Psycho Sisters (aka Psycho Sisters 2 – Beyond Madness) DVD Review
Review written by Rosie Fletcher
DVD released by – Screen Entertainment
Directed by Pete Jacelone
Written by Pete Jacelone and James L Edwards
1998, Region 2 (PAL), 86 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on January 23rd, 2006
JJ North as Jackie Sicole
Theresa Lynn as Jane Sicole
John Knox as Dr. Samual Lawrence
Mac Winslow as Lieutenant Anderson
Anthony Bruno as Todd
Nancy Sirianni as Jolene Sicole
Jeffrey Stackhouse as Jack Sicole
A quick run down of the first few scenes:
1: A shocking and dramatic description of the rape and murder of a number of Vietnamese children. The girls’ mother shoots and kills their father, cuts off his penis then shoots herself in the head.
2: The two girls witness their younger sister raped and murdered.
3: The girls are prematurely released from a mental institute. They are both fired from their jobs, in one instance because one of the sisters refuses to have sex with her boss.
Stop me when this sounds funny.
Psycho Sisters is a film of two halves. The first half is exploitative, violent and mildly offensive; the second half is slapstick, gross-out comedy. The first half doesn’t work, the second half surprisingly does. But it’s a confusing and uncomfortable film to watch because there’s no clear line between the two.
Because the opening is so unpleasant and serious, you’re encouraged to expect something dramatic, tense and, potentially, scary. It’s none of these things.
As is often the case in low-budget films, the acting is pretty poor. In the special feature Psycho Sister History, Pete Jacelone describes how hard it was to cast the roles of Jane and Jackie. The Psycho Sisters had a number of previous incarnations, but apparently the actresses were either unwilling to get their boobs out, or were uncomfortable about the idea cutting off penises. What we’re left with are JJ North and Theresa Lynn, who are a bit old and a bit hammy (although JJ North is probably considered attractive in some cultures).
The plot is scant and hard to swallow (the police know the girls’ mother killed their father and cut off his penis, they know the girls witnessed the rape and murder of their sister, and they know that the girls have recently been released from a psychiatric institute. And yet they’re not even suspects for the murder and mutilation of over forty men). There’s no tension because it’s entirely predictable and utterly unbelievable. There’s a fair amount of gore, but it’s not terribly realistic and it doesn’t pack an emotional impact.
Yet, as the film progresses, we start to realise that, at some point, Psycho Sisters has switched to a focus on out-and-out comedy, and in a cheap kind of way it regularly succeeds. Think I Spit on Your Grave meets Police Academy. There are a few ‘great’ lines — “you’d better not be shitting me or I’ll beat you like a red-headed step-child” was a particular gem. The final scenes with the police/kids/bikers shootout hit just the right tone of comic stupidity. Even the random farts from the college boys and the irrational homophobic reaction of the bikers are worth a smile, especially if you like your humour base. It’s not clever and it’s not sophisticated but it’s just about the right-kind-of-stupid to make it a potential cult classic among fans of horror-comedy, although it’s strictly for those who like a whole lot of gore with their slapstick.
Video and Audio:
Looks basically fine, but occasionally a little dark or a little washed out on my inferior TV set.
Audio on my equipment this sounds fine, no problems here.
We have a director profile including a short film called Lost Child. The profile is interesting and includes clips from early versions of the Psycho Sisters concept. The short film is also worth a look. Based on writings of HP Lovecraft, it’s a nice idea. Unfortunately it’s mainly spoiled by inappropriate music played over the first half of the film — an apparent desire to make the lyrics of the song match the story detract from the potentially tense opening sequence and so while the payoff is still nicely done and manages to deliver a punch, any build-up is lost.
There’s a behind the scenes section too which gives a bit of insight into the filming and glimpses of the actors on set, a deleted scenes section which is fun for fans and the "Other Attractions" section offers a plethora of trailers of old and new, cheap and not-so-cheap movies that come from this distributor.
Want to comment on this review? Head over to the Horrortalk Review Forum.