Patrick Blu-Ray Review
Blu-Ray Review- Patrick
Distributor: Severin Films
Street Date: March 25th 2014
Technical Specifications: 1080P Video, English Dolby Digital 2.0, Color, 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Runtime: 96 Minutes
The subject of telekinesis has been tackled in many fine Horror films throughout the years. From The Power to Carrie, The Fury to Scanners, and many more entertaining stories put on celluloid, the ability itself has led to both fascinating and terrifying fantasies.
In 1978, Director Richard Franklin directed Patrick, a startling slow-build tale of a disturbed young man, hospitalized and seemingly comatose after the vicious death of his mother years earlier. His weekly habits include staring off into nothingness, playing guinea pig to creepy Dr. Roget’s little experiments, as well as putting on the occasional telekinetic magic show for Nurse Kathie (Susan Penhaligon).
Frustrated with his condition, treatment, and inability to communicate in traditional terms, Patrick uses his powers and blooming relationship with Nurse Kathie in one last desperate attempt to stop the madness that surrounds him. Whether telekinetically leaving messages on a typewriter, smashing objects around his hospital room, or eventually killing off the wicked staff (let’s be honest they had it coming), Patrick’s misery is finally experienced by all.
I truly enjoyed revisiting this quaint low budget shocker from the late Richard Franklin. Patrick is an effective psychological thriller with confident performances from the cast, assured direction from Franklin, and a few light scares. This is not a gory or graphic piece, and the overlong movie certainly could have benefited from some editing, but those are minor complaints in an otherwise fun horror treat.
Severin should be proud of their work here. Sourced from the original camera negative and scanned in 2K resolution, there is no doubt that Patrick looks incredible in High Definition. The picture is very clean with only the occasional speck or spot, which must be inherent to the negative itself. The work they put into color-timing is obvious. Skin tones look authentic, clothing and colors look natural and accurate to the period, and black levels are inky and well maintained. Grain levels remain authentic to the late 70’s film stock source material, and digital noise reduction never rears its ugly head. If only every distributor put as much time and care into restoring cult classics like Severin Films does. Fans will be very pleased.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 track won’t knock your socks off, but it suits the period of the film and supports dialogue and sound effects well enough. I always make sure to note while watching a disc if there are any inconsistencies in balance or stability, and luckily Patrick fares very well on this release from Severin. A small part of me would have liked to hear the eerie score on more channels, but fans of the film will not complain.
Here we have a wealth of bonus material from Severin Films, who have graciously included several interesting special features. I’ll give you a brief rundown of each:
- Audio Commentary with Director Richard Franklin– This commentary from the late Richard Franklin covers all bases and is absolutely worth listening to for fans of the film. Franklin discusses nearly all aspects of the film from concept to production, on-set memories and writing, and even his influence from Alfred Hitchcock that he sprinkled throughout Patrick. Some commentaries can be dry and uninvolving with long periods of quiet, so hearing Franklin talk consistently and so in-depth about his movie was a nice change of pace on this release.
- Extended Interviews– This bonus segment features fifty minutes of clips from the cast and crew involved in the making-of Patrick, with roughly ten minutes of interview material from each participant. The interviews included herein are excerpts from Mark Hartley’s documentary Not Quite Hollywood from 2008. Highlights include actress Susan Penhaligon discussing her excitement of flying to Australia to film Patrick, and Richard Franklin and Penhaligon offering their perspective on how the film differs from other Horror studio films at the time (Hammer namely). We also hear from actor Rod Mullinar, writer Everett DeRoche, and producer Antony I. Ginnane. Each segment is fairly in-depth, but if you already listened to the commentary at this point, may be a little repetitive.
- Vintage TV Interview with Director Richard Franklin– Though it’s listed at 25 minutes, this vintage Australian interview/featurette on Richard Franklin’s early career is actually closer to 21 minutes. Discussion points include everything from Patrick, to Roadgames with Stacy Keach and Jamie Lee Curtis (please release a Blu-Ray of this film soon), how Franklin studied film in America and was heavily influenced by Alfred Hitchcock and John Ford, his return to Australia to direct Homicide (1971), co-producing The Blue Lagoon, and much more. Shot on video, it’s in rough shape but gets the point across.
- Original Theatrical Trailer– A retro trailer for Patrick with the perfect voice-over narration. Complete with scratches and pops, it’s always fun to see how a film was marketed at the time of release.
- TV Spots– Several creepy television spots that aired during the theatrical campaign.
As you can see from the pictures below, this Blu-Ray edition features some very creepy disc art. Unfortunately we were not able to get out hands on the final Blu-Ray case with art, but pictures of the slip sheet are included here as well for those interested.
Patrick holds up after all these years. It’s a creepy entry in the telekinetic horror genre, with great performances from the cast, assured direction from the late Richard Franklin, and an insanely creepy score from Brian May. The love and dedication from Severin Films’ on this new Blu-Ray edition is evident, with a fantastic transfer and bonus material, the company has added another gem to their respectable release catalog. This edition comes highly recommended.
Doctor Macabre M.D.