The Psychotronic Man
|The Psychotronic Man|
|Directed by||Jack M. Sell|
|Produced by||Peter G. Spelson|
|Written by||Peter G. Spelson|
|Starring||Peter G. Spelson|
|Music by||Tommy Irons|
|Cinematography||Jack M. Sell|
|Edited by||Jack M. Sell|
|Distributed by||International Harmony (US)|
|April 23, 1980|
The Psychotronic Man is a low budget science fiction cult film that opened in Chicago April 23, 1980 at the Carnegie Theatre. It was directed by Jack M. Sell and written, produced and starred Peter G. Spelson.
It is based on the obscure concept of psychotronics, which gained some prominence in the 1970s due to Cold War paranoia over mind control. The film inspired Michael J. Weldon to publish Psychotronic Video magazine, covering obscure films that he felt were under-appreciated by the mainstream.
Rocky Foscoe is a barber living a fairly normal life, until one night he has a nightmare about a car hovering in mid-air. Rocky is filled with psychic energy, which explodes out, killing first an old man, then later his doctor. Police working the homicide cases consult a professor at the Chicago Institute of Psychology, who explains his theory that the killer has somehow tapped the latent power of his subconscious mind, which he refers to as "psychotronic energy". In addition to the police, there's also a government agent who intends to try and capture the Psychotronic Man alive to exploit him.
It was one of the few feature films to be shot entirely in Chicago since the days of the silent movie. It was also entirely produced outside any of the existing studio systems and financed by private funds. At the time Chicago’s mayor Richard J. Daley actively discouraged movie making because he felt the movies that were being made at that time period were mostly negative and rebellious, and he wanted Chicago to be seen in a good light. As a result of this there were almost no permits issued to get scenes filmed. According to Peter Spelson's DVD commentary, this meant that all of the scenes including the downtown running gun battles and the high speed car chases with fake police cars were filmed illegally and without permission or prior notification.
The film only played commercially once in Chicago, and was shown in the southern Drive-in theater circuit. In Europe, pirated copies of the film, often under different names, proliferated. One version of this went on to inspire the name of UK punk/hardcore band Revenge of the Psychotronic Man
The Psychotronic Man
- Peter Spelson - Rocky Foscoe
- Christopher Carbis - Lt. Walter O'Brien
- Curt Colbert - Sgt. Chuck Jackson
- Robin Newton - Kathy
- Jeff Caliendo - Officer Maloney
- Lindsey Novak - Mrs. Foscoe
- Irwin Lewin - Professor
- Corney Morgan - S.I.A. Agent Gorman
- Bob McDonald - Old Man
- Direction - Jack M. Sell
- Producer - Peter Spelson
- Music - Tommy Irons
- Cinematography - Jack M. Sell
- Editing - Jack M. Sell
- Art Direction - Fred Becht