In the final days of the Vietnam War, a military psychiatrist, Col. Kane, takes charge of an experimental army mental hospital situated in a secluded castle. Among his many eccentric patients is Capt. Cutshaw, a troubled astronaut in the midst of an existential crisis.
AKA Twinkle, Twinkle, “Killer” Kane—William Peter Blatty’s psychological dramedy may have always been overshadowed by the success of the Exorcist but has, over time, received its due. Disarming, disturbing and divisive, critical reevaluation rightfully posits the film as a cult classic.
A movie that, for its entire running time, stands at the precipice of disaster - using an American Gothic asylum and repressed memory as a modern allegory for Christian sacrifice & lost faith, with a fair interjection of laugh-out-loud humor, whiplash dialogue and biker drag. Blatty not only makes it work - but makes it a deeply moving, visionary experience. Hidden here is one of the best Christian films ever made.
Like Blatty's Exorcist III, it's a film that defies categorisation. Witty banter delivered in screwball fashion clashes against lengthy dialogues on morality& culpability; traces of Bergman-like self-seriousness jar against moments of supernatural violence. Glam-rock motorcycle gangs, Vietnam War atrocity, Robert Loggia in blackface doing "Mammy" & a crucified Christ on the moon speak to the film's singular insanity.
A multilayered film about faith, religion, redemption, sacrifice, insanity, and so many other things - it's quite surprising that all this works together and the overall impression is strong, so is the cast supported by a moody location. In some aspects the film has not aged well, on the other hand the film is a statement of its day. For some reason MUBI decided to serve us the awful TV version, 4:3 aspect ratio...
Where is the intersection between PTSD and Christianity? This is an odd war film, perhaps more psychological than any other one that emerged from the period. The US involvement in the war is viewed as essentially the battle for man's soul after the atrocities committed. Dense, strange, I went in expecting 'The Exorcist' and got 'Shutter Island' by way of Beckett. A little too long in the dark, I must revisit.
I kept waiting for whatever it was that made me love this so much 20 something years ago... All I found was the affected weirdness of some high school drama club and an overly literal messianic treatment of issues of faith and redemption. Certainly it must've made waves in the mainstream for its genre-meld and overwrought whimsy... Not much in it for me today. 2.5
Blatty will always be best known for writing 'The Exorcist' but this is his far more ambitious project. The film is a flawed but fascinating work that touches on the meaning of faith, psychosis and sacrifice in its tale of a makeshift madhouse. The lead turns by Keach and Wilson are quite good as is supporting turns by Ed Flanders and Neville Brand. Chock full of quotable dialogue and a barroom brawl for the ages.
An utterly bizarre film with so much to say. Bursting with fantastic images and ideas. It's a clear influence on a certain Scorcese film but to say which one would give away something in the film. Particularly great is Jason Miller, who played Father Karras in The Exorcist. Thematically an infinitely better follow up to The Exorcist than the infamous sequel The Heretic.