Exploitation Retrospect | The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media
Schizoid aka Murder By Mail (1980)
Cannon Video | Review by Dan Taylor

When a scissors-wielding killer in brown hiking boots and blue slacks murders a woman in a field, it's not the fashion police that are called in, but Joe Regalbuto (later seen on tv's 'Murphy Brown,' but best remembered by me for his role in the cable-classic LASSITER). Joe and partner trace the dead woman to a therapy group run by psychiatrist Klaus Kinski. And in a semi-remake of another Klaus-as-Psychiatrist flick (SLAUGHTER HOTEL), several women turn up dead, all of them members of the therapy group! What a surprise!

Questions soon abound... namely, who is the killer? Is it the cigarette-smokin', suave-lookin', patient-bangin' psychiatrist? Is it the therapy group's resident weirdo, played expertly by All-Pro Weirdo Christopher Lloyd? Is it Kinski's totally whacked, attention-seeking, breast-flashin' daughter (portrayed by Donna Wilkes, the one and only original ANGEL)? Is it the balsa-wooden Craig Wasson, here portraying the ex-hubbie of K2's current gal pal? Well, it really isn't much of a mystery if you've seen more than two of these in your life.

The only good thing here is watching the K-monger go to town. WATCH! as art imitates life and he ogles his on-screen daughter as she undresses for a shower. SEE! Klaus smoke cigarettes and take notes. RECOIL! in disbelief as K2 goes whacky, kisses one of his patients and says, "I never do these types of things." Come on, does anyone really believe that a guy with hair THAT good doesn't regularly accost his patients? MARVEL! at his suaveness as he dry humps a stripper against a hot water heater!

The script by writer/director David Paulsen conveniently gathers all the major suspects in one place as the flick lumbers to its thrilling conclusion. Without a surprise denouement (a 75¢ word for "ending") and only minimalist Klaus to recommend it, SCHIZOID loses out in the K2 Sweepstakes.

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