An American woman with psychic abilities, Virginia Ducci (Jennifer O’Neill, Summer of ’42), moves to Italy after she marries a wealthy Italian (Gianni Garko, The Night of the Devils). Once in her husband’s mansion, Virginia is drawn to a room where she discovers a body hidden behind a wall. With the help of a researcher of paranormal phenomena (Marc Porel, Don’t Torture a Duckling), Virginia sets out to find out who is the dead person and who put him behind the wall.
Reaction & Thoughts:
I wouldn’t have guessed it in a million years, but the Wizard of Gore, Lucio Fulci (Zombie and The House by the Cemetery ), could do a straight murder-mystery! The Psychic is a restrained, well-paced, and well-plotted thriller where violence is minimal and suspense is plenty — this is a really nice surprise from the popular, but erratic Italian maestro.
The Psychic, written by Fulci, Roberto Gianviti and Dardano Sacchetti, kept me on the edge of my seat as each clue was revealed. It’s a really good whodunit with supernatural touches. The clairvoyant lady sees images that she and viewer must decipher before the climax, which is, by the way, very intense. There is a twist near the end that I didn’t see coming — how much fun is not to get ahead of a movie!
The film, also known as Seven Notes in Black, gives the beautiful model-turned-actor Jennifer O’Neill (I always confuse her with Jacqueline Bisset!) a rare opportunity to “act.” More often than not, O’Neill is nothing but glitter sprinkled all over a movie. O’Neill is in almost all scenes and demonstrates that she can carry a film on her shoulders — it’s a really solid performance. Popular character actor Gabriele Ferzetti (Bond’s father-in-law in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) has a small, but key supporting role.
The moody musical score was written by Franco Bixio, Fabio Frizzi, and Vince Tempera. The main theme music was later used by American filmmaker Quentin Tarantino in his Kill Bill saga — it’s a creepy score that gets under your skin. The atmospheric cinematography is by Sergio Salvati (The Beyond and The House by the Cemetery).
Conclusions & Final Thoughts:
Although Lucio Fulci has become synonymous with senseless violence and pointless nudity, I assure you that The Psychic has little of that (there are a few bits of mayhem, but nothing the squeamish can’t handle). It’s a fun psychological thriller, with good performances and an involving storyline. Dim the lights and enjoy! Color, 95 minutes, Rated R.