The Psychic (1968)


(director/writer: James F. Hurley; screenwriter: Herschell Gordon Lewis; cinematographer: Herschell Gordon Lewis; editor: Richard Brinkman; music: Vincent Oddo; cast: Dick Genola (Dan Thomas), Robyn Guest (Ellen Thomas), Arlene Banas (Alice Morgan), Rhonda Reed (Lisa Thomas), Jack Homer (Henry Kalder), Darrold Busse (Artie Wilson), Carol Saenz (Valerie Parker), Bobbi Spencer (Bobbi); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: R; producer: James F. Hurley; Camp Video VHS; 1968)

“A crappy but entertaining movie.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Script writer James F. Hurleydirects for the first and only time. He tries to make a serious drama but with only exploitation material. The result is a crappy but entertaining movie. It’s filled with bad dialogue, poor acting by the adults (the children are fine) and underwhelming production values. Herschell Gordon Lewis co-writes with Hurley and is the cinematographer. In 1967 Lewis directed Something Weird, based on a story by Hurley. Since Hurley disapproved of the way Lewis directed, he took over the directing and tried to a rework the original. It was filmed and set in Chicago. The tagline is “He Could Read Men’s Minds And Corrupt Their Women!” The film is told in flashback.

The family man suburban ad executive, Dan Thomas (Dick Genola), suddenly acquires psychic power when he falls off a ladder and has a brain operation. He starts acting weird and gets into tiffs with his wife Ellen Thomas (Robyn Guest) and they split-up when he quits his job. Dan thereby begins a nightclub magic act with sexy blonde dancer Bobbi (Bobbi Spencer. When seeking national fame as a celebrity psychic, Dan’s a guest on the Jerry Larsen TV talk show in NYC. Acting like a jerk, he ruins his life by outing a celebrity over the air. Dan’s powers disappear when he needs them most and he becomes a loser.

Since the story was slight and didn’t appeal to the financial backers, some graphic sex scenes were gratuitously thrown in to arouse the audience. This type of exploitation filmmaking pleased them.

Its an oddity sleaze film that is so bad it might be perceived as good by some.