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31 Nights of Horror – Dressed to Kill

De Palma does Hitchcock in this thriller from 1980 starring a very foxy Michael Caine, stunning Angie Dickinson and a fresh-faced Nancy Allen. A housewife’s (Dickinson) lunch time tryst turns deadly when she is slashed to death leaving her mysterious lover’s apartment. Liz Blake (Allen) witnesses the aftermath of the gory murder and catches a glimpse of the statuesque, blonde murderess fleeing the scene with a straight razor. Michael Caine plays Dr. Robert Elliott, who was Dickinson’s therapist whom she tried to seduce prior to her untimely death and who has a former patient named Bobbi who becomes the main suspect for the murder. Peter, son of the victim, teams up with Liz who is apparently a sex-worker (I didn’t realize this until the 20th or so time that I had watched this film) team up to track down Bobbi and solve the murder. We find out that Bobbi is angry with Dr. Elliott for not approving her gender reassignment surgery and could be using this as a reason to kill off his patients. Liz and Peter concoct a plan where Liz tries to seduce the good doctor but this man is not easily seduced. While Liz is stripped down to her lingerie and digging through his Rolodex trying to get information on Bobbi, Dr. Elliott is in the back throwing on a wig and sharpening his straight razor. Yup, he turns out to be Bobbi, another shocking reveal! He attempts to murder Liz but is thwarted by Peter who bursts in and maces him.

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This film is visually stunning, from the atmosphere to the costumes – it is a delight for the eyes. The cast is brilliant and the plot, while it doesn’t totally make sense, keeps you guessing until the end!

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