The Medusa Touch (1978)
French detective, Brunel (Lino Ventura), is participating in an exchange programme in London when he is charged with investigating the murder of obnoxious novelist John Morlar (God only knows what’s going on in France for some unsuspecting Brit copper, probably some paperwork and sightseeing. Can’t help but think someone got the rubbish end of the stick here somewhere along this line). While conducting an initial investigation of the crime scene, somewhat surprisingly for all concerned, it becomes apparent that Morlar is still alive; despite the horrific injuries he has incurred and wisely he is rushed to hospital.
Brunel then sets about to investigate the not murder of Morlar primarily by attempting to reconstruct his life with the aid of journals and the man’s psychiatrist, Dr. Zonfeld (Lee Remick). These prove to be incredibly rich resources and soon we see the life of the mysterious Morlar taking shape through the versatile medium of the flashback.
Turns out Morlar is actually powerfully telekinetic couple that with the fact he also hates everything and everyone ever and I think you can see where this is going and that we’re all in trouble. Flashback shows us his life is riddled with unexplained catastrophes, including the tragic deaths of people he took a dislike to or who offended him in some indiscriminate way.
John Morlar proclaims himself to have “a ‘gift’ for disaster” and indeed he has, his catalogue of psychic misadventures is impressive to say the least; baby Johnny gave his nanny a fatal bout of measles (measles?! Ok, so it was an early attempt, but measles, John? Really?), he gets his rubbish parents mown down by their own car and he sets light to his school. Later, as an adult, he stares an unfair judge to death and crashes the car of his cheating wife and her lover. But the icing on the insanity pie for me is John willing his neighbour’s wife to jump to her death from a window purely because she was making too much noise and he was trying to work. Genius. This particular exhibition of badness especially appeals to me at the moment as I am currently engaged in a battle of wills my upstairs neighbour who insists on repeatedly playing bursts of nauseating and soul crushing dance music at ridiculous hours. He also laughs like a maniacal girl incessantly (which is frankly creepy) and has screaming matches with his shrill girlfriend while both, apparently, march about in hobnail boots rattling furniture and practicing the blocking for the Pirates of fucking Penzance. They probably also bully puppies, I have no proof of this; I just know it in my heart. I should probably also mention at this point that my other current battles of will include; birds singing in the morning, bikes, Jamie Oliver, the colour beige and my arch nemesis fauns (you’d be surprised how often these beggars come up, they get everywhere, everywhere I tell you).
Even better than that, despite despising the world and having an all round distaste for humanity in general it is, in fact, that abject misanthropy itself that ultimately appears to be keeping him alive. So great is his stubbornness and so all consuming is his wrath that he won’t even concede to death and instead sustains his life through sheer force of will and a certain obstinacy of nature.
John Morlar’s psychic body count is probably close to record breaking, (I’d need to check this with Norris McWhirter, but I’d bet it’s up there). He takes down a plane, a ruddy spacecraft in space and from his sick bed still finds time to crash down a cathedral. That’s gumption! And what’s he do for encore? Only sets his cantankerous sights on a nuclear power station! Someone did not get enough hugs as a child.
You’re a very naughty boy, John Morlar, you misanthropic, grumpy little apocalyptic warlord, you, I salute you, but suggest maybe you should have just got a kitten, kittens make everyone happier.
See, John, see?