The Principals: Director Armand Mastroianni, Norman Parker, Perry King, Kenneth McMillan, Jon Polito, Joe Morton, Elizabeth Kemp.
A police detective who moonlights as a stand up comedian (Parker) and an ambitious local TV talk show host (King) pursue a serial killer in New York with a penchant for using handcuffs to commit his murders. Aiding them is an artist with ESP (Kemp), who sees the murders and draws them before they happen.
Beyond The Five Senses Lies A Sixth. To Possess It Is To See The Unseen.
It Can Be A Blessing – Or A Curse. If She Sees You… You’re Dead!
Apparently, Con Ed is pretty serious about collecting on their bills.
Is it Good:
I have to go fairly negative on this one. I looked up this film after thinking about it recently and just couldn’t get past the, well, quaintness of it. It’s a sexual thriller, but is light on both, and is also quite dated. Even had I not previously known the identity of the killer, it would have been fairly obvious and there just isn’t that much that’s convincing about the entire thing. I don’t buy the premise for the set up of the murders, don’t buy McMillan’s detective as a comedian (hell, I don’t buy the other comedians either), I don’t buy the cops readily accepting Kemp’s psychic as being material to their case, and I don’t buy the sexual heat between either Kemp and Parker nor Kemp and King.
“So you’re a psychic, huh? What do you see about me?”
“That you’re not getting any tonight.”
“Yeah, but you don’t really believe in that stuff do you…?”
Everything is as it is because that’s the way director Mastroianni needs it to be, without anything seeming natural (i.e., the Hollywood catchphrase, “organic”). Getting back to the genesis of the murders, it basically boils down to a killer who is looking to eliminate his co-conspirators in a sexually-related crime that went bad, and into which Kemp’s psychic is able to involuntarily tune. The killer also uses the murders to his/her own benefit in other ways. But it just seems fairly inconceivable how the perpetrators, who were essentially strangers, come together to find themselves in the situation that leads to the crime. The crime is shown in flashback late in the film in graphic style that would be fairly rare today.
Is it Worth a Look:
The film isn’t bad, rather just a lower budget, Nighthawks-style exercise that never manages to convey the grittiness of New York the way some of its contemporaries do, like Serpico or Taxi Driver. Now granted those films are practically immortal, but it’s what Killing Hour seems to aspire to be and yet of which it falls far short. It does sport a variety of future notables, however, including Jon Polito, Joe Morton and Perry King; as well as Kenneth McMillan. This was also only the second film for director Armand Mastroianni, right after He Knows You’re Alone. Mastroianni would go on to direct a gaggle of TV shows and TV movies, including series such as Friday the 13th, Tales from the Darkside, War of the Worlds, Dark Shadows and Touched by an Angel.
Turns out there’s are one or two untold details about this whole Toyota recall thing…
There is some good camera work, especially in an underwater murder, and the entire thing is shot on location in Manhattan, which at least salvages some of the atmosphere of the film. The premise of a handcuff killer is also fairly unique, (and more than a bit kinky). But in the end the central premise just can’t sustain the film. Parker’s protagonist is barely sympathetic, although I did like the side story of his wanting to be an aspiring comic. I just didn’t buy him as being very successful in the pursuit. Kemp does acquit herself fairly well, though and King is decent as the smug TV host out for the big story.
Random Anecdotes: The Killing Hour re-teamed Mastroianni with Kemp, whom he directed in He Knows You’re Alone two years prior.
Cinematic Soulmates: Basic Instinct, Someone To Watch Over Me, Punchline.
The Tally So Far: