need to go to the cave to talk to her friend? Why is there a torture dungeon in the basement? Why does the doctor occasionally just murder the shit out of people on his own? Also why does he just randomly kill one of his nurses when she is attacked by a patient? There are more questions but none of them are explained. This is the kind of plot and script that seems to have been written to include as many tropes as possible without any effort to explain them. They threw a lot of ideas at the wall and sadly none of them stuck. It makes for a confusing and in the end a boring experience. It was tough to get thru.

The "monster"
The hammy performances and terrible line delivery is awful. I’d toss some blame towards the poorly written script but two of the main actors, Bill Greer and Deedy Peters, are also our leads Dr. Blackwell and his wife. So regardless of whether the acting or script is to blame it still falls at their feet. The rest of the cast isn’t much better. Though I’ll give credit to the actress who plays Melanie, Lynne Marta. She is decent and went onto work steadily into the early two thousands.

I will give some credit for a few random gags that they pulled off. I laughed (probably not the intention) at the goofy monster effects. It is like they laid the camera flat and dangled some rubber tubbing over it with red backlighting. It doesn’t work at all but is so ineptly funny that I admit to having enjoyed it. There is one sequence where they have a really short coffin… comically so… that the hunchback has to fit a lady into. With a bit of movie magic they insinuate that he has to lop off her legs to make her fit. You don’t see anything, but it is staged well, so I appreciated that.

Most of the time when I find a regional flick that I’ve never seen before there is a good reason no one has mentioned it to me. Occasionally it is a hidden gem that I can recommend and try to get the word out. But most of the time it is because it is utterly forgettable and shouldn’t be foisted upon anyone. Help Me… I’m Possessed is a prime example of the latter. This one is for the drive-in low budget completist only. I can’t recommend it for anyone else.


© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

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