When one thinks of a Charles Bronson film, we usually think of him on the streets as a ruthless vigilante, who is seeking the killers of his family over and over again. In a slight change of pace, in 10 to Midnight, Charles Bronson plays an LA detective by the name of Leo Kessler, who is investigating the brutal murders of women. Sure, he eventually takes on the role of a vigilante of sorts, but 10 to Midnight does offer a nice of change of pace.
Another thing that 10 to Midnight offers differently from other films of its type is the reveal of the killer at the beginning of the film. We know who is the one doing the murders, as we ride along with Warren Stacy (Gene Davis), who stalks women while entirely nude and stabs them with his switchblade. However, after Warren’s latest murder, details are revealed in a diary that put Leo Kessler on his trail. As Kessler gets closer and closer, Warren decides to go after Kessler’s daughter (Lisa Eilbacher) and his nurse friends (one of them played by Kelly Preston). Eventually, the film accumulates in a rather shocking ending that will please fans of no-nonsense justice.
There is plenty to like with 10 to Midnight. Charles Bronson is playing a tough as nails detective, loads of violence (even though the stabbings aren’t explicitly shown, they still feel effectively nasty), a heart-pounding score by Robert O. Ragland, and that ballsy ending I’ve mentioned before. I’m not sure what Roger Ebert was smoking when he gave this movie a 0 rating and called it “a scummy little sewer of a movie.”
Scream Factory has released 10 to Midnight on Blu-ray under their Collector’s Edition branding, which means we get a fancy slipcover and some new special features to check out. Also provided is a new 4K scan of the original camera negative. The results are fantastic, with deep colours and some lovely even grain, with hardly any compression issues that I could notice. I’ve compared the original Twilight Time Blu-ray release (caps-a-holic) against this newer release, and the results speak for themselves in the pictures below:
Audio provided on the disc is 2.0 DTS-HD MA, with results that give a solid performance. The soundtrack comes through loud and clear, and the dialogue is never so low that you need to fiddle with the volume.
If one is hoping for hours and hours of extra features, there will be some slight disappointment. We get four new interviews to watch. First up is a roughly 13-minute interview with Lance Hool titled Producing Bronson. He reminisces about working with Bronson on 10 to Midnight and eventually 1984’s The Evil That Men Do. It’s a touching and emotional interview. Next up is a 6-minute interview with Robert F. Lyons, who also provides plenty of entertaining anecdotes about Charles Bronson behaviour on set. Next is an almost 7-minute interview with Jeana Tomasina Keough, who discusses her start as a Playboy model, before landing her role in 10 to Midnight. She was initially going to be cast as Bronson’s daughter, but her height on her resume was listed as 5′ 8″, and Bronson refused to work with anyone taller than 5′ 7″, which funny enough was what Keough’s actual height was. Finally, we end the interviews with an almost 11-minute discussion with Bronson’s filming partner Andrew Stevens, who also talks about Bronson and his reserved attitude towards making friends. Another new feature is an audio commentary with Paul Talbot, author of Bronson’s Loose! and Bronson’s Loose Again!. Talbot uses every single minute of the film to discuss all sorts of trivia about absolutely everything in this movie. It sometimes comes off as information overload, but it never becomes boring. Rounding out the features is an older commentary track with Producer Pancho Kohner, Casting Director John Crowther, and Film Historian David Del Valle; Theatrical trailer, Radio Spots, and a Still Gallery.
Of the Bronson films I’ve seen, I would rank 10 to Midnight quite high on my Bronson themed list. It’s never dull, has Bronson being a badass, and a psychotic killer to give you the chills. Scream Factory has done a phenomenal job on the new transfer, and the new bonus features provided are highly informative and worth sitting down and checking out. This is a big recommend from yours truly.
10 to Midnight is a solid film that provides the viewer with a kickass Bronson and a psycho killer going head to head. Scream Factory nails things with a phenomenal transfer and some really informative extra features.
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