Blu Release – 4/5
Director – Richard Franklin (Visitors, The Lost World)
Starring – Susan Penhaligon (Doctor Who, Count Dracula), Robert Helpmann (Cinderella, The Ghost Sonata), and Rod Mullinar (Patrick: Evil Awakens, Killing Time)
Release Date – 1978
Rating – 3.5/5
Tagline – “Patrick is nearly dead…and still he kills”
When movie fans think of ozploitation they immediately think of Mad Max. As much as I love Mad Max and even the horror minded film Razorback, I’ve always considered Patrick to be the quintessential ozploitation flick. I’m not saying it’s a better film or more popular but considering the time and how embedded it became in the horror genre I think it would be a crime to say anything else is the face of ozsploitation. Anyway, this is one I had seen when I was in college and really enjoyed so when Umbrella Entertainment announced a blu release of it I had to revisit it. I quickly hit them up and they were kind enough to send a copy my way for review. Thanks guys!
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows a nurse that is going through a divorce and rejoining the workforce. She takes a job working at a hospital where a comatose patient, Patrick, has been a patient for three years. An innocent enough job turns strange when minor occurrences happen around Patrick but soon she learns that he is able to do things with his mind and wants her all to himself…and willing to kill to get her. **Spoiler Alert**
Patrick is a fantastic film that blends some great horror tension with a sci-fi storyline and it works. I really enjoy the characters and how someone stuck in a bed can still have a menacing tone about them. It’s a very effective film but it doesn’t really have any replay value.
The acting in this one is great. Penhaligon is fantastic as the nurse in charge of caring for Patrick. I really enjoyed her performance. She’s absolutely gorgeous and her emotional range is truly astounding. The supporting cast is just as impressive. With that being said, Robert Thompson as Patrick is fucking nightmare inducing. His bug-eyed blank stare is genuinely eerie and adds a whole new level of chills to the film. He was perfectly cast for this film and his look still sends chills down my spine.
The story for this one is a medical sci-fi film with a deep horror influence. The setting of the old hospital works in the film’s favor but what really sets this one out for me is the bed ridden Patrick starring off. These scenes were extremely effective for me. The last act of the film is a little goofy but I personally enjoyed it for what it is. I’m sure it was even more effective in the late 70s when it was released.
Finally, the film has some make-up effects and a few fun deaths but nothing that really jumps out at the viewer. I thoroughly enjoyed the head nurses death scene the most especially seeing the make-up effects used but fans of blood and gore may be a little disappointed. Overall, Patrick is a film that I have always recommended to genre fans and will continue to do so. This release is leagues above the poor quality DVD release that I snagged some years back. Umbrella did this film justice.
Audio commentary with director Richard Franklin
NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD interviews with cast and crew
A Coffee Break with Antony I. Ginnane
Archival on set interview with Richard Franklin
1981 interview with Richard Franklin
“Where was it Filmed?” featurette
Excerpt from dubbed US version
PATRICK VIVE ANCORA trailer
Original Theatrical Trailer
Antony I. Ginnane trailer reel
Stills and poster gallery
Patrick: Evil Awakens
Director – Mark Hartley (Machete Maidens Unleashed, Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films)
Starring – Sharni Vinson (You’re Next, House of Willow Street), Rachel Griffiths (Six Feet Under, Blow), and Charles Dance (Game of Thrones, Last Action Hero)
Release Date – 2013
Rating – 3/5
Tagline – “The killer in a coma returns”
Remakes have a stigma about them with a lot of movie goers actively bashing them with little to no regard of how good the movie actually is. I look at remakes as a new take on a story that I already enjoy. Honestly, I’ve liked a lot of remakes over the years and always look at them with optimism.
Several year ago I snagged a DVD copy of the Patrick remake Patrick: Evil Awakens. It was a fun remake that delivered on the atmosphere and scenery but lacked the menacing title character. When Umbrella announced the Patrick double feature release I couldn’t wait to revisit both of those. I quickly reached out to them and they were kind enough to send a copy my way.
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows a nurse that hired on at an old clinic that specializes in comatose patients. Among the patients is Patrick who the young nurse becomes close to. After spending time with him she suspects that he is actually able to communicate and is aware of what is going on around him. However, the closer she gets to him the more she uncovers strange behavior from him along with peculiar goings on. Soon she realizes that the experiments the demented doctor has been running on the comatose patients has unlocked powers within Patrick and he is using them to keep people away from her with murderous intent. **Spoiler Alert**
Patrick: Evil Awakens follows in a line of remakes that deliver an almost exact retelling of the original. The most infamous of these remakes is the Psycho remake starring Vince Vaughn. I enjoyed PEA and the much darker tone that the film delivers but it does lack in a few other aspects.
The acting in this one is surprisingly well done. I’m a huge fan of Six Feet Under so it was great seeing Rachel Griffiths in a genre film. She does a great job at reimaging the character of the bitchy head nurse that has a cold shoulder for our protagonist. It was also great seeing Charles Dance in another film. I know a lot of our readers will recognize him for his role in Game of Thrones but as a kid born on the tail end of the 80s and grew up in the 90s he will always be Benedict from Last Action Hero. I also enjoyed Sharni Vinson as well. She does a great job at giving her character a lot of the same traits as the original performance from Susan Penhaligon but with a more modern spin. The supporting cast is solid enough but these three really carry the film. My biggest complaint with the acting is how Patrick is not as eerie or menacing like the original Patrick. His bug eyed stare really made me feel uncomfortable while this Patrick just blends into the background.
The story for this one is a somewhat modern take on the original tale but it was a more dark and sinister setting. The atmosphere in this one is a much chilling and darker which that pays tribute to the gothic inspired horror tales of the late 60s and 70s. It reminded a lot of the remake of House on Haunted Hill where the film location is almost a part of the cast. I loved that but it did put the character of Patrick to the back of the story while turning the doctor into the antagonist.
Finally, this one has some blood with some great effects and a lot of fantastic props. The film does dial it up more in the effects department compared to the first film. We don’t get anything that really stands out but I did enjoy the special effects. Overall, Patrick: Evil Awakens is a solid remake and a great film. This is one I would recommend regardless if you had seen the original or not. It’s a fun watch especially if you are looking for a late night horror flick. You can’t really go wrong with this double feature from Umbrella Entertainment.
Audio commentary with Mark Hartley, Garry Richards, Justin King and Jackson Gallagher
The Spit, The Stunts, The Sex, The Gore featurette
Cast and crew on-set interviews
Mark and Garry’s production diary
VFX before and after showcase
Radio interview with director Mark Hartley
Phase 4 viral video
Original theatrical trailer
Stills and poster gallery