Wednesday, July 6, 2011

DEATH WALKS AT MIDNIGHT

(Luciano Ercoli, 1972)
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Weird! An engrossing giallo with no nudity and little gore!
Feisty supermodel Valentina (Susan Scott) is mislead by her tabloid journalist friend Giovanni (Simon Andreu) into taking a new drug, HDS, as part of a supposedly scientific experiment. While under the influence, she sees a woman brutally murdered, with a spiked glove, in an empty apartment behind her own.
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After being dismissed by the modeling agency over the incident, Valentina finds herself short on cash, though no less popular. An anonymous job offer lures her to the very apartment in which she'd seen the girl murdered, and there she runs into the same creepy, bespectacled killer! She narrowly escapes, and soon learns from the police that a girl had indeed been murdered there with a spiked glove... six months prior.
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Initially no one believes her story, but she soon finds herself approached by two strangers who claim to know both the victim and the falsely-arrested murderer. With a little help from Gio and the two strangers, she manages to identify the real killer, only to find out that the man she saw may not actually be the one she should be tracking down!
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Death Walks at Midnight relies more on mystery and plot than most gore and sleaze- packed gialli from the same era. It's also refreshing to watch a giallo wherein the female lead neither faints, panics, or disrobes. In fact, Valentina is the real star of the show, and what a feisty character she is! She's tough, especially by giallo standards, and throws a lot of rocks, lamps, and punches. She's not afraid to go for the balls, and she even uses a gun! And all of this with little help from the rather unsympathetic men in her life.
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Story aside, Death Walks at Midnight is a lot of fun to watch, has a good dose of action and humor, and moves at a quick pace. The cinematography is quite stylish, the soundtrack appropriately groovy, and the sets just as far-out as the music. The only really bloody bits are, sadly, at the very beginning and end of the film, but are among the highlights. Very much recommended. Buy used copies here.
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1 comment:

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