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Psychos In Love
(1987)

Director: Gorman Bechard  
Cast:
Carmine Capobianco, Debi Thibeault, Frank Stewart


Currently, I am in a solid romantic relationship. Although I find that I enjoy my own company and that I like the freedom to do anything that I desire without having to deal with someone that might object to my choices, I have managed with this woman to find a balance that I am very happy with. I have learned over the years pursing various women that relationships can be extremely hard work for even the most intelligent of people. Just think for a moment about all the different things you have to do in the pursuit of love - and then all the things you have to do to maintain both the love you have for your significant other as well as the love your significant other has for you. At the very beginning, you have to make sure that you look good. True, they say that inner beauty is the most important thing of all, but let's be honest - most of us are looking for people to love that also happen to be easy on the eye. Once you are looking good, the next thing is to bring up your character traits, which consists of stuff ranging from your favorite hobbies to your hopes and dreams for the future. And it's not enough to simply present that stuff to a prospective mate - you have to present it in the best way you can think of, so you can appear even more special. At the same time, you have to pay special attention to that other person, so not only do you learn about them, but you can use this information you gather in order to know what to say and how to treat that special someone so that they are happy with you and want to stay connected with you. With all of this hard work people have to do when it comes to romantic relationships, it's surprising that not more people want to stay single.

There's no doubt about it - more often than not you have to be clear-minded as well as intelligent (at least in the way of relationship smarts) to some degree in order to land and maintain a relationship. On the other hand, like with many other things in this crazy world of ours, there are exceptions to the rule. There are people who you would think would never attract a mate, but somehow they manage to do so. For example, there are cold-blooded killers who will spend the rest of their lives in jail, but have managed to attract women of the opposite sex. The Menendez brothers, for example, have each married women despite both brothers being locked up with life sentences and conjugal visits being forbidden. In situations like those, you have to wonder about the sanity of the women who marry such criminals. Then there are cases when it seems that both people in the relationship seem to be missing some marbles. A few years ago, I touched upon the subject when I reviewed the movie Lonely Hearts, which dealt with the true story of the Lonely Hearts Killers. I've seen other movies (fictional and non-fictional) that deal with warped people getting involved in relationships with other people with unstable minds. I have to admit that with these movies I watch these deranged relationships with a kind of fascination. How did each crazy person deteriorate to such a level to be attracted to someone who is far from being their best? Can two people be both so sick that they can't see that they are almost surely headed to disaster? Sometimes while watching these movies I am thankful I am single, because you can never be absolutely sure the loved on in your life is running properly on all cylinders.

To be honest, I have become kind of depressed seeing so many people with sick minds attracting mates when I, a person who considers himself smart and high-functioning, often found it hard in the past to attract people of the opposite sex. It's also why I haven't reviewed that many movies Psychos In Loveinvolving romances between people with normal minds. But getting back to romances between people with sick minds, with this review I have decided to look at a movie involving such a relationship. Unlike most other movies of this kind, Psychos In Love is a comedy. Since the idea of sick people getting together quite often seems hard to swallow for me, the idea of poking fun at the subject appealed to me. Psychos In Love has always been a somewhat hard movie to find since it was first released, but it has built a small cult over the years. Is is deserving of a cult? Well, first, a plot description. In the opening of the movie, we are introduced to Joe (Capobianco, Galactic Gigolo) the proprietor of a strip club who has a couple of quirks. For starters, he hates grapes. "I loathe grapes!" he tells us. "All kinds of grapes! I hate purple grapes! I hate green grapes! I hate grapes with seeds! I hate grapes without seeds! I hate them peeled and non peeled! I hate grapes in bunches, one at a time, or in groups of twos and threes! I f**king hate grapes!" Oh, and he happens to be a serial killer, murdering women who ultimately fail to satisfy his romantic needs. But one day, he meets a woman manicurist named Kate (Thibeault, Assault Of The Killer Bimbos), who seems to be different. Indeed, she is different - she also happens to be a serial killer, killing various men that cross her path. When Joe and Kate find about each other's murderous secret, as well as the fact that she also hates grapes (all kind of grapes. Purple grapes, green grapes, grapes with seeds etc.), they are elated to know they have so much in common. What follows is a look at their evolving courtship and relationship, only interrupted by the occasional murder they collaborate on. It seems their future will be content with both of them having each other. But what they don't know is that in their town, there is a psycho plumber named Herman (Stewart, Galactic Gigolo) who has been busy building a body count on his own - and it seems inevitable that he'll cross paths with Joe and Kate sooner or later.

