Sunday, 13 April 2008

A Patrick question

Earlier this week I watched the Richard Franklin telekinetic killer in a coma film Patrick. I knew little about it other than that it had spawned an unofficial and considerably grubbier Italian sequel, Patrick Lives Again; that the latter film is so sleazy is hardly surprising when you remember that it's from the Crisanti/Bianchi team.

The biggest surprise for me about Franklin's film was its music, in that I was expecting to hear Goblin but instead got Australian soundtrack composer Brian May (i.e. not the Queen guitarist). I'd forgotten that Goblin's was an alternative score.

Which brings me on to the question/topic: In his book Nightmare Movies Kim Newman mentions Patrick and Patrick Lives Again as an example of the spin-off/rip-off mentality in Italian popular cinema of the time, suggesting that what they show was that a film didn't need to be particularly successful at the box-office to spawn an Italian imitation.

While I agree with Newman's point in the main, I'm wondering how successful Patrick was in Italy specifically (whether the Goblin score boosted its prospects/signalled its relative importance; perhaps a kind of inversion of the treatment the likes of Rustichelli's scores for Bava received in the US, where they were habitually replaced by the more marketable/audience appealing Les Baxter) and the importance of local conditions.

Was Patrick Lives Again really one of those nationally specific sequels, never particularly expected to receive distribution internationally or in English-speaking territories specifically?

I'm also thinking here of the likes of Faces of Death, purportedly a bigger success than Star Wars in Japan on their initial releases; or of the substrata of spaghetti westerns that never circulated in the US or UK; or of the relative box-office success of Dawn of the Dead in different markets and the relative delay in releasing it in the US against Italy, with the question of whether the international prospects for Zombi 2 were really known at the time it was put into production compared to the domestic ones.

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