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It's a Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad Movie

Reader Review

The Hypnotic Eye

Posted by: Joe
Date Submitted: Friday, February 4, 2000 at 23:04:14
Date Posted: Friday, March 31, 2000 at 10:46:05

This has to be one of the funniest whacked out pictures ever made! Not intentionally, of course. It's supposed to be a mystery, but unless you're below the age of five and are still baffled by "Scooby-Doo," you're bound to catch on early. In fact, it takes longer to figure out what's going on than who's responsible!

The film starts out with a woman who sets her hair on fire by sticking her head over a burner on her stove. She stands up and screams, and some very fake-looking "flames" dance upon her head.

Cut to a scene of an ambulance. You know, in case you didn't know that setting your hair on fire is in fact very very bad for you. This gives the film time to announce the title ("THE HYPNOTIC EYE!") and the cast of characters. "Lawrence Lipkin" as "King of the Beatniks." Hmm...isn't 1960 a little late for the beatnik crowd? The ambulance/credits scene reminds one of "The Naked Gun"...remember, though, these guys were trying to be serious!

So our little play gets underway soon enough. A couple of dippy couples -- Steve, Marcia, Dodie, and Philip go to see the renowed Desmond the hypnotist, who is at least township-wide famous, if not county-wide. Desmond does lots of silly party-trick hypnotic acts and seems harmless enough. He calls Dodie to the stage, where he brings out THE HYPNOTIC EYE! We don't see this, though. Instead, we see Dodie fall into a trance, and Desmond whispers in her ear (hmmm), and then some more party tricks. Everyone enjoys the show.

So the wanna-be Scooby gang is heading home, when suddenly Dodie stops and announces that she's not coming along. As in "Hey, we're in the alley behind the theater, and there's really nothing here, but hey guys, I have to go in the opposite direction now. Don't worry, I'll catch a cab home! Bye!" Of course, the gang is completely fooled by Dodie's clever lie. After they leave, we see that what stopped Dodie in her tracks was a picture of -- gasp -- Desmond!

Later, in her apartment, Dodie tries to wash her face with acid or something. And, in case you didn't realize it, WASHING YOUR FACE WITH ACID IS VERY VERY BAD FOR YOU. Of course, she ends up in the hospital. Apparently this must be the "women with bizarre and rather traumatic head wounds" hospital, because this is the same place where they sent the woman with the burned hair, as well as a woman who stuck her face into a fan. Hey! Could something weird be happening? Maybe it has something to do with THE HYPNOTIC EYE?

Well, in this city, it's best not to turn to the police for help. Steve, who's a detective, is just baffled. Philip, who's a doctor, is also baffled. Dodie has no memory of washing her face with acid, or going to see Desmond. And, surprisingly, none of the other women remember mangling themselves, and, no, they didn't go to see Desmond. Even though one of them has a "Desmond" balloon as a momento. See? He's got to be famous if he has merchandising!

Hmm. They all went to see Desmond, the hypnotist. And they all remember nothing. And he's a hypnotist. And they REMEMBER NOTHING. Yup, I'd be baffled, too.

Well to be fair, they do sort of suspect Desmond. So of course, in the tradition of not-yet-invented 1970s TV, they decide to go undercover. Well, Marcia does. At Desmond's next show, she manages to get picked by Desmond and his mean-looking assistant, Justine (the 50-foot woman herself, Allison Hayes! -- not 50-feet tall here).

On stage, Desmond lines her up like he did Dodie, and then produces...dum dum dum...THE HYPNOTIC EYE! Poor Marcia blinks, hovers, then falls into a trance! He whispers in her ear! Oh no!

Now this is the point where we finally get to see THE HYPNOTIC EYE, and, well, it's a strobe light. That's it, just a hand-held strobe light. The great Desmond's entire career is based on a cheap toy from Radio Shack. Is this a master magician? Do you think David whats-his-name-that's-married-to-supermodel walks into the local "Best Buy" at the mall and says "Hey, I'm here to pick up some supplies!"? What other magician's tricks lie on the shelves of Radio Shack? The cheap, knock-off RC cars? The overseas voltage converters?

So Marcia goes home and tells boyfriend Steve and Dr. Philip what happened. Seems that when she blinked and wavered, she almost fell under THE HYPNOTIC EYE'S power but managed to stay strong, then pretended to fall asleep. So she heard what Desmond whispered to her...something about meeting him in his dressing room at some later time. So, of course, she's going to go. Isn't that what the Scooby Gang would do?

Philip says something funny here, which makes no sense at all of course. When Marcia reveals that THE HYPNOTIC EYE is just a strobe light, he declares that it's the most dangerous thing ever in the history of mankind. Well, not that bad, but he seems overly concerned. The others nod, and probably think to themselves, "Geez, Doc Philip has LOST HIS MIND! Better get a new friend, fast!" Then they ignore him.

So brave and plucky Marcia goes to see Desmond. He's off-camera, in another room, and Marcia takes the chance to poke around. There's a box on the desk -- she opens it to find THE HYPNOTIC EYE! This time, she can't resist! Now, for some bizarre reason, Desmond is in the other room saying things like, "You're getting sleepy," and other hypnotic phrases that, luckily, help put the whammy on Marcia. But she's supposed to be under his spell already! Does he just practice these phrases at odd moments? In the dressing room, on the bus, in the library, in the checkout gotta wonder. He comes out, finally, and finds Marcia asleep at the desk. So he tells her to act if she's awake, and she pops up, plucky and brave as ever. So they go out for some dinner and dancing.

