Directed by Larry G. Brown [Other horror films: N/A]
Ever since I first heard the plot to this one (from IMDb: A children’s television show host stalks and murders abusive parents), An Eye for an Eye was an obscure flick I rather wanted to see. Finally having done so, I can’t say that much about the movie surprises or amazes me, but it’s a tolerably dreary, pretty somber film, and definitely a product of the 1970’s.
Sometimes known under the title The Psychopath (not to be confused with the 1966 Amicus movie), An Eye for an Eye isn’t a well-known film, which is a bit of a shame, because I think the idea here is a good one. It’s not a great movie, but I definitely appreciate the atmosphere of the film, so it has to get some credit.
The biggest disappointment here are the kills. I guess more specifically, the lack of gore, because some of the kills themselves are decent. However, when a woman gets ran over by a lawnmower, you sort of expect to see something, but no such luck. Another abusive parent got her back massacred by multiple swings of a hatchet, but again, no blood. This isn’t deeply detrimental, especially given the available print (with, for some reason, Greek subtitles) is already rather shoddy, but still, it stuck out to me.
On a positive note, Tom Basham’s performance as the host going after abusive parents was spectacular. Playing a character with some type of developmental disability, he really connected with kids (and often spoke in much the same way), and he had a good heart, and really, his show (which included puppet shows) was probably quite fun for kids. When he finds out that some kids are abused by their parents, he becomes reasonably upset, and goes after them, which I thought was a positive move.
Being a 70’s movie, An Eye for an Eye takes child abuse very seriously, and there’s a scene in which a nurse is showing a detective the impact of abuse that was really pretty touching (as it so happened, Basham’s character was in earshot of this conversation, which spring-boarded his revenge scheme). What’s more, because abuse is cyclical in many cases, the ending of the film goes a very somber, totally 70’s route, which, had the movie been more well-known, would probably come across as controversial.
Unfortunately this movie’s not that well-known, and it seems that those who seek this out tend to do it due to the fact it’s John Ashton’s first movie. Ashton, of course, is best-remembered for his role in the Beverly Hills Cop movies, and somewhat amusingly, though this came out 11 years before the first movie, he looks pretty much the same here (and also does a few things that, as a police officer, should definitely have got him fired), It’s interesting to see him here, but I don’t know if it’s worth seeking out just for his relatively small role.
As decent as aspects of An Eye for an Eye are, it does begin to drag a bit toward the end. There was a scene I enjoyed, in which a father is about to be killed, but then reveals that he’s definitely not okay with child abuse, and so Bashman’s character lets him live (he may have been mentally unstable, but at least he was consistent). Overall, I wouldn’t say the movie is that great, but it is a nice example of the 1970’s style of horror, and if the plot tickles your fancy, there’s no reason not to throw this one more attention.