The Love Butcher (1975)

Article 3720 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-6-2011
Posting Date: 10-21-2011
Directed by Donald M. Jones and George Theakos
Featuring Erik Stern, Kay Neer, Jeremiah Beecher
Country: USA
What it is: Psycho killer movie

An ugly and crippled gardener has an alternate personality; he’s also a handsome ladies’ man who seduces and then kills his victims, usually women that have insulted his other personality. Will the police be able to catch him?

Between the sleazy title, the unpromising-sounding premise, and the fact that, according to one of my guides, it sat on the shelf for seven years before finally getting released in 1982 during the slasher era, I was expecting something pretty awful, and for about the first twenty minutes or so, I didn’t see anything that contradicted that expectation. It wasn’t until about the halfway mark, when the studly alter ego kills a victim he failed to seduce and then begins conjuring up an alternate reality in which he succeeded in his seduction, that I began to really take interest, as it begins tapping in to an unexpected complexity in the interplay between the two personalities. In some ways, it ends up being a very interesting variant of PSYCHO, one in which the explanation of the psychosis actually adds texture to the story rather than coming across as something thrown in at the last moment. Oh, it’s still pretty sleazy, and some of the killings are cruel and nasty, but that’s to be expected; what isn’t expected is some of the interesting story turns it all takes before it’s done. I ended up finding this one a lot more worthwhile than I expected it would be.

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