"You told me a lot of facts. Too many facts."
Fashion model Valentina (Neves Navarro, credited as Susan Scott) agrees to take a new hallucinogenic drug called HDS so reporter Gio Baldi (Simón Andreu) can write an article about its effects. But her trip takes a dark turn when she has bloody visions of a man in a vacant apartment across the street murdering a woman with a spiked iron glove. At first, with no evidence, no one believes her, but Valentina later discovers that a woman really was murdered in that apartment, in the same manner she witnessed... six months ago! And before long, she finds that the killer is stalking her and that she is right in the middle of a mystery involving murder, drugs, and revenge. Who can she trust? Why won't the police help her? And who is the mysterious killer in the sunglasses? It all leads to a devastating twist you won't expect!
Death Walks at Midnight (not to be confused with You'll Die at Midnight) is Luciano Ercoli's best giallo. It's certainly the most coherent, but is far less salacious than his other entries in the genre. It may be similarly titled, but this follow-up to Death Walks On High Heels isn't a sequel, even though it features most of the same cast filling similar archetypes: Susan Scott as a strong but victimized leading lady, Simón Andreu as the roguish love interest, Claudine Lange as the mysterious older woman, and Carlo Gentili as the police inspector, just to name a few. Ercoli has developed his own troupe of players, making him the Christopher Guest of giallo.
- I have no way to substantiate this theory, but I suspect that Frank Wolf (an Ercoli player from High Heels) was meant to play Stefano but, after Wolf's tragic and untimely death in December of 1971, the boyfriend role went to Pietro Martellanza.
- It's a great title, but it doesn't really apply here. Most of the murders take place around mid-day.
- Speaking of the title, the original Italian title is La Morte Accarezza a Mezzanotte. But "accarezzare" doesn't mean "to walk" – it means ""to stroke" or "to enfold." A better translation would be Death Caresses You at Midnight.
- References to Mario Bava's gialli abound in this film. The spiked iron glove is an obvious homage to the one used in Blood and Black Lace and Valentina apparently witness a murder that happened a long time ago – just like Nora in The Girl Who Knew Too Much.
- Valentina's boyfriend, Stefano (Pietro Martellanza), is a sculptor and his work is really cool.
- Ercoli did a good job of giving this movie balance. It has blood, a variety of kill scenes, some good action, and touches of humor from the supporting cast. The only thing it's lacking is a steamy love scene.
- The film culminates in a well-choreographed rooftop brawl, which shows off Andreu's physicality particularly well.
During the investigation, Valentina follows Verushka (Lange) to an insane asylum full of dangerous crazies and soon finds herself left alone, attacked, and then abandoned as Verushka speeds off in her Rolls. Super not-cool, Verushka.
For some reason, Stefano is taking care of his neighbor's toddlers while their mother is out of the country... and it doesn't take long before he leaves them home alone while he goes out and gets drunk. This is the first sign that he's not the nice guy he appears to be.
The crazy, giggling hit man dressed in a yellow plaid waistcoat doesn't get many lines, but he turns out to be one of the most memorable characters in the movie. When his face is covered in lye at the end and his eyeballs are bleeding, his resemblance to Heath Ledger's Joker in The Dark Knight in uncanny.
When Valentina goes clubbing, she wears this crazy aluminum wig.
Also, here's a shot of the spiked iron glove (just because). This one looks like it could do a lot more damage than the original one in Blood and Black Lace.