Saturday, September 26

Blind Faith (1989)

Directed by Dean Wilson
86 Minutes / AEC Video (American Entertainment Co.) / 1.33:1 Full Frame

IMDB synopsis, presumably by the writer/director himself: Based upon the true story of Philadelphia sex killer Gary Heidnik, BLIND FAITH follows the investigation of his grisly crimes through the eyes of Detective Will Lindsay (Erik Gunn) and criminal psychologist Richard Stroud (Kevin Yon). The movie focuses upon police interviews with escaped victim Sandy (Lynne Browne), the killer's mentally handicapped accomplice Cole (Kirk Swenk) and ultimately, the killer himself, Ted Partridge (David Winick).

Gary Heidnik / David Winick as Ted Partridge

That is essentially this shot-on-video feature in a tidy nutshell. I assume due to budgetary reasons, the majority of the runtime is spent with these three interviews, but "devil is in the details." Both the detective and psychologist have problems at home. Lindsay (whose name is one of Heidnik's victims) has a nymphomaniac for a wife who he can't control and the alcoholic Stroud has an unruly daughter. As the feature unfolds, especially in the interview with Partridge, this eats at detective Lindsay as details of the killer's hatred towards women comes to light. He begins to identify with Partridge and this sickly feeling ultimately leads him to where the bodies are hidden.

interrogating Cole

Sandy, the only victim Partridge might have let go instead of escaping, may not be wholly innocent. She gives hints of being forced or even willingly killing with her captor. Both Sandy and partner Cole state Partridge had a certain power over them (partly influenced by his wealth) as with the others under a "church" he constructed with him as their deity.

Reading over the abhorrent true story of Gary Heidnik, Wilson's film seems to stick close to the case with certain changes (like having an accomplice) probably made so as not to be sued by the families involved. Interestingly, the film was produced the same year the murderer was convicted and sentenced to death. Partridge isn't either of these things yet with the cops still trying to piece the entire picture together.

The acting across the board is to an unusually high standard for an '80s SOV horror effort (no idea why the IMDB lists this as "Action"). Literally everyone sells their role with conviction and nary even say a single line that sounds "off" or delves into soap histrionics. Gunn and Winick are especially impressive as they butt heads at the end of Partridge's questioning. There are convincing flashes of the graphic violence wrought upon the kidnapped women including stabbings, shootings, and slashings. Wilson's direction isn't flashy and likes framing faces so they fill the screen during dialogue deliveries. It looks like after this film Wilson become a property master for a slew of films and television productions. Sad, actually.

I don't want to sound like I'm purposely propping up this very obscure flick just to "rub it in", but Blind Faith is surprisingly great and far more deserving than a mere 3.6 over at the IMDB. If you ever find a copy, snag it without hesitation. The combination of the quality acting, direction, and true life ties for being a late '80s SOV feature is pretty incredible.

VHS Picture: 6/10
VHS Sound: 6/10


Anonymous said...

Hey guys
I happened to come upon this review. I played Ted Partridge in Blind Faith.
Very much appreciated the nod to the acting. I haven't seen the film in years but have good memories of the shoot.

-David Winick

Anonymous said...

Where did you find this movie? I haven't seen it in 20 years and I have been looking everywhere for it. If you know where copies are available, please post a link.

Randy-South Carolina said...

A bunch of us were at The Univerity of South Carolina in the early 90's and loved our horror. We came across this at a video store in Columbus and were really creeped. Really good acting and the video made it look too real. If anyone can find a copy, please post. Will's girl is HOT. you dare tread upon the staircase?

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