Two uneasy friends, a police officer and a TV talk show host, each pursue the mysterious "handcuff killer" with the aid of an artist who sees - and draws - the killer's crimes before they're committed.
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After the body of murdered woman is found, nude and handcuffed, floating down the Hudson River in New York, a string of murders occur by an unseen serial killer who kills men by handcuffing them before killing them. Mac, a TV talk-show host, and Larry, a police detective, team up to try to find the killer and seek help from Virna, a clairvoyant young artist, who draws visions of the murders before they happen. As Mac and Larry try to establish a connection between the victims and the first female victim, who may have been sexually involved all of the male victims, Virna's further visions begin to point to her as the next victim as she unknowingly closes in on the killer's identity. Written by
"The Killing Hour," alternately titled "The Clairvoyant," follows Norman Parker as a New York City detective attempting to solve the mystery behind the murders of multiple women; an ever-handsome Perry King plays a local talk show host with alternately vested interests in the crimes, but the presence of an art student who appears to be able to draw the murders on paper before they occur brings a whole new dimension to the solving of the mystery.
Armand Mastroianni writes and directs here, two years after the release of his slasher film "He Knows You're Alone" in my opinion one of the most underrated and charming of the eightiesand the direction is solid. Mastroianni has a knack for photographing the city and milking it for all the atmosphere it offers. With "He Knows You're Alone," the suburban gloom of Staten Island set the backdrop, while Manhattan serves as the primary location here, but the photography and direction are moody and evocative. The script, as some have noted, does slack a bit at times, but the sleek photography and strongly-established atmosphere really overshadow any losses of momentum in the screenplay.
The film is similarly fashioned to a giallo, and at times evokes the work of Mario Bava or Dario Argento, with a psychic splash of Nicholas Roeg's "Don't Look Now," but all that said, these are respectable influences to have. The psychic element is the standout component here, which elevates the proceedings from mere "killer-in-the-city" fodder to something slightly more interesting. Norman Parker and Perry King make competent leading men, while Elizabeth Kemp is also solid as the tormented clairvoyant art student.
Overall, "The Killing Hour" is a solid thriller that wears its influences on its sleeve. As with some of his other films, Mastroianni is great at evoking atmosphere from the camera and the locations. Despite a few pacing issues, the giallo undertones and the grand finale make this worth a watch. 7/10.
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