Violent Midnight DVD Review

Written by Steve Pattee

DVD released by Dark Sky Films

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I want to be left alone. That's all. – Elliot Freeman

Written by Richard Hilliard (story) and Robin Miller
Directed by Richard Hilliard
Runtime – 90 minutes
Rated – Not rated

Starring:
Lee Phillips as Elliot Freeman
Sheppard Strudwick as Adrian Benedict
James Farentino as Charlie Perone
Dick Van Patten as Palmer
Jean Hale as Carol Bishop
Lorraine Rogers as Alice St. Clair
Margo Hartman as Lynn Freeman
Kaye Elhardt as Dolores Martello
Sylvia Miles as Silvia

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The Movie

War veteran Elliot Freeman (Lee Phillips – The Hunters) is a man who just wants to live in solitude and work on his paintings.

But after he becomes one of the prime suspects in the violent death one of his models, all eyes are on him.

Then it gets worse, when another woman Freeman had been seen with turns up dead.

Oh, and his mysterious, violent past certainly doesn’t help matters any.

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Review

One cool thing about reviewing movies you’ve never heard of is the element of surprise. I have yet to read the back of a box cover of a movie sent to me to see what the film is about. I don’t want to be influenced in any way when watching a movie for the first time.

So I pretty much missed the “Psycho-esque” reference on the back of the box, which is a good thing. Because Violent Midnight is no Psycho. Not even close.

But that’s okay. Because saying Midnight is no Psycho, in this context, is like saying Starship Troopers is no Star Wars. They both might take place in space, but they shouldn’t be compared to one another. Both Midnight and Psycho have people that die on Earth, but they aren’t the same type of movie.

What Midnight is, is a film with a modest budget that tries its best to be suspenseful. And it succeeds, for the most part.

The movie makes it clear that neither Freeman nor Charlie (James Farentino – Dead & Buried), the other man suspected of the murders, are responsible for the deaths. It even does a pretty good job of setting things up so it’s believable that they would look guilty.

But the problem lies in the ending.

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Minor spoilers below:


The ending is a twist ending. And if the twist had been set up better, it would have done wonders for the film. But, sadly, it seemed entirely too contrived to work. It’s almost as if, midway through the filming, the filmmakers decided to change the ending to one that would shock the audience, but didn’t go back and re-shoot anything to make it flow better — they just stuck in the ending with some half-assed explanation and expected the audience to buy it.

Yet, even with the ending, Midnight is still an enjoyable movie. It’s got a crazed killer, a decent enough story, a girls’ college, a slumber party at said college and Dick Van Patten (TV’s “Eight is Enough”) in his first movie role.

Yes, it was a pleasant surprise seeing lovable Mr. Bradford playing a cocky, arrogant detective throwing his weight around.

Good thing I didn’t read the back of that box cover.

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Video and Audio

Midnight’s 4:3 OAR presentation is spotty at times, but overall, it’s a sharp looking picture.

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The mono soundtrack is hit or miss. Sometimes it sounds as if the people are in an auditorium, other times a hallway. At one point, the voices don’t match the mouths. This is no doubt a source problem from looping, but it is distracting, at times.

English subtitles are available.

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Special Features

The commentary with Del Tenny, Midnight’s producer, is hit and miss. There is a mediator, but there is still a lot of dead air. In addition, rather than being scene specific, it feels more like an interview with Tenny about the movie.

There are trailers for The Horror of Party Beach and The Curse of the Living Corpse.

A photo gallery is also available.

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Grades

Movie – C

Video – B

Audio – C-

Special Features – C-

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Conclusion

Violent Midnight isn’t a blind-buy DVD by any stretch, but it’s not a bad watch by any means. Give this one a rental for sure.

Overall – C

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Want to comment on this review? Head over to the Horrortalk Review Forum.

About The Author
AR2
Author: Steve Pattee
Administrator, US Editor
He's the puppet master. You don't see him, but he pulls the strings that gets things done. He's the silent partner. He's black ops. If you notice his presence, it's the last thing you'll notice — because now you're dead. He's the shadow you thought you saw in that dark alleyway. You can have a conversation with him, and when you turn around to offer him a cup of coffee, he's already gone.
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