If you rented every horror movie that ever existed in the 1980s, chances are you saw the anthology film Screamtime at some point (blog here). My favorite story from that collection of short films was “Dreamhouse.”
In a very unusual circumstance, this obscure short film has been remade into the full-length feature Psychosis, starring Charisma Carpenter.
She’s damn good in the film, the guy playing her husband is hot, and we see some big man junk…but the movie is beefed up with too much filler subplot that causes the original shocking twist ending to become totally convoluted.
Charisma and her husband move into a big old house and before long Charisma is seeing people and things that aren’t really there. A kid is always playing soccer in her yard (she calls him a boy, but he looks like he’s twenty), a man keeps roaming around her hallways, and dead bodies keep showing up in her bed. But you know how it goes; when she looks again, nothing is there! And naturally, her husband thinks she’s losing her mind.
In the original “Dreamhouse,” it appeared the woman was having flashbacks of what had happened in the house before she moved in…and the clever catch to her visions at the end was clear as day.
Psychosis attempts to really complicate the story (and succeeds). For starters, the thrilling fricking backwoods slasher opening is the best part of the whole film in terms of horror fun. Unfortunately, it’s only ten minutes long…and pretty much irrelevant to the rest of the movie. There’s a throwaway news report at the end of the film referencing it as a murder spree the killer went on years before the movie takes place.
Beyond that, a whole bunch of sexual craziness is injected into the story that totally detracts from the premise of Charisma having all these violent, horrible premonitions of a family being slaughtered. There’s a creepy perv who terrorizes her, and even flashes her his ample wiener in the woods. You’ve gotta see this thing (SPOILER ALERT!).
Later on, there’s a whole scene in a sex club. These moments are relevant to the added subplot of this expanded story, but an awful distraction from the frightening simplicity of the main plot.
If I hadn’t seen Screamtime years ago, I probably would not have known what the hell was going on at the end of Psychosis…which seems to be a regular complaint about this movie online. Do yourself a favor and watch “Dreamhouse” before you watch Psychosis. Then watch Psychosis…for the big wiener reveal…and the husband. This is him in some modeling shot, looking like a young Jeff Stryker.