Patrick Still Lives (Blu-ray Review)
Release Date(s)1980 (October 27, 2020)
Studio(s)Stefano Film (Severin Films)
- Film/Program Grade: D+
- Video Grade: B
- Audio Grade: B-
- Extras Grade: C-
One of the sleaziest unofficial sequels ever made, 1980’s Patrick Still Lives (aka Patrick vive ancora) is an Italian follow-up to the Australian-born Patrick released two years prior. Only the initial premise of a comatose young man using psychic powers to bend the will of those around him and committing heinous and horrific acts remains. The follow-up is an exercise in tastelessness, taking its story in outrageous directions and not bothering with relatable characters or plot comprehension. Instead, we’re presented with an array of despicable people who receive their comeuppance (justifiable or otherwise) in particularly nasty ways, including a scene involving a screaming nude woman and a long metal rod… enough said. Even one of the few characters who seems to have a value system in place doesn’t manage to survive either. Brutal, sexist, and filled with unmotivated nudity and violence, this film is a genre mind-bender that somersaults off the edge of morality into an almost comical yet shocking piece of horror inelegance that could only have been made outside the US.
Patrick (Gianni Dei) and his father Dr. Herschel (Sacha Pitoeff) are having car trouble when a passerby throws a bottle out the window—breaking across Patrick’s head, damaging his brain, and putting him into a severe coma. Keeping him isolated in a wing of the Herschel Wellness Resort, the doctor invites a group of vacationers for a relaxing stay at the facility. Among them are Peter (John Benedy) and his lover Stella (Mariangela Giordano), dignitary Lyndon (Franco Silva) and his wife Cheryl (Carmen Russo), and the enigmatic David (Paolo Giusti). The five guests bicker and argue with each other for various reasons, and despite the warnings of the facility’s maid (Anna Veneziano), Patrick uses his abilities to bring them to harm. At the same time, he is also psychically connecting with Dr. Herschel’s beautiful secretary Lydia (Andrea Belfiore).
Severin Films brings Patrick Still Lives to Blu-ray in the US for the first time utilizing a 2K scan of the original camera negative. As the opening card informs us, “The following scan of Patrick Still Lives is from the original 16 mm camera negative. There is some discoloration in some scenes due to damage in the element but this will hopefully not mar your enjoyment of this audacious filmic experience.” Most of the presentation is solid with high levels of grain and sharp detail, while other moments are soft with mild flicker due to the aforementioned discoloration. The color palette is otherwise rich with a variety of strong primaries, as well as natural skin tones. Blacks are inherently crushed, mostly in scenes with very low light levels, though naturally deep. Minor speckling and instability are present throughout, though nothing too intrusive.
The audio is included in Italian 2.0 Mono DTS-HD Master Audio with optional English subtitles (selected automatically when viewing the main feature). Minor hiss, crackle, and a couple of small dropouts are present, but dialogue and sound effects offer plenty of fidelity. Dialogue is appropriately canned, but discernible. The score has decent push as well. The overall track is a tad quiet, meaning that a volume adjustment may necessary.
The following extras are also included, both in HD:
- C’est La Vie (11:12)
- Italian Trailer (2:48)
C’est La Vie features a new interview with actor Gianni Dei. In it, he discusses his early career, including his appearances in musical comedy films, the many and varied Italian films that he made, his father’s dismissal of his career choices, that he was more of a dancer than an actor, losing opportunities because of not being able to speak English, how he eventually got involved with Patrick Still Lives, the possibility of a sequel, working with Mario Landi, his decision to quit acting, his music career, and being a happy Sagittarius. The Italian trailer informs us up front that “There’s one thing you need you need to know… this time, Patrick will kill you,” followed by a series of spoiler-filled moments from the film. It’s worth nothing that the 2003 DVD release from Shriek Show/Media Blasters featured additional interview footage with Gianni Dei and producer Gabriele Crisanti, as well as a still gallery, none of which have been carried over. A Limited Edition version of this release was previously available via Severin Films’ website, which featured a collectible slipcover.
For exploitation and Italian horror fans who believe they’ve seen everything, Patrick Still Lives is an eye-opener. It’s wall-to-wall insanity, down to the characters, the death scenes, the heaping amount of nudity, and the insane plot with little to no rationale or resolution. It’s definitely the kind of film that a crowd would benefit from. Severin Films’ Blu-ray release offers a fine presentation of it, perfectly suitable for group viewing.
- Tim Salmons
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