Horror films are frequently said to have deeper subconscious meanings that go beyond what we see on the screen. Those meanings are frequently claimed to be sexual in nature. And then there are films like LADY PSYCHO KILLER that are pretty blatant about their messages.
Ella (Kate Daly) is a shy, studious and virginal college freshman raised by an overprotective single mother. When her psych professor (Michael Madsen RED HANDED, ANGELS FALLEN) gives the class an assignment to break a sexual norm she takes this as a sign to lose her virginity. However, she is still deeply conflicted and ends up murdering the men who show an interest in her. The fact that they tend to be assholes probably doesn’t help the situation. Then she meets Daniel (Dennis Andres, A WAKEFIELD PROJECT, DEFECTIVE) who seems to be an actual nice guy.
A very dark comedy with a fairly in your face feminist message LADY PSYCHO KILLER could easily have been a boring, preachy misfire. Thankfully it carries itself well, never letting itself become heavy-handed in its message or trying to make its lead into something she isn’t. Indeed, her always perky sounding voice overs are one of the film’s highlights. They’re a wonderful parody of those in teen dramas and comedies. In a way LADY PSYCHO KILLER is like them. Only for Ella solving her issues involves agonizing over who to kill, not who to date.
The two leads are both excellent. Surprisingly LADY PSYCHO KILLER is Daly’s only credit. Andres was also impressive in another film I recently reviewed DEFECTIVE. Amusing cameos by Ron Jeremy (THE BOONDOCK SAINTS, WEREWOLVES IN HEAT) as a scumbag strip club owner, Bianca Beauchamp as a stripper and Malcolm McDowell (A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, TIME AFTER TIME, CORBIN NASH) as a pervy neighbour all add to the fun.
The kills are just bloody enough to remind you this is at least partly a horror film without going into gore territory. They’re implied to be nasty but it’s not dwelt on, which fits the mood of LADY PSYCHO KILLER quite well. And that sums its strongest point up nicely. All the elements, the horror, comedy, mother-daughter drama, and coming of age story all are present enough to suit the film’s plot without being overbearing. It all just works. Director Nathan Oliver and his co-writer Albert I Melamed pulled off a difficult task and should be proud of themselves.
LADY PSYCHO KILLER is currently in release from Parade Deck Films.