A Movie A Day #40: In the Cold of the Night (1990, directed by Nico Mastorakis)


51zd7jstaol-_sy445_Scott Bruin (Jeff Lester) is a high fashion photographer who is haunted by nightmares in which he strangles a naked woman in the swimming pool.  His nymphomaniac girlfriend, Lena (Shannon Tweed!), is surprisingly understanding when she wakes up to discover Scott strangling her but Scott is worried that he might be losing his mind.  His psychiatrist (David Soul) is not much help.  When Scott has a violent vision in the middle of photo shoot, he freaks out.  “Hey, are you on drugs?” one of the models asks.

Then Scott meets Kimberly (Adrienne Sachs) and she looks exactly like the woman from his dreams.  When she invites him to back to her house, the house looks exactly like the house from his nightmares.  Is Scott going crazy or is he seeing the future?  And how is Kimberly’s ex, a cold businessman named Ken Strom (Marc Singer), involved?

Does anyone remember this movie?  In the 90s, this used to be on HBO and Cinemax all of the time.  It’s a typical sex-fueled, nudity-filled direct-to-video thriller but Nico Mastorakis, a Greek director who has obviously learned a lot from Brian DePalma, gives the movie an enjoyably slick sheen.  Neither Jeff Lester nor Adrienne Sachs gives a good performance and the plot feels like it was made up on the spot but fans of Shannon Tweed in her Skinemax heyday might enjoy it.

In the Cold of the Night also features Tippi Hedren, playing Kimberly’s mother.  She only appears in one scene and freaks out when she sees some birds.  The scene ends with Adrienne Sachs looking directly at the camera and saying, “Mother simply hates birds!”

The Daily Grindhouse: Death Has Blue Eyes (dir by Nico Mastorakis)


Death Has Blue Eyes

Just in case you needed proof that I will literally watch and review anything, here’s a few thoughts on an extremely obscure Greek thriller, which was first released in 1976.  As often happened with exploitation films in the 70s, this movie was released under several different names.  It’s original Greek title was To koritsi vomva.  Apparently, in England, it was known as The Para Psychics, which is truly a hideous title.  I prefer the American title, Death Has Blue Eyes.

So, maybe you’re wondering how exactly it was that I ended up watching a totally unknown (and unsung) Greek thriller that was filmed long before I was even born.  The trailer for Death Has Blue Eyes was included on the first volume of 42nd Street Forever, an amazingly fun and entertaining compilation of grindhouse movie trailers.  (I imagine that I’m not alone in counting 42nd Street Forever as my introduction to the anything goes aesthetic of the grindhouse.)

Check out the trailer below!

I have to admit that this trailer became something of an obsession of mine.  Some of it, of course, was the music.  And some of it was because every second of the trailer screamed out “low-budget 1970s.”  But, beyond that, I loved this trailer because it contained so many scenes and yet it still told me absolutely nothing about the film.  Seeing as how there were very little information about Death Has Blue Eyes online, I would watch the trailer and I would try to figure out how all of the random scenes fit together.

I could tell, of course, that the film was an action movie.  It was also obvious that the film featured a woman with psychic powers and that she could apparently blow up tents and kill men in bowling alley.  Just as obviously, the two men — one dark-haired and one blonde — were trying to protect her from an evil organization.

But, beyond that, I found myself obsessing on the odd scenes of the two men and the woman on the beach.  Why, I asked myself, were they on that beach?  And why, in a few shots, did both the woman and the blonde guy have such dark circles under their eyes?  Why was their skin so much more pasty and white on the beach than it was in the rest of the trailer?  Why was the blonde guy laughing like a maniac as the tide came in?  Why did the dark-haired guy appear to look so shocked when he saw the blonde guy and the woman dancing?  Why were they dancing on the beach in the first place?  And why, while the mysterious woman looked on with a mournful expression, were the two men fighting in the ocean?

Could it be, I wondered, that the three of them were dead?  And maybe the beach was purgatory?  Perhaps that explained why the blonde guy was laughing.  Maybe he had been killed after opening that briefcase full of money.  Maybe he was laughing at the fact that, as soon as he became rich, he lost his life and found himself on Purgatory Beach.  All that trouble to get all the money and here was betrayed, dead, and in purgatory.  No wonder he couldn’t stop laughing.

And what about that briefcase full of money?  Obviously, this was a heist film.  The two men must have been friends until they both fell in love with the same psychic woman.  And then, after the heist and the fireworks show, the two men turned against each other.  They fought.  They died.  And they ended up in purgatory.

Yes, I thought to myself, that had to be it!

And, as soon as I figured that out, I knew that I had to see Death Has Blue Eyes.  I mean, how often do you get to see a film that so perfectly combines film noir with Catholic theology as the trailer for Death Has Blue Eyes?  Death Has Blue Eyes was obviously a forgotten classic, waiting for one brave red-headed film blogger to defend it!  And if that film blogger has mismatched eyes and loved to dance, all the better!

Unfortunately, it was not easy to see Death Has Blue Eyes.  There’s a few old (and expensive) VHS copies floating around but the film has never been released on DVD or Blu-Ray.  (I am lucky enough to have an old VHS player, as all good lovers of film and history should!)  However, a year ago, someone was good enough to upload Death Has Blue Eyes to YouTube and I finally got to see it!

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And all I can say is that my version is sooooo much better.

I was right about the film being an action film that featured two guys protecting a blonde with psychic powers.  But I was totally wrong about purgatory.  In fact, when I saw how the beach scenes were actually used in he film, I got angry because my version was so much better!

(Because the film contains a lot of nudity and some violence and I don’t want our little site to get in trouble, I’m not going to embed the video here.  But if you want to watch the film on YouTube, click here!)

Anyway, as for the film, it tells the story of Bob (Peter Winter) and Ches (Hristos Nomikos), who are two con artists who make a living by seducing older women and pretending to be guests at expensive hotels.  After Ches’s latest cougar victim kicks them out of her home, they find themselves homeless.  But then, they’re hired to serve as bodyguards for Christine (Maria Aliferi).  Christine is a powerful psychic who witnessed a political assassination.  Because she can read minds, she knows both who the assassin was and who he was working for!

The rest of the film is basically a nonstop collection of car chases, exploding tents, and random assassins.  (What’s odd is that Christine can blow people up by merely looking at them and yet, she still needs bodyguards.)  It doesn’t make a bit of sense and the two “heroes” are incredibly unlikable but, because it’s such a product of its time, the film is oddly watchable.  It’s terrible and there’s no purgatory but it’s still probably the only film ever made about two gigolos hired to protect a blonde with ESP from a bunch of motorcycle-riding assassins.

That said, I still think my version of the film is better!

Check out some footage below, along with listening to a bit of the film’s score.  As I said, it’s all very 70s.

4 Shots From 4 Films: Thriller, Switchblade Sisters, Death Has Blue Eyes, Ms. 45


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films.  As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films is all about letting the visuals do the talking.

4 Shots From 4 Films

Thriller, A Cruel Picture a.k.a. They Call Her One Way (1973, dir by Bo Arne Vibenius)

Thriller, A Cruel Picture a.k.a. They Call Her One Eye (1973, dir by Bo Arne Vibenius)

Switchblade Sisters (1975, dir by Jack Hill)

Switchblade Sisters (1975, dir by Jack Hill)

Death Has Blue Eyes (1976, dir by Nico Mastorakis)

Death Has Blue Eyes (1976, dir by Nico Mastorakis)

Ms. 45 (1981, dir by Abel Ferrara)

Ms. 45 (1981, dir by Abel Ferrara)