Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Killer’s Delight (1978)

Clichéd, tedious, and unpleasant, crime thriller Killer’s Delight offers a weak recitation of tropes familiar to anyone who’s ever watched an obsessed-cop story. The hero clashes with people who think he’s lost perspective, a beautiful woman is used as bait to trap a killer, and murder scenes are depicted in such loving detail that the movie often seems like a celebration of psychosis instead of a tribute to dogged law enforcement. Killer’s Delight is relatively well made, with competent photography spiced by extensive location work in San Francisco. Furthermore, costar Susan Sullivan—best known for her long TV career—endeavors to both deliver a proper performance and maintain her dignity. That she mostly succeeds matters little. The movie around her is so brainless and ugly that even an Oscar-worthy acting turn wouldn’t have been sufficient to redeem the overall enterprise. As for the plot, out-of-town detective Vince (James Luisi) tracks a psycho to the Bay Area, then enlists help from the SFPD as well as from his mistress, Carol (Sullivan), a doctor who moonlights as a lounge singer. Despite allegedly being extrapolated from real case files, Killer’s Delight travels a familiar path, right down to the bit where the psychopath freaks out upon learning the police think he’s an impotent creep with mommy issues. As goes the portrayal of the murderer, so goes the rest of the movie—everything in Killer’s Delight is formulaic, predictable, and uninteresting, like an episode of a bad cop show but with a few extra jolts of big-screen sex and violence. Even the bummer ending falls flat, since it makes the hero seem like a reckless idiot instead of a dauntless crusader—this movie isn’t weighty enough to support an ambiguous climax.

Killer’s Delight: LAME

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