I had read a little about this movie, which made it sound poor. Then I watched some clips on Daalder's website and there was some stuff that made it look quite interesting. I didn't think I would get to see it, short of a holiday in the USA or Canada, because the only Release was in that Region's video. Fortunately, an enlightened friend pointed out to me that my new video-machine played Region 1 video-tapes!! So, onto Amazon.com I went and here's my review, after just one watching.
Daalder's skill gave it a great opening. The Hysteria graphic must be one of the cleverest I've seen in a while. Daalder is credited with writing the screenplay too. He must have done some kind of Homage to McGoohan's prisoner opus because it's replete with Prisoner, Village and Escape motifs and phrases. The action is pretty straightforward. Disillusioned psychiatrist is ordered to discharge a dangerous female patient he's vaguely in love with. Her care in the community is to rely on her being fed copious pharmaceuticals. Unable to damn her to this existence he takes her to the strange Gothic asylum run by McGoohan's Doctor Langston. We already know that something very odd is going on there and it has led to the 'murder' of at least one man.
It turns out that Langston is dabbling in a little cybernetic surgery on the side and has implanted some gadget into the brain-stem of all his patients that allows all of them to experience one another. His asylum has no locks because nobody wants to escape. They're all enjoying each other too much. His technique has the further advantage that anyone employing violence feels their victim's pain, so there is no fighting or aggression. There is evidently a fair amount of sex however - naturally.
A darkness hovers though, because one mind is dominating all the others and using their bodies for her own satisfaction. Amanda Plummer plays the crippled dominatrix, Myrna, who needs others to sate her needs, much of which appears to hinge upon ballet, dancing having been her passion. It becomes evident that she probably isn't physically crippled but will not dance for herself.
The young psychiatrist is eventually seduced by everyone. His love for the original girl is waylaid by the dominatrix who leaves his former love an empty vessel. His admiration for Langston (who was evidently a doctor out of tune with modern pharmaceutical psychiatry) reduces his resistance to becoming the new King. However, it is clear that his crippled nemesis, Myrna, continues to be the power behind the throne.
That's the plot anyhow. Sadly, Mr. Daalder seemed to lose it in the last ten minutes or so and veers from the young psychiatrist fighting the Langston's system to becoming a willing participant, rather too swiftly. The 'mad' people are also sent out into the 'community' and a suggestion made that they begin to turn the rest of Society into group automatons. This last strikes a dull note because the whole interest of the film relied on a small, tight community being so inter-reliant as to work in perfect harmony together - with all the contradictions between Society and the Individual, which that engenders.
The confused conclusion aside, the movie isn't too bad. Patrick McGoohan has a great time, moving from theatrical flourishes to intriguing face-to-camera soliloquy. The subject matter makes you stop and think at times too. There's a possibly very good movie in there, if someone could concentrate and be willing to put in a little more hard thinking about the concepts and heir consequences; but that'll have to wait for the Remake....... and sadly that probably will not have Patrick McGoohan in it; so I'll just have to make do with this one.
A small PS added..... After watching the movie again, I realised that the young psychiatrist does not "veer....... from.... fighting the Langston system to becoming a willing participant, rather too swiftly".... What had actually happened was that Langston had transferred his consciousness into the younger body. Still a little confused at the ending; but in a good way.
Drama / Sci-Fi / Thriller
Drama / Sci-Fi / Thriller
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The inmates of an insane asylum are subjected to experiments using collective consciousness and surgically implanted chips in an attempt to create perfect citizens.
Uploaded by: FREEMAN
May 23, 2022 at 10:27 AM