Italian schlock cinema’s tradition of producing bogus sequels to Hollywood hits went beyond the likes of Star Wars (1977), Dawn of the Dead (1979) and First Blood (1982) to include obscure efforts. One year before teaming up on the notorious trash zombie effort Burial Ground a.k.a. The Nights of Terror, producer Gabrielle Cristani, screenwriter Piero Regnoli and co-star Mariangela Giordano were involved in this phoney sequel to the Australian horror film Patrick (1978), which was itself a cash-in on Carrie (1976).
After being hit by a bottle thrown from a speeding van, Patrick Herschel (Euro-pop star Gianni Dei) lies comatose in a special ward at the exclusive country clinic run by his father, Professor Herschel (Sacha Pitoeff, slumming it after working with Alain Resnais and Dario Argento). Fuelled by the lifeforce drawn from fellow comatose patients, Patrick uses his newfound powers to wreak telekinetic vengeance upon a group of newly arrived guests, one of whom may be responsible for his present condition. These men and women all lead shady lives including handsome playboy David Davis (Paolo Giusti), corrupt politician Lyndon Kraft (Franco Silva), his sexpot wife Cheryl (Carmen Russo, busty star of The Porno Killers (1980)), equally wanton Stella Suniak (Maria Angela Giordano) and her macho moustachioed lover Peter Suniak (John Benedy). Against his father’s wishes, Patrick harbours altogether more amorous intentions towards lovely secretary Lydia Grant (Anna Veneziano).
Mario Landi had a fairly respectable background helming literary adaptations, including the popular Maigret detective series, but somehow wound up closing his career with two seriously nasty horror movies. Sporting a coattail-riding premise and sub-Tubular Bells theme music, Patrick Vive Ancora is derivative all the way but found a special place in the hearts of Italian trash fans who like their horror served with a double dose of sleaze. In the tradition of Devil’s Nightmare (1971) and Play Motel (1979), the pitiful plot traps coarse characters in one place so seedy shenanigans can ensue. The women are largely slutty (fan favourites Russo and Giordano give the audience an eyeful every five minutes and have a hilarious catfight while Pitoeff nonchalantly eats breakfast) while the men (who in the interest of fairness go full-frontal or else parade in skimpy speedos too) are mucho macho types given to slapping the shrill ladies silly (“Hysterical women make me nervous”, growls David).
Only beautiful blonde Anna Veneziano plays a character with any decency about her, though her exhibitionist turn is certainly diverting. She winds up psychically summoned to Patrick’s bedside and hypnotized into fondling her naked body, masturbating against the bedpost and couch as part of a steamy sex show. All the while engulfed in eerie green lights and sci-fi Theremin sounds. Such delirious nonsense compensates for occasional slapdash episodes that require characters stand goggle-eyed before Patrick’s spooky floating eyeballs rather than run away. The special effects are sparse but effective leaving the grand guignol murders suitably unsettling. Victims are boiled alive, gouged on a meat hook, decapitated by car window and in, the film’s most notorious set-piece, Mariangela Giordano’s character is raped then skewered by a telekinetically animated iron poker that finally emerges from her mouth! Landi spares no anatomical detail resulting in a queasy, really nauseating sequence. Giordano, producer Cristani’s girlfriend at the time, was perpetually abused throughout Italian horror cinema, having her breast bitten off in Burial Ground or legs sliced to bits in Landi’s Giallo a Venezia (1979). She deserves a degree of admiration for her willingness to sacrifice all in the service of exploitation cinema, and later admitted to investing all her pent-up rage towards Cristani into her onscreen cat-fight.