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
A film probably better known by its alternate, later title of "Psychomania," "Violent Midnight" (1963) proved a very pleasant surprise for me indeed. The film centers around Elliott Freeman, a young, reclusive painter who won't be a free man much longer if the local police have their way. One of Freeman's pretty young models has just been found knifed to death (the picture's debt to Hitchcock's "Psycho" is fairly evident during her suggested, shadowy slaying), and before long, one of his sister's co-ed friends follows suit.... An independent production more than ably helmed by Del Tenney, this film offers any number of unexpected treats. It features beautiful and artfully composed B&W photography; nice visuals of the Stamford, CT countryside; an intriguing, jazzy score; some surprising and titillating near nudity by a good number of comely lasses; and interesting performances by its largely no-name cast. The only performers I was at all familiar with here were Silvia (sic) Miles as a blond bar floozy; TV favorite Dick van Patten as a hard-boiled cop (!); and, in his first film role, James Farentino as a randy thug who can't seem to help getting in trouble. The actress Lorraine Rogers is also very fine as a blond, aggressively lustful student. The picture concludes quite suspensefully, with the knife-wielding killer stalking a very pretty gal during a thunderstorm. The killer's identity comes waaaaaay out of left field, I must say; don't even try to guess, unless you're infinitely better at these things than I am! This film also features one of the most deliciously morbid folksingers you'll ever want to hear; a perfect accompaniment to the chilly goings-on in "Violent Midnight." And oh...a great-looking print on this DVD, from the good folks at Dark Sky.
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