The questionable techniques of radical psychologist Holly Kane have been effective in redirecting and controlling unconscious thoughts through sensory deprivation. Facing potential legal trouble even after a successful Hospital procedure, Holly Kane turns to the offer from Marvin Greensdale, a wealthy and well-known psychologist seeking to employ Holly for clinical trials that would lead toward legitimizing her practice. In conjunction, Holly begins a romantic relationship with an admiring Dennis MacIntyre as her life and her life’s work have seemingly taken a turn for best, but as soon as she starts the clinical trials, Holly begins experience hallucinations and hearing whispering voices and she fears that her despondent and bleak family history of mental illness might be catching up with her or is it something else that’s covertly sinister?
Between Brighton and London is steered a conspiracy-riddled thriller entitled “The Holly Kane Experiment from a father-son filmmaking duo, writer Mick Sands and director Tom Sands. The filmmakers behind “Backtrack,” aka “Nazi Vengeance,” go deeper into the mysteriousness of subconscious cauterized by a fleshy cloak and dagger aspect layered thick, chillingly dense, and richly dark. Tom Sands invades the personal space of the senses by introducing sensory disrupting attributes in the same vein as Darren Aronofsky’s “Requiem for a Dream,” but Sands then diverts away from a snowballing psychedelic thriller to an undermining exploitation on a clandestine level.
Kirsty Averton stars as the titular character, the obsessed and isolated psychologist looking for answers inside the depths of her own mind. Averton performs well as the highly stern and fiercely focused Holly Kane and the English actress has a body to match. That’s remark is important to the story because with her beauty, the story would take an entirely different angle with her Holly’s employer, and lust admirer, Marvin Greensdale, played faultlessly by long time actor Nicky Henson (“Psychomania”) who flourishes an distinguished socialite whose more charming than aging youth. Also in the mix of the love triangle, James Rose makes his feature film debut as Dennis MacIntyre, a man trying to forget his past when he meets the beautiful Holly Kane. If there was an ever an odd wheel or a black sheep in the cast, Rose fit the bill with his scruffy appearance, homeless attire, and the insecurity in his voice and in his acting. The Scottish native has a personal interest in this film as he is, according to IMDB, a graduate of cognitive hypnotherapy and psychology, which begs the question, did Rose provide professional consultation? Holly Kane’s exclusive drug dealer, a chemist graduate named Jeannie, falls on the shoulders of Lindsey Campbell who mirrors as Kane’s opposite. Jeannie’s free spirit attitude and candid drug use sets up the fitting actress to nearly be free of constraint and to act under a hallucinogenic state until she encounters trouble with Greensdale’s operative goon Carl Grower in a riveting information extraction scene. With a chiseled jowl and a gaunt look, Matthew Neal certainly has a memorable role that he intensifies with a heart piercing look through a thousand yard stare and snare so devilish that Carl Grower instantly becomes a character favorite, but the character lacks significant screen time and is limited to basically the third act.
“The Holly Kane Experiment” subliminally pushes out the true intention of the plot and turns massively psychosexual. Once true intentions are made light, a thick film of filth just washes over and that’s subtle, yet poignantly subversive. However, Mick Sands’ scribing of the dynamic between Kane and Greensdale’s licentious activity through the power of suggestion form complexities turned improbabilities. Basically, the story was unchallenged by the writing with characters falling for obvious scrupulous activity. Also, the undercooked character developed plays a bit part in denoting the true power of individuals and the wane in others. Like aforementioned, Holly Kane is obsessive, fierce, and maybe even a little paranoid, but the character is easily blindsided by the very first instance of opportunity for her technique, even if blotted by questionable motives.
Today, “The Holly Kane Experiment” premieres in the UK on digital platforms. The Substantial Films production is a drug-fueled, psychosexual thriller poised to spotlight brainwashing and be an anti-establishment picture, but doesn’t quite pass the finishing mark with a jerky storyline that disrupts and undermines the time and spatial impurities, leaving a discombobulated aftertaste. The finale is also disconcerting with an abrupt and dissatisfying ending to forthright explain where characters land and I’m talking about all the characters fates. Overall, “The Holly Kane Experiment” is worth the time despite the issues with jarring the mind and violating the body, bending both to do bidding against one’s will, and that alone is impressively fearful. You can learn more about “The Holly Kane Experiment” at the film’s official website – www.thehollykaneexperiment.com.
