The Sex Killer (1965)

This is the definition of scuzz: Barry Mahon did not put his name on this movie.

Tony works in a mannequin factory and can’t connect with anyone, despite people trying to include him. Instead, he spies on sunbathing women with binoculars until he’s finally motivated enough to murder them, which the stuttery black and white camera of Mahon documents without any viscera, just an oddball not from this dimension detachment.

Of course, once he takes home the heads of one of the mannequins that he’s made, Tony feels a bit better about life. I mean, he’s still a killer and a necrophile. But isn’t it nice that he finally has someone who can understand him?

Made a year before other NYC-based scumtastic murder films like Anton Holden’s Aroused, eight years before Shaun Costello’s Forced Entry and more than a decade ahead of William Lustig’s Maniac — which also has plenty of mannequin-related mania — this movie has no aspirations of being art, yet succeeds in spite of itself. While Mahon can barely focus his camera at times, he somehow made something captivatingly creepy.

The weirdest thing is there’s barely any upsetting violence and no graphic sexual content, but the whole thing feels like the grossest, greasiest, sweatiest nightmare movie. And that, my friends, is the magic of Barry Mahon. You write him off and then he smacks you right in the face with something memorable.

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