Written by: Michael Den Boer on March 15th, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: Australia, 1978
Director: Richard Franklin
Writer: Everett De Roche
Cast: Susan Penhaligon, Robert Helpmann, Rod Mullinar, Bruce Barry, Julia Blake, Helen Hemingway, María Mercedes, Robert Thompson
BluRay released: March 25th, 2014
Approximate running times: 113 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English, Dolby Digital Mono Spanish
BluRay Release: Severin Films
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.95
Synopsis: Patrick has been in a coma since he murdered his mother and her lover. He becomes infatuated with a Kathy nurse who has recently been assigned to take care of him. Kathy has her own problems a marriage that is on shaky ground. Patrick quickly becomes jealous of any man who shows Kathy attention. How far will Patrick go to prove his live for Kathy?
Patrick was directed by Richard Franklin whose other notable films include Fantasm, Psycho II, Cloak & Dagger and F/X2. Patrick’s score was written by Brian May whose other notable scores include Dark Forces, Mad Max and Thirst. The Italian release of Patrick has an alternate score that was composed by Goblin. Another key collaborator on Patrick was screenwriter Everett De Roche who’s other notable screenplays include Long Weekend, The Day After Halloween and Razorback.
The premise for Patrick while interesting, it is stretched to its limits. The film’s near two hour time length takes some patience. The final act is the strongest section of the film. The film’s pacing drags at times with some scenes retreading ground previously covered in the film. Visually director Richard Franklin does a good job building tension and creating interesting visuals. The acting is well balanced with the most surprising performance coming from Robert Thompson who portrays the comatose Patrick.
The plot also bears some similarities to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and Brian De Palma’s Carrie. Patrick like Norman Bates has a mother complex and he also has telekinetic powers like Carrie. The violence in the film is more in line with a thriller than a horror film. The killings and maiming of characters is not that gory. The film would unintentionally inspire a sequel of sorts the Italian made production titled ‘Patrick Still Lives’. Overall Patrick is an adequate thriller that never lives up to its intriguing premise.
Patrick comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. And for this release brand new HD transfer has been sourced from the film’s original negative. This is another strong upgrade that triumphs all previous transfer for this film. Colors look more vibrant, details have improved clarity, black and contrast levels look very good throughout. There are no issues with compression and DNR is kept in check. Also grain is present in varying degree throughout and it is most pronounced during darker moments.
This release comes with four audio options, a Dolby Digital Mono mix in English, a Dolby Digital mix in French, a Dolby Digital Mono mix in Spanish and a Dolby Digital Mono mix Italian. Once again this is yet another release that is not given a lossless audio option and No English subtitles have been included with this release. Out of the four audio mixes the English language mix is by far and away the strongest. Dialog comes through with crystal clear clarity, everything sound balanced and robust when it needs too. There are some issues with background noise and distortion on the other three audio mixes. It should be noted that the fourth audio mix in Italian features an alternate score that was composed and performed by Goblin.
Extras include a trailer for the film (1 minute 52 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen), T.V. spots, a vintage T.V. interview with director Richard Franklin (20 minutes 25 seconds – 1080 Progressive 1.33:1 aspect ratio), a insightful audio commentary with Richard Franklin and extended interviews with actress Susan Penhaligon, actor Rod Mullinar, director Richard Franklin, screenwriter Everett De Roche and producer Antony Ginnane, from the documentary ‘Not Quite Hollywood’ (61 minutes 6 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen).
The vintage interview with Richard Franklin is essentially a career retrospective that covers all of his films up to Road Games. The audio commentary with Richard Franklin has been carried over from the Synapse Film’s DVD release. Topics discussed in the extended interviews include the cast, the look of the film and Alfred Hitchcock’s influence on the film, the film’s poor distribution outside of Australia and how the cast was re-dubbed for the initial American release, working with Richard Franklin, the origins of the screenplay and the Australian film industry.
Rounding out the extras for this release are two Easter Eggs, a CBS T.V. promo spot a trailer for Patrick Still Lives! Both of these extras can be found on the extras menu. Also included with this combo release is a DVD that contains the same contents that is present on the BluRay counterpart. Overall Severin Films gives Patrick its best home video release to date.