Sham Shocktober continues with a vintage woman-in-peril thriller that looks to be right up my fog-shrouded alley. It’s got telephone terrorization, mysterious voices in the night, Doris Day as a middle-aged final girl, and – fuck, yeah! – my favourite actor of all time, Roddy McDowall... It’s as if someone shone a projector through my brain and filmed what came out!
One thing that really appeals to me about Midnight Lace is a subplot mentioned by some reviewers involving the contrast between Doris Day’s old apartment block (complete with one of those scary “cage” elevators) and the new block being built nearby. Yeah, I know, sounds thrilling, but bear with me... The architect responsible seems to be one of the men suspected of stalking Doris, and I’m hoping she’ll have to do some snooping around the place. Y’see, the notion of “evil buildings” has always intrigued me ever since I first saw Ghostbusters; while some films (like the Toolbox Murders remake) play fast and loose with the idea, others achieve some really creepy stuff with their empty apartments and mysteriously rearranged architecture (think Rosemary’s Baby and Hysteria).
At the very least, who doesn’t love a good Gaslight-style paranoia piece? And with the quality of this cast (which also includes Rex Harrison, Myrna Loy and John Gavin) I doubt I’ll come away disappointed. I just hope Rex doesn’t sing.