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Killing Hour

Perry King , Norman Parker , Armand Mastroianni    VHS Tape
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Poised somewhere between a serial-killer horror film and an old-fashioned murder mystery, Armand Mastroianni's smartly plotted The Killing Hour doesn't quite reach its potential but offers an entertaining ride to the climax. A handcuff killer is running around New York and the NYPD's best hope lies in a psychic artist who sketches death scenes from the eyes of the killer. Norman Parker is a genial New York cop and part-time standup comic who falls in love with artist Elizabeth Kemp, while muckraking talk-show host Perry King exploits her for ratings at the expense of her safety: the killer is out there and he's still hunting. The opening murder scenes are vivid and accomplished, economically realized with style and suggestion, and similar scenes sprinkled throughout punctuate an otherwise flatly directed drama. The film is invigorated by NYC location shooting, an inventive screenplay, quirky, character-rich performances by the always reliable Joe Morton, Jon Polito, and Kenneth McMillan in small roles, and an engaging, understated lead by Parker.

The DVD also features entertaining audio commentary by Mastroianni and fellow director William Lustig--who reminisce about the old days as exploitation auteurs making pictures on the streets of New York--as well as deleted scenes that illuminate the hard choices directors make, sacrificing detail for pace and rhythm. The picture's title is explained in those cut moments. --Sean Axmaker


Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars watchable July 13 2005
By serge
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
not a bad but not an awsome movie but it worth a look
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3.0 out of 5 stars Serial Killing that is not serious at all Feb. 15 2001
Format:VHS Tape
A thriller that is fascinating from the very start. A serial killer is handcuffing his victims and then killing them ruthlessly. But a girl has a sixth sense and she sees the killings, the murders, the victims in their ordeals. The murderer is the final surprise of course, especially since the police goes the wrong way and covers him for us. The problems touched in this film are simple. the role of the media and particularly TV as a discloser of investigation details, and then the development of a debate about such serial killings with only one objective : to make a lot of audience and hence a lot of money. To be famous first of all and above all. The second question is that of prescience : is it possible, acceptable, believable, etc ? It is convincing in the film, but not much more. The third problem is the motivation of a serial killer and the famous profiling of the FBI. It is both rejected by the older cop who is responsible for the investigation, and by the film because the motivation of the killer is totally antagonistic with the profiling technique. All the victims have handcuffs but apart from that there is no other connection between the various victims or murders and the motivation has nothing to do with standard and even substandard serial killing motivations. It is something completely different. I can't reveal it here of course. But this very « plot » makes the film very trite. It is dynamic, entertaining but it is not very enlightening on the subject it deals with. Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, Paris Universities II and IX.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Murder Mystery at its Best Aug. 7 2000
Format:DVD
Once called "The Clairvoyant", The Killing Hour is a suspense/thriller/murder mystery rolled into one. Personally, I prefer the original title, since it better captures a key element of the story. Our protagonist (played by Elizabeth Kemp) has two unique gifts. She is an artist and has a sixth sense. But she doesn't see dead people, instead she can foresee who will be the next victim in a series of seemingly unrelated murders. Unrelated that is, except for the handcuffs found on each victim. Her clairvoyance strikes her when she is drawing and usually, she draws the next victim. She begins to panic, when during one of her episodes, she draws herself.
When she finally goes to the police, she manages to convince the skeptical officers assigned to the murders that their may be some validity to her story. More willing to believe her, a TV talk show host/reporter (played by Perry King) tries to befriend her and interview her on his show.
Slowly, the killer moves in on her. The clairvoyant knows he (or she) is near, but her power doesn't reveal the face to her. Nor does the director give this one away. We have to wait until he is ready to reveal the killer, but once he does, it all makes perfect sense.
Overall, I found this movie to be a pleasant surprise. Suspenseful, cleverly written, well acted, it will keep you guessing until the end, when the killer finally and unexpectedly, is revealed.
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3.0 out of 5 stars SURPRISINGLY GOOD MOVIE May 16 2000
Format:VHS Tape
At first glance, you might think this is an exploitation movie that thrives on T and A and extreme violence, but the Killing Hour, aka the Clairvoyant, is a surprisingly well produced, well directed, and well acted movie. Good perfomances by Elizabeth Kemp (especially Liz Kemp) and Perry King.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Underrated Thriller! Aug. 13 2005
By Daniel Kepley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
THE KILLING HOUR (originally titled THE CLAIRVOYANT) is a vivid, well-crafted adult thriller in the tradition of Brian DePalma and the gialli of Mario Bava and Dario Argento. It is also an oasis from the teen-slasher craze at the time. A body is discovered floating in the Hudson River with handcuffs. Soon two more murders involving handcuffs ensue and the police, including detective/comedian Larry Weeks (Norman Parker, who is incredible), is on the case. But so is talk-show host Paul "Mac" McCormick (soap star Perry King), who does exactly what the police didn't want to happen: turn the killings into a media spectacle. And soon a young art student named Virna Nightbourne (Elizabeth Kemp), who can mysteriously sketch each murder as they happen, becomes involved.