It's a good thing Marcia is hypnotized, because Desmond takes her to some by-the-pier dump that no man would take a date if he ever wanted to see her again. Does Desmond take all the girls here?

Hey! Look! It's Lawrence Lipton, the KING OF THE BEATNIKS! He and his bongo drummer beat out a freaky tune, man, some jive about TV or something, you know? Oh man, he's a cube, man, a real flat tire, he's putting us on the train to Squareville! Why is he there? Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe the producers said to themselves, "Hey, we need a way to make this film seem dated before it even comes out!"

Well, after a wild night of dinner, dancing, and mind control, Desmond and his new squeeze return to her apartment. Soon after, Justine shows up! Meaner than ever! Even hypnotized, robo-Marcia is scared! "Stay asleep," Justine commands, and Marcia does so, even though she was hypnotized by Desmond and not Justine. Maybe Justine is just that scary? Possibly.

In a shocking turn of events we find out that it's Justine who wants these girls in the "women with bizarre and rather traumatic head wounds" hospital, because she takes Marcia into the bathroom and cranks the shower up until it's scalding hot and orders her to get in.

Luckily Steve blunders his way into the apartment. Desmond gets the slip, but Justine and Marcia are trapped inside the bathroom.

Hope you're not getting popcorn now, for here cometh the best line in the movie. Justine turns off the shower and commands Marcia to go greet Steve. To cover for herself, she tells Marcia that she is an old roommate who just stopped in. This seemed plausible to me, except for: (A) It's late at night, and (B) Marcia is in a bathrobe.

But quick-witted Steve isn't falling for that. Justine wisely makes a quick exit. When Steve asks who she was, Marcia obediently tells him that it was an old roommate.

"But Marcia, you went to public schools!" he says. Oh, right. What am I thinking? College? For a GIRL? Of course a roommate would be an old boarding school roomate. Girls don't go to college! At least, when you're making a movie about beautiful women being turned into the mindless slaves of an ugly guy, they don't.

Well even Marcia is rattled by Steve's indestructible logic, and she breaks the spell. So now they have solved the mystery! And it only took Steve the near deaths of two of his friends to solve the case! Get this man a medal! Now all they have to do is round up Desmond and Justine.

Of course, having just escaped from the law and having failed to dispose of their victim or properly erase her memory, our criminal couple decide to...put on a show as usual! Nothing can stop the county-famous Desmond! He's got balloons to peddle, you know, and Wednesday is always the hot night at the beatnik-bongo-dockside club.

So Steve and crazy Dr. Philip go to catch Desmond. And for reasons never explained, Marcia is still under Desmond's spell. When Steve looks for her, she's gone, and we see her waiting attentively in the theater (home of Desmond and THE HYPNOTIC EYE).

During the performance, Desmond tries out his tricks on the audience. I guess this was part of the days of gimmicky cinema (like "The Tingler" and other audience-participation films) because Desmond is looking right into the camera, as if he were talking to you and me. He tells us that we can't pull our fingers apart and other silly party tricks. "You cannot! YOU CANNOT!" he tells us, although I could. Just fine, thank you.

Then, again for unexplained reasons, Desmond whips out the trusty EYE. "Look! Look into THE HYPNOTIC EYE!" he says, turning that annoying strobe light towards the camera. Yes...I am getting, that's just eyestrain from the pesky flashing. Apparently a woman in the film audience feels it too, because she screams, and panic breaks out as people flee the minor annoyance that is THE HYPNOTIC EYE!

Things move pretty quickly now. There's a catwalk-level showdown involving our heroes, Desmond, Justine, and the semi-hypnotized Marcia. We discover still more shocking truths about Justine -- she's not just his assistant, she's Mrs. Desmond! (And all this time, he's been cheating on her with semi-awake younger women!) AND, she was horribly disfigured. Now, as we all know from Disney films, having a scar of some sort makes you an evil madman, and this is proven once again by crazy Justine. See, she made Desmond disfigure all of those women so that she could be the most beautiful woman in the world again. Keep in mind that (A) Justine is wearing such excellent makeup that we never know of her disfigurement until the movie's end; (B) she's still billed and recognized as "the beautiful assistant;" and (C) there are still millions of women to go, and Desmond only has one show per night.

Mean old Justine gets what's coming to her, if death was what was coming to her, because, well, that's what she gets. Our heroes save the day and rescue plucky Marcia, who somehow in all this confusion had gotten herself in a precarious position.

So Desmond, you have the power of THE HYPNOTIC EYE, and your wife is telling you to make pretty women hurt themselves? Hey, here's a clue -- next time, show your wife THE HYPNOTIC EYE, and command her to stop bothering you about pretty women!

And so, with that lesson left unlearned, our play comes to an end.

Scenes to watch for: Woman with hair on "fire"; crazy Dr. Phil talks wildly about the incredible dangers of THE HYPNOTIC EYE; and, of course, all of the scenes involving THE HYPNOTIC EYE!

Best line: The roommate stuff. Has to be seen in context to be fully appreciated!

Response From RinkWorks:

Heh. King of the Beatniks.

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