As you probably have guessed by that plot description, Psychos In Love was definitely not a major Hollywood studio production. It was an independent production, and not from one of the major independent studios of the time like Cannon or Vestron. From a deal made with the legendary (and uncredited) producer Charles Band, the movie was made on a paltry budget that was reportedly only $75,000, filming with "short ends" (unused film stock from past movie shoots) to save money. Yet ironically, this limited budget actually greatly benefits the movie. After all, when you think about it, the world of your typical serial killer is not found in rich and fancy-looking environments. Your typical serial killer works in a world of squalor, living his or her life and doing his or her killings in an environment far below the poverty line. Seeing Joe and Kate in fancy, well-lit, and well-built environments simply wouldn't have seemed right, even for a movie that puts a comic spin on the world of the serial killer. It certainly didn't work for the big budget and way overproduced Natural Born Killers. Filmmaker Gorman Bechard may not have had a lot of money for set decoration, and he reportedly filmed much of the movie in various rooms in his own apartment, but the low-rent feel of the entire enterprise feels spot on. Also, Bechard uses a lot of different directorial techniques that cost little to nothing to the limited budget, but managed to be very effective all the same. For example, he knows that male viewers like pretty women, especially pretty women who also happen to be topless. So he not only gets plenty of pretty women to appear in the movie, but gets them to take off their tops, sometimes having them subsequently thrust their breasts mere inches away from the camera lens. It's moments like those that heavily contribute to make this movie low budget filmmaking at its finest.

However, Bechard is not a complete penny-pincher. Although the movie is clearly very low budget throughout, at the same time it's also clear he managed to squeeze every last penny out of the limited funds he had on key and costly ingredients that spice up the movie considerably. You may be thinking that with so little money, there can't be that much blood and gore in the movie? Think again. If you are a gorehound, what's to be found in Psychos In Love will greatly please you. People get stabbed, blasted with shotguns, and hit with rocks, among other methods of slaughter. And the blood flows freely, with the various body parts from the massacres tossed casually around. But even if you are not a gorehound, it's still very unlikely you'll be sickened by all this carnage. Bechard films the various slaughters so there's always an absurd edge to it, like body parts that are so obviously rubber or plastic. You laugh instead of being sickened. Bechard also shows some strong directorial talent in other areas as well. For one thing, he gets the entire cast, whether they are major players or bit parts, to act in just the right tone. Although Carmine Capobianco (as Joe) isn't a strong actor, Bechard gets him to perform with great enthusiasm. As a result, you can't help but like the character of Joe, since he's so upbeat and seems to have a great sense of humor. Bechard gets Debi Thibeault (as Kate) to play things (mostly) straight, and such a different personality paired with the goofy character of Joe results in some great chemistry between the two, whether they are arguing, talking romantically, or adding another notch to their kill list. Special mention goes to Frank Stewart as the psychotic plumber that crosses the lovers' paths. He may be psycho like Joe and Kate, but he is made to also act like the biggest geek you've ever seen, and he ends up being very memorable despite not getting a lot of screen time.

Although the direction and the performances by the cast certainly have a lot of positive attributes, the main reason why Psychos In Loveis such a blast to watch is due to the screenplay, written by Capobianco and Bechard. If there's any flaw with the screenplay, it's that there is not quite enough story; there are too many scenes that don't advance the plot. But while the plot is minimal, and there are inevitably a few gags that do fall flat, most of the writing delivers a great deal of entertainment with a great deal of laughs. An extra joy is that the range of humor throughout runs surprisingly wide. There are running gags, most prominently the often repeated anti-grape rants of Joe and Kate which lead to a hilarious punchline at the end of the movie. There are gags that go over the top, like when Joe and Kate rent an impossibly large number of horror movies (and The Debbie Reynolds Workout. Yes, I know how that may sound, but it's made to be funny) at a local video store. There are funny encounters with various goofy characters, like when Joe and Kate decide to get married and are served by an extremely senile justice of the peace. There are very amusing references to other movies (especially Psycho), as well as dead-on skewerings of horror movie clichés such as the person who simply won't stay dead. The hightlight has to be a montage sequence when we hear Joe and Kate sing the title song, a song that will still be stuck in your head months after watching the movie, despite the fact it's scored by what sounds to be a cheesy children's electronic keyboard. It's often amazing how ambitious the humor is, as well as influential (an episode of The Simpsons later ripped off a gag from this movie.) I'm not saying that the humor of Psychos In Love, as well as the other positive attribues I earlier noted, make this a movie for everybody. It isn't. Older and humorless viewers probably will find it cheap and dumb. But if you're really into B movies, and thrill to their adults-only elements as well as finding a lot to chuckle about these elements, you'll most likely find this movie a very pleasant surprise.

(Posted December 21, 2018)

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See also: Cannibal! The Musical, Deranged, Psychopath

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