In 1973 Psychopath hit the stained screens of 42nd Street grindhouses. Strangely this film has been ignored by all the “boutique” DVD companies. Directed by Larry Brown ( The Pink Angels), it was one of three films he directed, the other was Silent but Deadly. Not much is known about Mr Brown as he has sort of vanished. The film is about a kiddee show host who seeks vengeance on abusive parents. 

How this film got a PG rating is a mystery. It has been obviously cut . The subject matter , child abuse and murder is appalling, but the denizens of “the deuce” just ate this film up. Mr Rabbey , played by Tom Basham, is a low rent kid’s show host. Rabbey has a soup bowl hair cut and looks and acts like a stereotypical 70’s gay man. He takes his show to a local hospital which puts him in contact with abused children. 

We are treated to a sadistic couple, a pig woman and her drunken 2nd husband. They beat their boy to death with a belt and dump his body off a cliff. They report him as a runaway. The coroner points out to the detectives that there is no blood around the body and the boy has scars from previous beatings. “If he was alive when he fell, they would be blood here, there is no blood, he was tossed here dead.” the coroner tells them.

The “parents” are getting drunk and getting their story straight as they know the police will have questions. Dad goes out for more liquor. Mr Rabbey shows up and beats the pig woman to death with a bat. Dad comes back with the hootch and, for some reason, changes his shirt. He see the body of his wife and runs to the car . Rabbey is hiding in the back seat and strangles him.  

Rabbey is entertaining the kids at the hospital. The kid that was killed was one of Rabbey’s Rangers. He stalks the cops with his puppet and asks when they are going to arrest some parents. A friendly nurse gives him the information ,inadvertently, as Rabbey checks out their charts. A little black boy has a broken arm. Rabbey takes out his parents in their bed. Rabbey is informed by the woman who “manages” him that his show is cancelled. Now he is really over the edge. 

He is zeroing in on a couple who abuses their little girl. Rabbey goes to the hardware store where the father works. He is going to kill the man with a pair of shears. Then the man gets a phone call and Rabbey hears him arguing with his wife as to her beating the girl. “Leave her alone“ he orders, “you got a problem, take it out on me.“ Rabbey hearing this, leaves. He goes to confront the mother. He is going to cave her head in with an iron. The little girl comes in with a pistol and shoots him. He collapses with an astonished look on his face and blood pouring out of his mouth. The girl then looks at her mother and shoots her.

The 70’s had a lot of downbeat endings in films. Psychopath was re released as An Eye for an Eye. Tom Basham did a couple of other films and some TV appearances. He died in 2010 at age 68. Psychopath was his only starring role. The film got a VHS release then vanished. This is a very twisted film with disturbing overtones. Just the descriptions of what were being done to these children is disturbing. The parents are especially despicable. Future Beverley Hills Cop star, John Ashton, appears as a detective. 

Actor Joe Spinell was going to star in a sequel, Maniac 2 : Mr Rabbey. Buddy Giovinazzo was set to direct it. A short teaser was shot, but Joe sadly passed away before they could shoot an actual film. As of this writing, the film remains ‘lost’. it is a weird slice of 70’s exploitation that needs to be rediscovered. 

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