The title of Schizo is clearly intended to invoke similarities with Psycho (1960), the film that was inspiration for the psycho-thriller genre that Pete Walkers films all draw upon. (Walker even stages a shower scene at one point). The opening title card luridly misidentifies schizophrenia with split personality disorder possibly in an attempt to invoke association with the then-recent hit true-life split personality tv drama Sybil (1976) and emphasises talk of episodes of violence. This gives Schizo the appearance of a film that is going to be shabbily exploitative. That said, Walker throws up some fine jumps throughout a fine scene where Jack Watson substitutes a bloody knife for the one that Lynne Frederick is about to use to cut her wedding cake, only for him to be stopped by the officious maitre d for not being dressed right as goes to wheel the cake out into the hall; and a spooky scene where Lynne Frederick imagines that she is being stalked in a supermarket and decides this is not the case, only to get to the checkout and find a bloody knife in her trolley.
There is one particularly good jump that Walker throws in the scene at the séance where medium Tricia Mortimer suddenly looks up and her eyeballs go blank white. The sense of a tatty fake séance having suddenly stepped over into something real is a genuine jolt. At other times, Walkers jumps are crude the mimicking of the Psycho shower scene is poorly conducted, as is the scene with deep breathing down the phone. Walker throws in some scenes of almost Argento-esque sadism a scene where Tricia Mortimers head is bashed in with a hammer while she sits on a bus stop and the killer then waits for a double-decker bus to come before throwing her body out in front of it; a scene where the cleaning lady gets a knife in the back of the head and it emerges out through her eyeball. There is an effective twist ending, if one that stretches psychological credibility somewhat.
Pete Walkers ace in the hole proves to be the lovely Lynne Frederick. Lynne Frederick has a demure beauty and it is a great mystery as to why she never became a bigger star. She appeared in only about a dozen films, including a surprising number of genre ones No Blade of Grass (1970), The Amazing Mr Blunden (1972), Vampire Circus (1972) and Phase IV (1974). She married Peter Sellers in 1977 and, following his death in 1980, faded away into obscurity and never worked as an actress again. One was shocked to learn of her death of alcoholism in 1994 at the age of only 40. Jack Watson also has an effectively sullen presence as the father.
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