Who’s That Sleeping in My Head?: “The Reincarnation of Peter Proud” (1975)

       “The Reincarnation of Peter Proud”  (1975)

    What is it about extrasensory activity in movies that makes you want to run the other way? If a character is blessed with precognitive visions, it is an inevitable curse leading to a great reincarnationofpeterproudOSdeal of hand-wringing, near or actual descents into madness and usually a serial killer turning his sights on that gifted/unlucky individual. On the other hand, if it’s visions of past life experiences we’re talking about, what seems like a miracle of the mind cataloging the consciousness of several lifetimes generally indicates that character (and the viewer) will be stuck in several dreary plots within the same cheap B movie. Such is the case with J. Lee Thompson’s 1975 film “The Reincarnation of Peter Proud”, a movie which manages the too frequent accomplishment of making the preternatural mundane and the mundane even more so (“The Serpent and the Rainbow” anyone?).

    Peter Proud (Michael Sarrazin) is a college professor who is having trouble sleeping, or rather it’s what going on while he is sleeping that’s troubling. Recurring visions of a man swimming in a dark lake and meeting with a violent fate are haunting his REM cycles, and after consultations with sleep specialist Dr.reincarnation30 Sam Goodman (Paul Hecht) prove unsatisfactory, Peter-  armed with the rigorous skepticism of an academic  – takes the next logical diagnostic step with a trip to the local occult shop where neither a Satanic mass or the usual oddball movie background extras dissuade him from pursuing an unlikely course of supernatural investigation based solely on reading a book by Edgar Cayce. Thus engaged, the film-  rather than easily conceding to the lure of supernatural horror film excesses briefly popularized in the wake of the success of “The Exorcist” -essentially becomes an earnest detective story with a major disadvantage in that the audience already knows the nature of Peter’s psychic condition; with the very title of the piece being a less than subtle hint.

   To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/nites-at-the-shoppers-world-cinema/

About chandlerswainreviews

I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pauper, a poet, a pawn and a king, not necessarily in that order. My first major movie memory was being at the drive-in at about 1 1/2 yrs. old seeing "Sayonara" so I suppose an interest in film was inevitable. (For those scoring at home- good for you- I wasn't driving that evening, so no need to alert authorities.)Writer, critic and confessed spoiler of women, as I have a tendency to forget to put them back in the refrigerator. My apologies.
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2 Responses to Who’s That Sleeping in My Head?: “The Reincarnation of Peter Proud” (1975)

  1. beetleypete says:

    Despite a lifelong aversion to Michael Sarrazin, (don’t ask why, as I have no explanation other than a rubbery face and lips) I did see this at the cinema. Maybe I was expecting a real twist, I don’t know. As you say, the title has already given away the film, so with no twist, it would be a waste of a couple of hours. But the supposed twist was indeed contrived and lame, and the experience of watching this film turned out to be pointless after all.
    Your review got it 100% right, Chandler.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Yet despite the rubbery face he never seemed very capable of expressing emotion. Too sleepy by far as an actor. Didn’t he always give the impression that he had just awoken from a deep sleep moments before? Or a coma?

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