"Shadey" (Monica 4-Plex) is one of those strange, disastrous little movies that leaves you wondering how it ever got made--not to mention distributed or exhibited.
Wiry, curly-haired Antony Sher has the title role, playing a bankrupt London mechanic who decides to finance a sex-change operation by exploiting his extraordinary gift not only for reading minds but for actually filming other people's thoughts and fantasies by placing a camera alongside his head. Naively, he offers his powers to a suave millionaire (Patrick Macnee) who, in his greed, makes a deal with steely Secret Service psychic researcher Billie Whitelaw, who has ideas of her own for Shadey.
Writer Snoo Wilson and director Philip Saville do not make it clear why Shadey, considering his abilities, is in such dire financial straits or why he's so naive. We're not even sure why he wants a sex change. From this poorly established premise, Wilson and Saville attempt a dark comedy of bizarre human behavior--and mild pacifist sentiments--that becomes merely morbid in its sheer lack of humor, imagination or energy. (A loony, bloody castration sequence is especially off-putting.) Also mired in this grim nonsense are Katherine Helmond as Macnee's dotty wife and Leslie Ash as their beautiful daughter, object of Shadey's desire, not as a man but as a lesbian.