This film is kind of like EYES OF LAURA MARS as it would have been directed by Bava or Argento. But I will say that director Armand Mastroianni (HE KNOWS YOU'RE ALONE, which featured Kemp) can accomplish so much while showing so little in terms of the murder sequences! In fact, the pool murder, cast in an ominous red glow, looks like something Argento or Bava would have come up with. Also, the music score (by Alexander Peskanov, who scored ALONE with his brother Mark) resembles something Pino Donnagio would have composed for DePalma. And after all, why go for graphic violence when you have such fine performances, especially from character actors Kenneth McMillan and Joe Morton? This thriller is definetly worth your time!

In terms of extras, there's a fun and insightful commentary by Mastroianni and then Anchor Bay head Bill Lustig, who talk about how the film came to be (William Friedkin was involved) among other things. We also get five deleted scenes (obviously cut to speed up the movie), one of which ended up in the trailer. Best of all, it's an unrated director's cut! Don't miss it!
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent July 21 2008
By Dave. K - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
The Killing Hour is one of those movies that's full of potential, but never quite reaches it. The one thing you should know rather quickly is the killer is a character already in the movie and not someone who pops up at the end. You should figure out quickly who it actually is, but there a few scenes that might make you 2nd guess that. But it's not really a surprise, on who the killer is, but their motive is the twist that while is fairly interesting, one would think the police would figure it out. It's one of those twists you have to watch what you say or the whole movie will be spoiled and while again the twist is fairly good, but not sure how the cops wouldn't figure it out.

The screenplay by Jonathon Ringkamp was the biggest problem with the movie, while not poorly written it's just that the characters lack any depth and really aren't all that interesting. The concept was quite interesting, but the screenplay is the downfall here. Again it's not poorly written, but the characters just aren't interesting, which wouldn't be so bad had the movie focus on the murders. Since its more character driven well you need solid characters something this doesn't have.

Director Armand Mastroianni made his directorial debut with the slasher flick He Knows You're Alone, which was actually the very first film Tom Hanks appeared in; Mastroianni really isn't a bad director, while he's not great or anything he can deliver a well-made movie on a limited budget and while I'm no expert on his career he's done some enjoyable movies. He Knows You're Alone was a solid if not clichéd slasher flick that was actually shot in Staten Island, Ny where I live and I've actually hung around in the areas it was shot so maybe I'm a bit biased.

With the Killing Hour he doesn't make as fun as a movie as his debut, but the problems here are with the writing and not the directing. Mastroianni gets the best out of each scene, but there really wasn't much he could do to make up for the shortcomings of the script. As I stated earlier you should figure out who the killer is rather early, but Mastroianni is able to add some nice touches to make you 2nd guess that.

The cast is pretty good with Perry King and Norman Parker give solid performances despite not having the best of material. Elizabeth Kemp as Virna Nightbourne is the strongest character, but is given little to do in the first half and by the time she enters the movie most of the potential is now gone, but Kemp makes the best out of a weak character.

Overall The Killing Hour is by no means a bad movie, but never reaches the potential it had. The twist is interesting, but cannot save the movie. In the end it's an alright movie; you could do better, but you can also do a lot worse.
4.0 out of 5 stars good twist, but its hanging by a thread Nov. 13 2013
By 4anubisswift - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
Its the kind of movie you rout for, but always lets up short...good characters, well written, and it keeps you guessing...yet we continually run into unlikable behaviour and odd pacing.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Murder Mystery at its Best Aug. 7 2000
By CyberLouis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Once called "The Clairvoyant", The Killing Hour is a suspense/thriller/murder mystery rolled into one. Personally, I prefer the original title, since it better captures a key element of the story. Our protagonist (played by Elizabeth Kemp) has two unique gifts. She is an artist and has a sixth sense. But she doesn't see dead people, instead she can foresee who will be the next victim in a series of seemingly unrelated murders. Unrelated that is, except for the handcuffs found on each victim. Her clairvoyance strikes her when she is drawing and usually, she draws the next victim. She begins to panic, when during one of her episodes, she draws herself.
When she finally goes to the police, she manages to convince the skeptical officers assigned to the murders that their may be some validity to her story. More willing to believe her, a TV talk show host/reporter (played by Perry King) tries to befriend her and interview her on his show.
Slowly, the killer moves in on her. The clairvoyant knows he (or she) is near, but her power doesn't reveal the face to her. Nor does the director give this one away. We have to wait until he is ready to reveal the killer, but once he does, it all makes perfect sense.
Overall, I found this movie to be a pleasant surprise. Suspenseful, cleverly written, well acted, it will keep you guessing until the end, when the killer finally and unexpectedly, is revealed.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars SURPRISINGLY GOOD MOVIE May 15 2000
By Kendrik Lau - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
At first glance, you might think this is an exploitation movie that thrives on T and A and extreme violence, but the Killing Hour, aka the Clairvoyant, is a surprisingly well produced, well directed, and well acted movie. Good perfomances by Elizabeth Kemp (especially Liz Kemp) and Perry King.
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