A terrorizing motorcycle gang named The Living Dead wreak mischief and murderous havoc amongst the local residents. When Tom, the gang’s leader, learns of his family’s dark agreement with the devil, he seeks to reap the benefits of the agreement’s eternal life bestowed upon his family, but before claiming a long-life of unstoppable hog-wild carnage, Tom must die first and truly believe he’ll return from the afterlife. Convincing the rest of the gang to kill themselves in order to return from the grave and live forever was easy, except his girlfriend Abby who wants to actually be alive. As the torment rips through Abby involving the man she loves, not all satanic bound agreements can last forever and Tom, Abby, and the rest of the gang are caught in a contract that’s all but binding.
“Psyhomania,” also known as “The Death Wheelers,” is a stunt-heavy horror film from “Kiss the Vampire” and “The Face of Fu Manchu” director Don Sharp and written by “Horror Express’” Julian Zimet and Arnaud d’Usseau. “Psychomania” is a fun, b-horror feature from the swinging London era of the 1970s and rosters a young cast of some seriously talented actors in Nicky Henson as Tom, Mary Larkin as Abby, and Ann Michelle as Jane Pettibone while also being graced with two veterans, George Sanders, who voiced Shere Khan in “The Jungle Book,” and Beryl Reid from “Dr. Phibes Rises Again,” and were most likely the most expensive actors on set, being well worth the cash to balance out a relative unknown cast at the time.
Yes, this film is British. Yes, this film is horror. But, no, “Pyschomania” is not a Hammer Horror film. The Don Sharp film lightly tip-toes through being a horror film with only the supernatural element placing the feature in the thriller category, but the PG-rated horror has other admirable qualities that certainly differentiates itself from the blood-heavy, frighten laden Hammer films. For instance, a story about an undead motorcycle gang should obviously entail motorcycle stunts and “Psychomania” delivers with surprisingly various top-notch stunts with, and without, motorcycles, involving dedicated stunt men and women challenged to be engaged in nearly all stunts, and whereas the blood does not run thick and heavy like with many fright flicks, the bikes certainly do and revs a different, yet welcomed, change of pace.
If the intent here was to make a serious film, the mark was missed by a good margin. Outdated and obsolete, “Psychomania” is the epitome of aging with dated hairstyles, dated clothing, and dated dialogue. If the intent was to be campy, Sharp and his team of willing participants hit the center of the bulls eye. The premise of a motorcycle gang committing themselves to a suicide pact only to come back and continue their barrage amongst humane society while choking out nearly everybody they feel tramples upon their aimless and ferocious cause seems like an outright folly. Who knew that in forty years time that “Psychomania” would be a British cult favorite, sparking a well-deserved upgrade Blu-ray and DVD combo release from the British Film Institute, also known by as the BFI.
BFI Flipside presents “Psychomania” on a Blu-ray and DVD combo presented in the original aspect ratio 1.66:1 and scanned and restored in 2k from preservation negatives. The 1080p Hi-Def Blu-ray runs on a BD50 gigabyte at 24 frames per second with a PCM mono audio mix. The PAL DVD runs about the same, near 25fps, and sports a Dolby Digital 1.0 mono audio mix. I was presented the DVD version for review and I must say the original print looks immaculate. The lens flares in the corner from previous releases have been extinguished. The colors and skin tones have never been more vibrant through the three layers of the black and white master copies containing yellow, blue, and cyan. The mono mix clearly states a purpose and goes through the ears without muddling and much defect. The BFI have also spared no expense on the bonus features that include various interviews with Nicky Henson and other cast, an interview with Harvey Andrews on the “Riding Free” single, a Hell for Leather documentary about the company who supplied the leather for the cast, a short remastering “Psychomania” segment, and other various extras that dive into British culture. I was a bit disappointed with the Sound of “Psychomania” segment as the track portion in the interview with film composer John Cameron seems to be overlaid by something totally off-the-wall and we’re unable to get the full 9 minute audio from the interview. The bonus material rounds out with original theatrical trailer and a nice, vividly colored illustrated booklet with new writing by Vic Pratt, William Folwer, and Andrew Roberts. BFI’s “Psyhomania” release is one of the best re-releases to hit the region 2 market and will re-hit the youth once again on it’s climbing cult success that branches off far from the bloodlust of 1970’s British horror.