Writers: Ian Paterson
Producers: Ian Paterson, Peter Ward
Cast: Peter Ward, Tracy Redington, Dave Marley
Reviewed from: YouTube (link at bottom of review)
For a couple of years now, Call Me a Psycho has just been a title in my BHR masterlist. It was originally made available on DVD through the Superteam Productions website in 2008; frustratingly I only discovered this after Urban Terrors had been published, placing this among the addenda to that critically acclaimed tome.
Having now seen it, I’m in two minds whether to remove it from the list because it’s not really a horror movie, despite the title. However, my criteria for inclusion are personal and flexible and one of my meta-criteria is that as a film becomes more obscure or interesting, so my criteria become more flexible. That was why, for example, I was prepared to consider Sentinels of Darkness British enough for inclusion – who the hell else is ever going to write about it? – but there was no point in similarly stretching the definition of British horror to include something like Resident Evil.
Call Me a Psycho, while not exactly horrific, is both very obscure and very interesting – because it’s a remake of itself.
Call Me a Psycho. Then they made a bunch of other stuff. Then, 18 years after the original, they remade Call Me a Psycho. And not a loose remake either but the same script, give or take a couple of extra scenes.
The original was jointly directed by Ward, Jones and Paterson, with Ward and Jones as the cops and Paterson as the psycho. Eighteen years down the line, Paterson restricts himself to directing solo (apart from a brief cameo as a corpse) with the psycho played instead by Dave Marley who, it must be said, is much more suited to the role. Skinny, young Paterson never convinced as a dangerous psychotic mass murderer, but Marley is very tall, very fat, and has a small moustache that pulls his face into a permanent sneer. He looks like he could and would kill you. But in a funny way.
What was a scene in a video shop is now a scene in a shop that seems to concentrate more on second-hand computer games, although the dialogue still calls it a ‘video shop’. The final sequence, previously set in a derelict building, now happens in a deserted Spearmint Rhino club, although who knows, maybe that was built on the site of the original’s scene? A throwaway gag subplot about an old man who gets stranded on a roundabout (the road junction, not the playground equipment) is slightly fleshed out with more back story for the old man. A newsreader replaces the original’s captions (she looks familiar, and is: it’s Gabrielle Amies who was the ex-wife in Whatever Happened to Pete Blaggit).
There are casting links too. The legend that is Norman Lovett – he of Red Dwarf and Evil Aliens – appears in one scene as the psycho’s father, having previously starred in probably the best known Superteam film, retro-scifi-western-epic Roswell 1847 (also now available on YouTube, after what seems to have been some wrangling between interested parties). Lovett’s two daughters appear with him as passers-by, concerned that he is being harassed by the police.
Speaking of YouTube, distribution is the other huge change between 1990 and 2008. The original film would only have been viewable on VHS, and only made available to anyone who knew the Superteam trio personally, or possibly may have been advertised in fanzines back in the day when ‘cut and paste’ literally involved scissors and Prittstick. But by 2008 there was an interwebs and even a YouTube and Superteam Productions could have a web presence that made their reach global, rather than a five mile radius of Feltham Nick.
Also in the cast, most of whom have been in other Superteam films and/or the related works of American executive producer William Cheney, are Ari Gill (director of short thriller The Briefcase), Neil Higham (Waiting for Dawn), Michelle Kernohan (The Good, the Bad and the Undead), Stephanie Montreux (who was in Get Him to the Greek, Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll, and the 2006 Royal Variety Performance!), Rob Talbot (Jack Says, Peter Goddard’s Season of the Witch and Any Minute Now, The Butterfly Tattoo plus horror shorts Waste Disposal, Evil of the Vampires, Vampire Gang Origins and Attack of the Zombie Vampires), Marlon Williams (Stormhouse, Girl Number 9 and two episodes of Torchwood) and Susannah Todd (background roles in EastEnders, Holby City and Sherlock).
Although the remake is better than the original, the film-makers had more to work with – in terms of props, cast, experience, opportunities etc – and thus the rating, for what it’s worth, remains constant.
MJS rating: B