Director: Gorman Bechard
Media Blasters/Shriek Show

Shot on a minuscule budget over the course of a few weekends, Gorman Bechard’s PSYCHOS IN LOVE is at its heart a romantic comedy, albeit one framed within the confines of a slasher film. Written by Bechard and lead actor Carmine Capobianco, who also provides the film's soundtrack, PSYCHOS IN LOVE has through the years proven itself to have a small but loyal fan base of which will find much to be thankful for, as Media Blasters, through its Shriek Show label, has answered every one of their prayers with an extras heavy disc that brings the rather sweet, if not twisted tale of love back into the homes of America.

Joe (Carmine Capobianco, GALACTIC GIGOLO) hates grapes. He can't stand grapes. In fact, he loathes grapes! All kinds of grapes. He hates purple grapes, green grapes, grapes with seeds and grapes without seeds! He hates them peeled and non-peeled. He hates them in bunches, one at a time, or in groups of twos and threes. He REALLY hates grapes. Joe also happens to be a psychotic killer with a fondness for chopping up his female victims into little pieces, which he later likes to play with. Kate (Debi Thibeault, CEMETERY HIGH) is an attractive manicurist prone to killing any male suitor foolish enough to get close to her. She also REALLY hates grapes. After a chance encounter at Joe’s bar, the two psychopaths hit if off and a whirlwind romance ensues. Nurturing and supporting each other's extracurricular activities, the lovebirds continue to kill people, separately at first, but the monotony of slashing eventually leads them to try killing as a couple, only to discover that they have lost the taste for murder all together. Content in living a life of sobriety, the pair vow to retire their knifes and settle down, however a cannibalistic plumber, hired to unclog Joe's drain of several severed phalanges, finds himself with a potential “all you can eat” buffet, if he can only convince the couple into coming out of retirement.

There’s really not much of a plot to PSYCHOS IN LOVE but there is a lot to enjoy. The film's humor hits most of its marks, never taking itself too seriously, however several running gags, such as the grape monologue, quickly wear out their welcome. The lead actor's self awareness, that they are characters in a low budget slasher picture, also tends to cause more confusion than it does laughter. Unlike the late 1980s sitcom, “It's Garry Shandling's Show”, in which it was clear from the opening credits that Garry and his co-stars where aware of their fabricated surroundings, PSYCHOS' approach is far less clear, with numerous black & white interviews lending more of faux-documentary feel. The cannibal plumber subplot, which set ups the potential of a bloody confrontation, also proves to be far from climatic but that being said, the majority of the film's setups are rewarding, such as the couple's numerous attempts to off Joe’s single employee, a stripper who turns out to be harder to kill than Jason Voorhees. A gag in which Joe kicks out the front window of his car, so as to have a clear, unobstructed view while on a date at a drive-in, is also a memorable.

The relationship between Joe and Kate is actually quite charming once you get past the homicidal killings, with Debi Thibeault particularly endearing and quite pleasant on the eyes to boot. Carmine and Debi play off one another well, with their interactions as a couple refreshingly playful and realistic, save of course for the stabbing people part. Both Carmine and Debi would work with Gorman again, as would one time Penthouse Pet Angela Nicholas, LeeAnne Baker (NECROPOLIS) and Ruth Collins (DOOM ASYLUM) in varying Empire Pictures productions. According to the director’s commentary track (found on this release) once completed, PSYCHOS was shopped around to the usual markets before eventually finding a home at Charles Band’s Empire Pictures. Seeing potential, Band signed Bechard to a four picture deal, resulting in several films (GALATIC GIGALO, CEMETARY HIGH) that the director has since completely disowned.

Released on VHS through Wizard Video in the late 1980s, PSYCHOS IN LOVE had a limited DVD run out of Germany in 2005. Media Blasters has however rendered all previous home viewing incarnations incomplete, with a release that is flush with extras. Transferred from the film's original negative, PSYCHOS is presented in its original 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio. Light on grain, picture quality is noticeably clean save for a few instance of wear and tear, predominately during the black and white camera interviews. It’s a safe bet that PSYCHOS has never looked better, as when compared to the film's original trailer, accessible in this release's supplementary features, the improvements in coloring and detail are nothing short of impressive. Likewise, audio is clear with discernable dialogue, as is the synthesized soundtrack by lead actor Carmine Capobianco. While often ear piercing, although I believe it was meant to be, the soundtrack's standout is hands down the PSYCHOS love theme, sung by Carmine and co-star Debi Thibeault, which while flat out ridiculous, I have to admit I caught myself humming the tune days after viewing.

Two commentary tracks, the first a solo effort with director Gorman Bechard and the second with Bechard and lead Carmine Capobianco, kick of an abundance of extras. Both commentary tracks are an easy listen, with the first providing more insight into Gorman’s relationship with Charles Band, for which there is no love lost. Gorman also offers a fair amount of advice to aspiring independent filmmakers, particularly his insistence in always retaining the rights to the final cut of your film. Ownership was a luxury not provided to him on GALATIC GIGALO and CEMETARY HIGH, which was originally titled ASSUALT OF THE KILLER BIMBOS before Mr. Band decided to reallocate the title to another film he was producing. The second commentary track is much more jovial in nature with Carmine and Gorman catching up and reminiscing about old times, as well as the numerous actresses which crossed their paths.

The film's original trailer is included alongside the alternate opening credits that were tacked on for its home video release through Wizard. “Making PSYCHOS IN LOVE” is a 13-minute, behind-the-scenes featurette, shot on location. It captures most of the film's keys players joking around between shots, inter-cut with clips from the film. The quality of this feature is poor but much like the trailer, provides contrast to the improvements made to the feature itself. Presented with a photo slideshow and close to 10 minutes of extended scenes is a 13 minute highlight reel of the final performance of PSYCHOS IN LOVE: The Stageplay, adapted by Rob Matsushita and performed at Stuart Gordan’s experimental Broom Street Theater in Madison, Wisconsin. Three of Gorman Bechard’s short films, BARTHOLOMEW THE STRANGLER, THE ONLY TAKE and OBJECTS IN THE MIRROR ARE FURTHER THAN THEY APPEAR, trailers for two recent endeavors, YOU ARE ALONE and FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS as well as promo for his novel Unwound, keep the supplements rolling, showcasing several sides to the director, as well as highlighting his tendency for writing/filming actresses of a certain natural body type, nude in the bathroom. An inclination I fully support! Trailers for LOVE ME DEADLY, THE DARK RIDE (aka KILLER’S DELIGHT), THE CHILLING and ONE DARK NIGHT, all currently available from Shriek Show, wrap up a jam (not grape) packed release that is sure to delight devoted fans and absolutely thrill to those with an aversion to grapes. (Jason McElreath)