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USA 1980
produced by
Jerry Weintraub for Lorimar/Warner Brothers
directed by William Friedkin
starring Al Pacino, Paul Sorvino, Karen Allen, Richard Cox, Don Scardino, Joe Spinell, Jay Acovone, Randy Jurgensen, Barton Heyman, Gene Davis, Arnaldo Santana, Larry Atlas, Allan Miller, Sonny Grosso, Ed O'Neill, Michael Aronin, James Remar, William Russ, Mike Starr, Steve Inwood, Keith Prentice, Leland Starnes, Robert Pope, Leo Burmester, Bruce Levine, Charles Dunlap, Powers Boothe, James Sutorius (voice), Richard Jamieson, Jimmie Ray Weeks, David Winnie Hayes, Carmine Stippo, Todd Winters
screenplay by William Friedkin, based on the novel by Gerald Walker, music by Jack Nitzsche

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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In the late 1970s, New York's S&M gay scene is thriving, with many a club catering to gay men in leather, and many a quiet corner in the park hiding gay couples going at it. And this is also the ideal hunting ground for a serial killer, Stuart (Richard Cox), who manages to remain undetected also because the gays don't necessarily trust law enforcement - and aren't always terribly wrong about it (as proven by a priceless performance of cult icon Joe Spinell as a sleazy cop). As the mayor and the press demand an arrest soon, Captain Edelson (Paul Sorvino) comes up with the idea to let young and fairly attractive policeman Steve Burns (Al Pacino) to go undercover, as he fits the profile of the killer's victims. Of course, Steve is neither gay nor does he know much about the scene, but he's ambitious, so he learns quickly. But the more he gets into the gay scene, the more he loses himself in it, and he becomes gradually estranged from his wife Nancy (Karen Allen). Eventually, Steve thinks he has found the killer, rather bully-ish Skip (Jay Acovone), and lures him into a trap - but when he sees how his colleagues try to force a confession out of Skip, only to see him totally exonorated an hour later, this tips him almost too far. He wants to quit, but now is in it too deep - and then he stumbles over a clue that leads him to Stuart, but this time he tries to apprehend him on his own. Problem is, Stuart isn't exactly stupid, and is in good enough shape to be a threat in one-on-one fight ...


On paper, this might read like part serial killer movie, part police procedural, but on screen, this is above all a very engaging character study, and one that gets it right in pretty much every aspect: The film's rather flashy backdrop (the New York gay scene) and the central character arc correspond directly with one another rather than one just being a canvas for the other, the narration, while character-centric, still tells a well-structured and entirely suspenseful tale, direction and camerawork are slick without being glossy and focus on tension, and Al Pacino at the top of his game leads a very strong ensemble cast. Pretty much a must-see, and a film that has aged particularly well.


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD