11 user 32 critic

Violent Midnight (1963)

An axe murderer is loose in a small New England town.


Richard Hilliard


Robin Miller (screenplay), Richard Hilliard (from an original story by) | 1 more credit »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Lee Philips ... Elliot Freeman
Shepperd Strudwick ... Adrian Benedict
Jean Hale ... Carol Bishop
Lorraine Rogers Lorraine Rogers ... Alice St. Clair
Dick Van Patten ... Police Lt. Palmer
Sheila Forbes Sheila Forbes ... Janet 'Lolita' Terhune
James Farentino ... Charlie Perone
Kaye Elhardt Kaye Elhardt ... Dolores Martello
Sylvia Miles ... Silvia (as Silvia Miles)
Day Tuttle Day Tuttle ... Mr. Arthur Melbourne
Mike O'Dowd Mike O'Dowd ... Max - Adrian's Chauffeur
Mike Keene Mike Keene ... Police Inspector Grey
Allen Joseph
Molly Scott Molly Scott
Ruth Volner Ruth Volner


Because his family has a history of mental illness, Elliot Freeman, a war hero turned portrait painter, is suspected of sadistically murdering two beautiful young women. Freeman knew both of the victims--Dolores Martello, an artist's model, and Alice St. Clair, a student at a nearby college--and he sets out to find the killer. At different times during his unofficial investigation, Freeman comes to suspect four men: Professor Melbourne, a peeping tom; Charles Perone, a motorcycle hoodlum; Adrian Benedict, a sophisticated lawyer; and a deaf-mute chauffeur. Freeman finally learns that his own sister, Lynn, jealous of the attentions that he paid to other women, committed the murders. Written by TCM.Com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Earthy, wicked shocker!




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Release Date:

29 July 1963 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Black Autumn See more »


Box Office


$42,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Del Tenny Productions See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Film itself bears 1962 copyright but earliest documented release dates (to date) are 1963. See more »


Black Autumn
Arranged and Sung by Molly Scott
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User Reviews

Yes, We Have NO Axed Murders
21 May 2015 | by billoneil2See all my reviews

Sinister Cinema carries this title and like IMDb, they insist it contains "axe murders galore." In fact, there is not one single axe murder in the entire film. The first murder is by shotgun and the rest are by kitchen knife and filmed in such a tame and un-graphic way as to make it sometimes unclear whether the murder actually took place.

This is an extremely low budget and amateur attempt at a murder mystery. Probably due to budgetary limitations (and the film maker's inexperience) it is shot so thin one can easily see the difficulties the editor had putting it together.

While I can forgive the lack of funds it is harder to excuse the script. You will know who the guilty party is almost immediately. Throughout the film, clues are presented in such an obvious and over-stated manner as to leave no doubt in your mind. Consequently, there is no "big surprise" when the killer's identity is revealed.

Another problem is the premise itself. The movie is clearly aimed at skirt-chasing heterosexual males who presumably accept a virtually all-female cast constantly trying to seduce the male lead. The first 14 minutes of the film are a tedious exercise in redundancy and implausibility, as our hero is flirted with by no less than six wannabe vamps.

All these things aside, there are some pleasures to be had here. Lee Phillips, while completely wasted in such a poorly written role, nevertheless is talented enough to make his scenes plausible. A young James Farentino also shows promise in an early part as a thug. Although made in 1963, there is an abundance of late 1950s mood and style on display, which would completely evaporate by the following year when the producers made "Horror of Party Beach."

A roughly-hewn, crude movie likely to disappoint you if you're searching for a forgotten-gem type film.

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