The Psychic

The Psychic

"This thing's becoming an obsession, darling. Get it out of your mind."

While driving alone to her new husband's Tuscan estate, Virginia Ducci (Jennifer O'Neill) experiences a series of psychic visions. A streak of red light... a yellow taxi...  a broken mirror... a dead old woman whose face is streaked in blood... a mysterious hole in a bedroom wall. When she finally arrives at the villa, she starts to recognize objects from her visions, but everything is slightly different than she remembers. Seeing that the spot in the bedroom wall from her vision is intact, she takes a pick axe to it and discovers a body entombed behind the bricks – the body of her husband's previous lover. Virginia struggles to remember the details of her vision, to find out how the woman died, and to clear her husband's name. But were her visions echoes of past events... or predictions of things to come?

Lucio Fulci really came up with a brilliant conceit for this film: he dumps all the puzzle pieces on the table right at the beginning of the film and then proceeds to put them together – though they may not form the picture you thought they would.  The Psychic (often known by its more apt and poetic Italian title, Sette Note In Nero) is an underrated Fulci gem, often overshadowed by his more sensationalist films, The Beyond and Don't Torture a Duckling.  The film is slow-paced and devoid of any sexuality, but Fulci is more focused on atmosphere, storytelling, and a few mild moments of bloodshed.

  • The stories of Edgar Allan Poe have always been a touchstone of giallo films and here, Fulci borrows from "The Cask of Amantillado"
  • Some of the music from The Psychic was used in Kill Bill Vol. 1.
  • Fulci's style is rooted in Gothic horror, but I can't help but think that he picked up a few tricks from the more modernist Dario Argento. Argento-esque elements include the use of forensic science in the investigation, paranormal plot elements, and Argento's signature "walking slowly through an abandoned house" scene.
  • The ending of the movie is left ambiguous, but I'm calling it an "attempted murder" for the purposes of the body count, above.
  • Planning the shooting of this movie must have been tricky, because objects and events change throughout the film. For example, a mirror first appears broken in a vision, then later, intact in real life. They would have had to shoot things out of order in a very specific way to get all the shots they needed.

What the Hell Am I Watching?

 Take a drink every time there's a camera zoom. Two if it's into someone's eyes

The opening scene is the most gruesome in the movie, showing Virginia's mother throwing herself off a cliff, with the rock cutting up her face as she falls.  This opening scene of The Psychic uses the same effect as the final scene of Fulci's Don't Torture a Duckling.

Fashion Moment

At the time this movie was made there was a big 1920's fashion trend, with pinstripes, fedora hats, and fitted womens' suits.  You work that gangster look, Charlie Girl.

Also, check out her two-toned Rolls Royce. That ride would make Jay Gatsby envious.

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