The Pyx (1973)

I found this Quebec-made film on a $5 15-film Horror DVD collection sold by Walmart. It totally caught me by surprise, blending crime drama with occult/supernatural elements. Karen Black plays heroin-addicted call girl Elizabeth Lucy, found dead in the opening moments of the film.  Christopher Plummer is detective Sgt. Jim Henderson investigating and unraveling the death of the prostitute. The film jumps around a bit from flashback events leading up to Lucy’s death, juxtaposed against Henderson’s investigation. It’s a taut, intelligent and well-acted film that sans a score for creepy Gregorian-type chants and Karen Black singing similar to Joan Baez in various minstrel songs.

Plummer has now made nearly 200 films. It’s hard to believe he transitioned from his role as Captain Von Trapp (The Sound of Music, 1965) to this gritty urban thriller.  I barely recognized him in the role. Karen Black is especially believable as a prostitute doubting her Catholic upbringing.  The Pyx is an unusual thriller. Fans of Rosemary’s Baby (1968) will probably like this film.  Stay with it. It’s slow at first then draws you in!

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