Anatomy of a Psycho (1961)

Article #1306 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-11-2004
Posting Date: 3-10-2005
Directed by Boris Petroff
Featuring Ronnie Burns, Pamela Lincoln, Darrell Howe

A troubled teenager seeks revenge on those he holds responsible for the arrest, conviction and execution of his older brother.

I’m not sure what you should expect from a movie with a title that seems to promise the high drama of ANATOMY OF A MURDER crossed with the giddy thrills of PSYCHO, but if this juvenile delinquent revenge story falls somewhat outside the auspices of your expectations, join the club. It’s pretty much REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE territory, except our troubled teenager acts a little loonier than usual, and outside of a few moments of stressed-out madness, the fantastic aspects of this one are nonexistent. On its own terms, it’s a mess; though it picks up during the last third of its running time, you have to sit through the confused, obvious and annoying first two thirds of the movie, and it’s not a fun ride (unless you find catching snatches of music from PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE to be a thrilling experience). You won’t know any more about psychos after watching this movie than you did before. Incidentally, Ronnie Burns (who plays Mickey) is the adopted son of George Burns and Gracie Allen.

On a final note, one character in this movie wins the DS Bag O’ Hammers award (for characters who do monumentally stupid things). It goes to the psycho’s sister’s boyfriend, who takes the time to tell the obviously hostile psycho that 1) it was his (the boyfriend’s) father that provided the testimony that sent the psycho’s brother to the electric chair, and 2) he’s about to marry his (the psycho’s) sister.


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