Patrick (1978 film)

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File:Patrick (film).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Richard Franklin
Produced by
Written by Everett De Roche
Music by Brian May
Cinematography Donald McAlpine
Edited by Edward McQueen-Mason
Distributed by Filmways
Release dates
  • 1 October 1978 (1978-10-01) (Australia)
  • 9 May 1979 (1979-05-09) (France)
Running time
110 minutes[1]
Country Australia
Language English
Budget $400,000[2]

Patrick is a 1978 Australian horror film directed by Richard Franklin and written by Everett De Roche. The film is notable for popularising Ozploitation films in other territories.[3] A remake, Patrick, was released in 2013.


Patrick lies in a coma in a Melbourne private hospital. He had murdered his mother and her lover three years ago by electrocuting them in the bath. Patrick, who has psychokinetic powers, falls in love with Kathy, the new nurse at the hospital, communicating with her via an electric typewriter. Patrick also uses his psychokinetic powers to control the men in Kathy's life and to defend himself against the hospital's bitter Matron Cassidy who plots to murder him.[4]



This was the second script Everett de Roche had ever written, following Long Weekend (1978). It had been around for a number of years before director Richard Franklin became attached. The two men had both worked for Crawford Productions although not together until then. De Roche says when Franklin became involved the script was "a rambling 250 pages" and Franklin taught him the elements of drama and suspense. He says the final scene of Patrick leaping out of his bed was inspired by trip to a carnival Franklin had made where a man in a gorilla suit burst out into the audience, causing everyone to scream. They then started working backwards from this scene.[5]

Franklin brought in Antony I. Ginnane who raised finance. The Australian Film Commission and Victorian Film Corporation contributed about half the budget, with the rest obtained privately. Ginnane later said he thought De Roche's script was one of the best ever written in Australia.[6]

Judy Morris was origingally announced as star.[7] However British film actor Susan Penhaligon was imported to play the lead, which Ginnane thought helped secure the film a sale in Britain.[8]

Richard Franklin later recalled:

I'd done Eskimo Nell in the Australian idiom, and... my [American] friends didn't understand it. So I thought, well, I'll go to the other extreme and have everybody speaking Queen's English. And so I had everybody doing, not so much English accents as just speaking Queen's English.[9]

Robert Helpmann broke his back during filming trying to lift up Robert Thompson in one scene.[9]


The musical score for Patrick was composed and conducted by Australian composer Brian May, who previously composed the music for Franklin's The True Story of Eskimo Nell. In Italy, the film was re-scored by progressive rock band Goblin.[10][11]


The film was considered a disappointment at the Australian box office but was highly successful internationally, selling to over 30 countries and performing well in the US.[2][8] The film currently holds a 50% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Encyclopedia of Fantasy notes the similarity between the film's plot and that of the novel Tetrasomy Two by Oscar Rossiter (nom de plume of Dr. Vernon H.Skeels (1918-2007) ).[12]

Franklin says he would refer to this film as "my first film. Even though there were one and a half films before it."[9] However, he was unhappy with the American release of the film which was re-dubbed into American accents and recut.[13]

Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino is a fan and borrowed from Patrick for a scene in Kill Bill where the bride is in her coma and spits on the orderly, mimicking Patrick. He relates the story in Mark Hartley's documentary Not Quite Hollywood.


Award Category Subject Result
(1978 Australian Film Institute Awards)
Best Film Richard Franklin Nominated
Antony I. Ginnane Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Everett De Roche Nominated
Best Editing Edward McQueen-Mason Nominated
Sitges Fantasy Film Festival Prize[14] Best Director Richard Franklin Won



In 1980, an unauthorized sequel entitled Patrick vive ancora (released in English as Patrick Still Lives and Patrick Is Still Alive).[15] The film followed a young boy named Patrick that was sent into a coma after a roadside accident. The film was billed as and is sometimes referred to as a direct sequel to the events of the 1978 film, but aside from the name and premise of a comatose person with psychic powers, the sequel is unrelated to the earlier film.


In February 2010, director Mark Hartley announced his intent to direct a remake of the 1978 film.[16] The film, Patrick, was released on July 27, 2013 at the Melbourne International Film Festival and stars Jackson Gallagher as the titular Patrick. The film received positive reviews.

See also


  1. "PATRICK (X)". British Board of Film Classification. 28 December 1978. Retrieved 3 March 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Profit, praise for "Patrick"". The Australian Women's Weekly. National Library of Australia. 5 July 1978. p. 15. Retrieved 23 September 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Video Overview Patrick (1978) on ASO". Australian Screen Online. National Film and Sound Archive. Archived from the original on 7 April 2015. Retrieved 21 May 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Murray, Scott (1994). Australian Cinema. St.Leonards, NSW.: Allen & Unwin/AFC. p. 282. ISBN 1-86373-311-6. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. An Interview with Everett de Roche, Spectacular Optical, 1 June 2012 accessed 19 October 2012
  6. Beilby, Peter and Scott Murray, ‘Antony I. Ginnane’, Cinema Papers, January/February 1979 p178-179
  7. "WHO'S DOING WHAT". Filmnews. 7, (3). New South Wales, Australia. 1 April 1977. p. 14. Retrieved 28 May 2016 – via National Library of Australia.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 8.0 8.1 David Stratton, The Last New Wave: The Australian Film Revival, Angus & Robertson, 1980 p251-252
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Interview with Richard Franklin, Mondo Stump, originally published in Eros Magazine Vol 3 No 1 (2003), Canberra accessed 15 October 2012
  10. McFarlane, Dean. "Patrick - Goblin". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 21 May 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Twells, John (30 October 2013). "A Beginner's Guide to Italian Horror Trailblazers Goblin". Fact. p. 6. Archived from the original on 21 May 2015. Retrieved 21 May 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "'Like "Tetrasomy Two", Skeels was a true original '".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Scott Murray, "Richard Franklin: Director/Producer", Senses of Cinema, 12 July 2008 accessed 26 October 2012
  14. Awards for Patrick on IMDb
  15. "Patrick vive ancora". IMDb. Retrieved 11 June 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "'Not Quite Hollywood' Director to Remake Aussie Thriller 'Patrick'".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links