kirlian effect

Blu-ray Review: Psychic Killer

1975’s Psychic Killer (also known as The Kirlian Force) is an odd mix of ‘70s melodrama, exploitation motifs, and B-movie camp. In other words, it’s exactly the kind of drive-in favorite you’d expect Vinegar Syndrome to pluck from obscurity and give new life to with a high-definition release.

After being implicated in the murder of his mother’s doctor, mild-mannered Arnold Masters (Jim Hutton, Ellery Queen) is institutionalized by reason of insanity. He befriends a mysterious fellow patient (Stack Pierce), who gifts him with a unique power known as the Kirlian Effect. By putting himself in a comatose trance, he possesses the ability to control things with his mind. When the real killer in his murder case is caught, the charges against Arnold are dropped and he is released.

While I initially thought he might harness his power for good and become a Dexter-esque killer of killers, Arnold instead uses it to exact vengeance on those who put him behind bars and left his mother for dead. The rash of freak accidental deaths causes Lt. Jeff Morgan (Paul Burke, Valley of the Dolls) to become suspicious of Arnold. Morgan refuses to give up in his pursuit, even as Arnold openly mocks the police.

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