Psychomania (1972)

UK,
85m
35mm film, Technicolor, 1.85:1
mono, English

A British horror film directed by Don Sharp. Production began on 27 September 1971.

Plot Summary

A small English country town is terrorised by a gang of calling themselves The Living Dead. The leader of the pack, Tom, discovers that his mother and her butler have entered into a mystical arrangement that has prevented them from getting any older and dying. Tom forces them to reveal their secret and kills himself, returning from the grave indestructible and immortal. He persuades the rest of his gang to follow suit and their reign of terror continues…

Credits

Crew
Directed by: Don Sharp
© MCMLXXII [1972] Benmar Productions Limited
A Benmar production
Produced by: Andrew Donally
Screenplay by: Arnaud D'Usseau and Julian Halevy
Director of Photography: Ted Moore
Film Editor: Richard Best
Music by: John Cameron
Sound Recordists: Buster Ambler, Bob Jones
Wardrobe Supervisor: Jean Fairlie
Make-up: Neville Smallwood
Hairdressing: Susie Hill
Special Effects: Patrick Moore
Art Director: Maurice Carter
Made at: Shepperton Studios

Cast
the gang
Nicky Henson (Tom Latham)
Mary Larkin (Abby Holman)
Ann Michelle (Jane Pettibone)
Roy Holder (Bertram)
Denis Gilmore (Hatchet)
Miles Greenwood (Chopped Meat)
Peter Whitting (Gash)
Rocky Taylor (Hinky)

the police
Robert Hardy (Chief Inspector Hesseltine)
Patrick Holt (sergeant)
Alan Bennion (constable)
John Levene (constable)

the spiritualists
Beryl Reid (Mrs Latham)
George Sanders (Shadwell)
Jacki Webb (mother)
David Millett (father)
Linda Gray (grandmother)
Andrew Laurence (grandfather)

Alternative Titles

The Death Wheelers – USA
To diplo prosopo tou dolofonou – Greece
Der Frosch – West Germany
The Living Dead – working title
Psicomania – Brazil
Saikomania – Japan

Extracts included in
Truly, Madly, Cheaply!: British B Movies (2008)

Production Notes

Filming began under the title The Living Dead on 27 September 1971 at Shepperton Studios.

Press

The film was poorly received by the critics. David Pirie, author of Heritage of Horror, the first large scale history of British horror, was one of the few positive voices. Writing in Monthly Film Bulletin 1Monthly Film Bulletin vol.40 no.471 (April 1973) p.82, he praised director Don Sharp's decision “to treat his material here as black comedy rather than horror. He is careful not to let the tone slip into farce and to keep the action as realistic as possible; and the result of his poker-faced direction is that a ludicrous plot […] emerges as both innovatory and humorously macabre.”

References

Periodicals

  • Castle of Frankenstein no.22 p.44
  • Cinema TV Today no.10024 (24 March 1973) p.24 – review
  • Fangoria no.297 (October 2010) pp.16-18 – illustrated interview with Nicky Henson (Psychomania: Born to Be Undead by Chris Alexander)
  • Films and Filming vol.19 no.9 (June 1973) pp.53-54 – review
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.40 no.471 (April 1973) p.82 – credits, synopsis, review (by David Pirie)
  • Music from the Movies Special no.39 p.59 – soundtrack review (Film music review: archival by Steve Woolston)
  • Today's Cinema no.9943 (28 September 1971) p.5 – credits

Books

  • 500 Essential Cult Movies: The Ultimate Guide by Jennifer Eiss with J.P. Rutter and Steve White p.258 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review
  • Comedy-Horror Films: A Chronological History, 1914-2008 by Bruce G. Hallenbeck pp.93-94; 216 – review; credits
  • English Gothic: A Century of Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby p.227
  • Film Review 1973-74 by F. Maurice Speed (ed) p.229
  • Fright Night on Channel 9 by James Arena p.156
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films II by Donald C. Willis p.317
  • Horrorshows: The A-Z of Horror in Film, TV, Radio and Theatre by Gene Wright p.235 – credits, review
  • Psychedelic Celluloid: British Pop Music in Film and TV 1965-1974 by Simon Matthews p.172 – illustrated review
  • by Walt Lee p.385 – credits
  • Serial Killer Cinema: An Analytical Filmography by Robert Cetti pp.365-366
  • Ten Years of Terror pp.154-155 – illustrated credits, review (by Matthew Coniam)
  • Uneasy Dreams: The Golden Age of British Horror Films, 1956-1976 by Gary A. Smith pp.180
  • X-Cert 2: The British Independent Horror Film 1971-1983 pp.55-60; 277-278