Because his family has a history of mental illness, Elliot Freeman, a war hero turned portrait painter, is suspected of sadistically murdering two beautiful young women. Freeman knew both of the victims--Dolores Martello, an artist's model, and Alice St. Clair, a student at a nearby college--and he sets out to find the killer. At different times during his unofficial investigation, Freeman comes to suspect four men: Professor Melbourne, a peeping tom; Charles Perone, a motorcycle hoodlum; Adrian Benedict, a sophisticated lawyer; and a deaf-mute chauffeur. Freeman finally learns that his own sister, Lynn, jealous of the attentions that he paid to other women, committed the murders. Written by
Right from the opening sequences already, depicting a hunting "accident" where a guy gets shots in the face, you can tell that this movie played with ideas that were far ahead of their time. Not only the plot is ambitious and progressive, but you can also clearly tell that the makers wanted to show more bloodshed and nudity, but couldn't because the year was well 1963! Elliot Freeman is a wealthy but slightly eccentric painter in a small countryside town. His father got killed in a hunting accident and he has the notorious reputation of losing his mind from time to time. It's a little side-effect from fighting in the Korean War. Elliot's half-sister is visiting, but she stays in the nearby girl academy where all the girls have a thing for Elliot. There's also a vicious knife murderer on the loose in town and the body of Elliot's last nude model is found dead. Obviously all suspicion is drawn to him, and even he himself wonders if he's guilty or not, but there are multiple other potential culprits as well, like the sleazy ex-boyfriend, the slightly perverted biology teacher, Elliot's slick attorney and his creepy mute chauffeur. "Violent Midnight" is a strange movie with a bizarrely evolving plot, incoherent plot twists and peculiar characters. The killer always appears to show up at the utmost convenient times to make a new victim, like when all the suspects are nearby and without alibis. It's not exactly plausible, of course, but effective enough to keep the film suspenseful and compelling. None of the murders are committed around midnight, however, and the denouement is quite senseless, but you have to appreciate a low-budgeted production for trying to cash-in on "Psycho" with a much more brutal approach.
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