Dead of Winter

Struggling actress Katie McGovern answers a trade ad for an independent film and is auditioned by a Mr. Murray (Roddy McDowall).  Murray is immediately taken by her and offers her $3000 to audition at the film’s backer’s house.  Prior to that, we witnessed a young woman being murdered in her car on New Year’s Eve.

Katie travels with Murray through a horrendous winter storm to the house of Dr. Lewis who is the money man behind the production.  She passes the audition after Katie is made up to look like the actress who has left the production.  However Lewis and Murray have other plans and so begins the game…

Dead of Winter has drifted into obscurity and I must confess it slipped past my radar, although I think I can remember the VHS cover at one of my local video shops many moons ago.  It’s nicely put together with a few nice twists and the three main leads are great.  Steenburgen is an accomplished actress and gives her awe as poor old downtrodden Katie.  Jan Rubes as Dr. Lewis is terrific with his scary accent and somehow manages to creep me out just travelling around in his wheelchair.  In my opinion the film however is totally stolen by Roddy McDowall as Mr. Murray.  McDowall travels the fine line between sinister and camp.  His mannerisms are superb and every now and then, a little bit of Fright Night’s Peter Vincent creeps in to his performance.

Dead of Winter is a little gem of a thriller with some horror’ish moments and well worth a bash.

  • Starring Roddy McDowall  Mary Steenburgen  Jan Rubes  William Russ
  • Director Arthur Penn
  • Distributor 88 Films