Taglines: Back in town… with a vengeance!
In Los Angeles, the rookie Detective Paul McAnn teams up with the veteran Detective Leo Kessler to investigate the murder of Betty Johnson and her boyfriend that were stabbed by a naked serial-killer in a park. Detective Kessler recognizes the victim, who lived in the same neighborhood many years ago and childhood friend of his daughter Laurie Kessler.
The killer Warren Stacy goes to the funeral and overhears Betty’s father telling Detective Kessler that his daughter had a diary. Warren breaks in Betty’s apartment and stabs and kills her roommate Karen Smalley trying to find the diary. But Karen had already delivered the journal to Detective Kessler. Leo Kessler is sure that Warren is the serial-killer and her plants a false evidence in his apartment. However, Warren’s defense lawyer presses Detective McAnn accusing him of perjury and Warren is released. Now the Warren is stalking Laurie to revenge against her father.
10 to Midnight is an crime-thriller film directed by J. Lee Thompson from a screenplay originally written by William Roberts. The film stars Charles Bronson in the lead role with a supporting cast that includes Lisa Eilbacher, Andrew Stevens, Gene Davis, Geoffrey Lewis, and Wilford Brimley. 10 to Midnight was released by City Films, a subsidiary of Cannon Films, to American cinemas on March 11, 1983. The movie marks the fourth collaboration between Bronson and director J. Lee Thompson (following 1976’s St. Ives, 1977’s The White Buffalo, and 1980’s Caboblanco).
About the Story
10 To Midnight is a drama that mixes elements of police and slasher films. It portrays the homicidal behavior of Warren Stacy (Gene Davis), a young office equipment repairman who kills women after they reject his sexual advances. And his attempts at flirting are always seen as “creepy” by women, resulting in frequent rejections. His first victim seen in the film is Betty, an office worker of his acquaintance. He tracks her down to wooded area, and observes her having sex with her boyfriend. He ambushes the couple, kills the boyfriend, and then gives chase to the naked woman. He stabs her to death.
Two Los Angeles police detectives, Leo Kessler (Charles Bronson) and Paul McAnn (Andrew Stevens), investigate his murders. Kessler is a seasoned veteran of the force, while McCann is considerably younger. Stacy avoids prosecution by constructing sound alibis and assaulting his victims while naked except for a pair of latex gloves to hide fingerprints, thus minimizing evidence. This was before obtaining DNA evidence became possible.
Laurie Kessler (Lisa Eilbacher) is the only daughter of Leo and an acquaintance to some of the victims. A student nurse herself, she becomes a target for the killer. McAnn refuses to go along when Kessler plants evidence in order to frame the suspect. Stacy goes on another rampage, killing three nursing students who are friends with Kessler’s daughter.
When he is caught, stark naked in the street, Stacy boasts how he will say all the things that will “prove” that he is crazy: he hears voices telling him to do things, etc., so that one day, he will be back on the street and Kessler, as well as the “whole fucking world,” will hear from him again. Kessler replies, “No, we won’t.” He then shoots Stacy once in the forehead, executing him and leaving all other considerations aside. The film then ends with a bird’s-eye view of Kessler standing over the body, surrounded by police as the camera slowly zooms out.
10 to Midnight (1983)
Directed by: J. Lee Thompson
Starring: Charles Bronson, Lisa Eilbacher, Andrew Stevens, Gene Davis, Geoffrey Lewis, Wilford Brimley, Kelly Preston, Iva Lane, Jeana Keough
Screenplay by: William Roberts
Cinematography by: Adam Greenberg
Film Editing by: Peter Lee-Thompson
Set Decoration by: Cecilia Rodarte
Art Direction by: Jim Freiburger
Music by: Robert O. Ragland
Distributed by: Cannon Films
Release Date: March 11, 1983