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Dead Of Winter 1987

R CC

Mary Steenburgen stars as an out-of-work actress who accompanies Roddy McDowall to an isolated house for an audition that takes a horrifying twist in this white-knuckle shocker.

Starring:
Mary Steenburgen, Roddy McDowall
Runtime:
1 hour, 40 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Thriller, Horror
Director Arthur Penn
Starring Mary Steenburgen, Roddy McDowall
Supporting actors Jan Rubes, William Russ, Ken Pogue, Wayne Robson, Mark Malone, Michael Copeman, Sam Malkin, Pamela Moller, Dwayne McLean, Paul Welsh
Studio MGM
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I shouldn't like "Dead of Winter" as much as I do. It has some faults, a few of them glaring. But, however many faults the movie has, it still grips me, and evokes the fear and suspense necessary for it to qualify as a taut thriller. You have a claustrophobic setting, disturbing older men, a woman in distress, and murder. These ingredients come together to make for a very interesting hour and a half. At the very least, I found myself entertained.
The film starts out with the murder of a woman in an abandoned parking lot on a snowy winter's night. Next we are in New York City, where we are exposed to the struggling actor's life of Katie McGovern (Mary Steenburgen). She is just looking for that one good role (with good pay, of course). After she does well at an audition, the man hosting it, Mr. Murray (Roddy McDowall), invites her upstate to an isolated country house, in order to do some test screening. Katie agrees. She tells her boyfriend she will call him once there, and is off. Once Katie arrives at the house, she is introduced to the man in charge, Dr. Joseph Lewis (sinisterly portrayed by Jan Rubes). Uneasy things begin to occur (the phones lines go dead, and the car won't start), and soon Katie's world turns upside down as the two older men begin to unveil their frightening plan upon the unsuspecting actress.
There are things to knock about "Dead of Winter". Many of them involve aspects of what film critic Roger Ebert has termed "The Idiot Plot". This is where characters are in certain situations that go on for far too long because, instead of doing the sensible thing, they act with fairly bad judgement, thus enabling the movie to exist and continue on. A few examples: Why go hours upstate to an isolated house for a screen test?
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Format: DVD
In his review for Amazon Tom Keogh asks why the director Arthur Penn would have anything to do with this movie. Well in '87 Penn's career wasn't exactly on fire after the back to back flops Target and Four Friends. So the question is why wouldn't he be attracted to it. On the surface it's a very well written, tightly paced and moody story. And it was his last watchable feature film (he followed it with the not so watchable and somewhat ironically titled Penn & Teller Get Killed after which his career was effectively over). Not to mention the fact that it's based on a 40's film noir which always seems to be a favorite genre for many directors to draw on. Keogh also states that Roddy McDowall plays a "crazy millionaire". This part was in fact played by Jan Rubes. McDowall plays Rubes man servant.
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Format: DVD
Director Arthur Penn is a far cry from his classic BONNIE AND CLYDE in this elegant if somewhat somnambulent thriller. A movie that relies more on the implication of doom rather than the actual depiction of violence, DEAD OF WINTER is a clever little thriller buoyed by the presence of Mary Steenburgen in multiple roles and Roddy McDowall as a sinister henchman to psychiatrist Jan Rubes. William Russ (WiseGuys) rounds out the cast as Mary's handicapped but heroic husband. There aren't a whole lot of surprises in the movie, but it's old-fashioned feel and Penn's assured if overly so, direction makes DEAD OF NIGHT a pleasant diversion from today's gory in your face thrillers.
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Format: VHS Tape
In this movie Mary Steenburgen plays an actress named Katie who is offered an audition in a new movie. To audition for this part Katie travels to a lonely mansion accompanied by Roddy McDowell. Things however are not what they seem to be. For you younger people reading this that will be the first thing you learn in Sociology 101 when you get to College. Katie soon finds herself trapped in the role she has to play and the snow is piling up outside which makes escape impossible. This movie is enhanced by the presence of the late Roddy McDowell who I believe never gave a bad performance in his entire acting career. 5 stars for this gem of a Horror movie.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Arthur Penn is one of those directors who had a checkered career. Coming out of live TV, he came into his own in the 1960s with the movies MICKEY ONE, THE CHASE, and especially BONNIE & CLYDE. LITTLE BIG MAN (1970) was his last major success and NIGHT MOVES (1975) was his last critical one. By the time DEAD OF WINTER was made (1987), his career had been in decline for over a decade and he no longer was a force to be reckoned with. He was actually the third and final director on this film. It has Penn's edgy camerawork, maximum impact editing and bursts of cringe inducing violence. It also features the typical strong performances from its principal actors. There's Mary Steenburgen (in 3 roles), Roddy McDowall, and Canadian opera singer turned actor Jan Rubes (remember the man in the original THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY?). There are a number of Hitchcock like elements to DEAD OF WINTER although it's a reworking of a celebrated B movie, Joseph H. Lewis' MY NAME IS JULIA ROSS (1945). Jan Rubes character is even named Joseph Lewis.

Down-on-her-luck actress Katie McGovern (Steenburgen), who lives with her injured husband and brother, auditions for a part in an unfinished movie and to her astonishment, is hired on the spot. She is whisked away for a screen test to a house in Upstate New York by the man conducting the audition (McDowall) to meet the producer, a crippled psychiatrist (Rubes). On the way there, a fierce winter snowstorm begins and before long Katie realizes that there is more going on than meets the eye. After her arrival, she learns that she is expected to play the part of a sibling to a psychotic sister (also Steenburgen) and then after that...she'll no longer be needed. A few twists and turns later, Katie tries to turn the tables on her kidnappers.
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