Patrick (Gianni Dei) and his father Dr. Herschel (Sacha Pitoeff) are standing by their car on the side of the road when another car comes barreling by. They holler for help because their car is broken down but the oncoming vehicle flies past them, heedless of their need. Something is ejected from the passing car and strikes Patrick in the face. He is knocked unconscious and sent into a deep coma. Some time later, a disparate group of rich people are invited to Dr. Hershel’s chateau out in the country. They are wined and dined and all of them wonder just why exactly they are out there. Each of them have a shady past and they all think this might be some attempt to blackmail or extort them, so they stick around, trying to figure out what’s going on. Meanwhile, in another room in the mansion, Patrick is lying in his coma, hooked to machines that tie him to three other people also in comas. They are living batteries to power Patrick’s psychic abilities as manipulated by his father. For you see, the guests at the chateau are all the members from the passing car that caused Patrick’s coma, and now Dr. Herschel has gathered them all together for Patrick to get his revenge…
This is one of those “unofficial” sequels the Italians were so good at producing in the 70’s and 80s. And if they weren’t making “sequels” to other, famous films, they were wholly ripping the originals off and “remaking” them. Thing is, the Italians knew what they were doing, and they amped-up whatever was big in the original films by adding buckets of blood and tons of nudity. Patrick Still Lives is a perfect example of this. The movie is nominally tied to the Australian original by having a character named Patrick who has psychic powers stuck in a coma and harming those around him. That’s it. Oh, they steal the typewriter bit, and the “staring with goggle eyes,” as well. Everything else, though, is pure Italian, and thank the gods! This is one of the most audacious and daring exploitation films I’ve ever seen. First of all, boobs and butts and bush are all over the place. They waste no time getting the women naked (and one of the men, too) and letting them show off their magnificent bodies. But it goes farther than that, venturing so very close into Hardcore territory. There’s one scene in particular, a close-up so close, that if a couple of fingers ventured a little bit further, this one would be X-rated. And the fashion! The 70s were ending but not according to the folks in this film. Outrageous and awesome. Kudos to the one actor who looked a lot like Burt Reynolds, with his thick mustache and his fur coat of chest hair; his combo-over may be the finest in cinematic history. Just marvelous. Let’s not forget the blood and violence. They don’t skimp here. And if the budget shows itself in some of the set-pieces, their sheer audacity makes up for it. Of course, there is the most infamous scene, one that must be seen to be believed, and certainly not for the squeamish. I won’t spoil it here, but when you see a woman alone and spy a fireplace poker floating towards her, know that you’ve arrived at your Ultimate Exploitation Destination.
Wild, wooly, crazy, and most importantly, unapologetic, they don’t make them like this anymore. I don’t know what was in the water the Italians were drinking in the early 80s, but I wish they’d pass it around again so we can get more outrageous flicks like this one. It’s right there with Anthropophagus and Burial Ground as the ultimate in Italian Sleaze. And I mean that as a compliment, straight from my blackened heart. If you are at all a fan of this kind of madness, this is a must-see.