Friday, January 6, 2012

Death comes at Midnight: Midnight Killer (1986)

Midnight Killer (Morirai a mezzanotte) (AKA "You'll Die at Midnight") (Italy, 1986)
starring: Valeria D'Obici, Leonardo Treviglio and Paolo Malco

...at least I don't fake my orgasm! LIKE YOU!
Not long since his little infectious killer demons had raved over an unfortunate movie theatre in Demons (1985), Lamberto Bava had his oddball success until the mediocre run with constant TV movies. While he did pull out some decent stuff over the years including an underrated sequel to Demons, simply titled Demons 2 and a misogynistic giallo called Delirium, but sadly, these good titles are easily numbered. Thankfully Midnight Killer's one of his better attempts, if not a little generic.

Nicola is a policeman who encounters his wife sharing lip service with another man inside a lingerie shop. After confronting her at home, the two ended up on a full blown domestic brawl with Nicola getting wounded from an ice pick and his wife near battered. As her enraged hubby leaves, staggering from a fatal wound, the wife suddenly gets the bad end of an ice pick as an unseen assailant jams the weapon into her.

NO!...Not the white curtains! It's a bitch to clean!
Upon discovery, Inspector Pierro Terzi  points finger to Nicola as the killer. Disagreeing with him is Anna, a psychologist and professor at the nearby university and Nicola's friend. She tries to convince Inspector Terzi that another psychopath is on the loose, a certain serial-slasher known as Franco Tribbo, the Midnight Killer who seemingly died in a fire eight years ago.

The murders continue, apparently done by "the Midnight Killer", risen from the dead, apparently making his way to Anna's students, one of which is Terzi's child. Fearing for her safety, Terzi convinces his daughter and her friends to leave the city for their own protection, to a lonesome coast where it's far from any known help and covered in thick fog (nice choice, bub...no, really). It wasn't long before it turns out to be a pointless idea as Tribbo found his way to them and he's making his way through the class.

Nice Pick!...get it? Pic? Pick? haha...shutting up...
Merging giallo and slasher film trappings, Midnight Killer came out half-way decent and mediocre as generics come and go, but thankfully, it withstand the influence of the American slashers and stood its ground as a murder mystery done right and fun. While it does had it's flaws; the script lacked any good character development and the murders aren't as competitive worthy to the splashier titles that decade, but the mystery angle of it is impressive and the underwritten casts still managed to be interesting and likable.

Valeria D'Obici out-stands as a committed criminal psychologist Anna, a powerful performance for a very engaging characteer. Leonardo Treviglio, as Nicola, came off with his character as a very suspicious fellow, with his shifty personality and uncertain take on the crime makes him a perfect suspect. The rest came out flat, particularly Paolo Malco's Inspector Terzi, only he's more forgivable since despite being dull, he's still an entertaining watch.
Midnight Killer back from the grave

While a twist came out somewhere in the near thirds, a few moments in the film took route to your usual American slasher, with a stalk-and-chase scene between the victims and a the killer, running an abandoned theatre at one and another, which took place at the last twenty minutes, all through the coast house, knife wielding and all. It also had its dense cheese, one particular a scene where a victim managed to fend off the killer with an electric whisk, and to my surprise, it worked! Until that is the cord was proven too short for full potential killer whisking action and got her reply to that with a knife. Even the old fashioned rubber mask revelation was no stranger here, done with all the freshness and cheddar of the 80s.

Whilst not a masterpiece, Midnight Killer's still a passable entertainment for a low-brow night of mayhem and mystery. A bit too simple to be a classic giallo, and too mystery driven to be a no-brainer slasher film, this hybrid of both worlds is perhaps one respectable entre' from our friends in Italy, especially if it's coming from the son of late Mario Bava, the true father of giallo.

1 female stabbed on the gut with ice pick
1 female stabbed to death with ice pick
1 male shot
1 female choked n a force-fed lingerie
1 female knifed on the back
1 female bludgeoned to death with fire poker
1 female shot
total: 7

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