Twisted Brain (1974)

aka Horror High

Article 3643 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-21-2011
Posting Date: 8-5-2011
Directed by Larry N. Stouffer
Featuring Pat Cordi, Austin Stoker, Rosie Holotik
Country: USA
What it is: Jekyll and Hyde story

A harried but powerless chemistry student discovers a potion that can change his physical appearance… and give him the ability to take vengeance on his tormentors.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a movie that so blatantly sets up its premise that it manages to strip practically every potential surprise away from the movie within the first ten minutes. We see the student in a literature class watching a movie adaptation of the Dr. Jekyll story, and then we see the geeky weakling being tormented by teachers, janitors and other students. During this time we learn that he’s working on the above-mentioned potion. Heck, you even know how two of the tormentors are going to be killed by dint of how heavily the murder weapons are called to our attention. Then, once he confronts each of his tormentors in his new body, we get a flashback to how they tormented him just in case we forgot they were doing so. It’s best appreciated if you’ve got the attention span of a gnat; for the rest of us, it’s like doing a connect the dot puzzle when it’s blatantly obvious what the picture is going to look like before we start. Nonetheless, I’ll give the movie a little credit for coming up with one surprise; there’s a character moment where we discover that the process of killing off his tormentors is actually making him less shy and more confident, a character touch that is actually sadly disturbing in its insight. This goes to show that in even something this routine, you can occasionally find something worthwhile, and somehow that makes the process of watching all these movies seem a little more rewarding.

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