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Today Only: "Mad Max Anthology (4 Film Collection) [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)" for $25.99
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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!
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.