In the same sense that films like Army of Darkness or Dead Alive are considered to be acquired tastes, /i>Hysterical Psycho is a film foodie’s buffet. While the gut-busting story isn’t filmed on the best cameras, performed by the worldliest actors, or sporting Oscar-worthy cinematography, Hysterical Psycho is more entertaining than 90% of what big production companies crank out every year. The film is a fanboy tribute to Hitchcock, and the self-aware horror comedy spoofs on just about every horror cliché possible. However, different from other spoof movies like Scary Movie or Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday The 13th, Dan Fogler’s riot fest took a flying leap towards the “top” (in over the top) and bashed it’s brains in with a sledgehammer.
A side-splitting horror send-up, the Stage 13 theater troupe takes a trip to a country cabin, but its nearby Moon Lake is the highest source lunar radiation on the planet. Not only does it have moon radiation to worry about, but the lake sits above a dinosaur burial ground, a Native American burial ground, an Elephant burial ground, and a nursing home cemetery. Clearly, Moon Lake is a gigantic cesspool of bad news bears. Combine Moon Lake together with the awkwardly endearing theatre kids, and you get one psycho thespian adventure! Chock full of bloody, fun-filled kills, a deaf-mute girl, a cartoon moon man, and a chick with an epic rack, Hysterical Psycho is by far one of the most absurd films I’ve ever admitted to loving.
The music resembles the iconic Halloween score with some of the Psycho score thrown in, the deaths are over exaggerated in the best way possible, and the killer’s trademark breathing chant sounds like the bastard child of Jason Voorhees. Certain scenes last for exponentially way too long, but rather than it being irritating, it’s absolutely hilarious. The throwbacks to classic horror films (dead people falling out of closets, hiding under sheets, bodies twitching with the head off screen, orchestra wails whenever the killer appears) are greatly appreciated and done in a way that not only spoofs the genre, but also somehow finds a way to do it with respect.
Despite the goofball antics of the entire film, there are little bits that are actually scary. Characters randomly have “visions” that take up half a second and are filmed in color. Most of the movie is in black and white, so the split shots of color cause a scare and a racing heart. The gore factor is enough to make gore hounds happy, but not so much to where it seems like the filmmaker has a sick fetish for food coloring and chocolate syrup. The effects are done with a homemade feel, so all you CGI haters, here’s a change of pace from the animated garbage we’ve been force-fed.
An appreciation for sarcasm isn’t required for the viewing of Hysterical Psycho, but it is highly recommended. It’s a ridiculous frenzy of bloody fun and a must see for fans of B-Movies. Oh, and there’s an awesome cameo from Gilbert Godfrey.