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CHARLES BRONSON CANNON CONTINUES WITH '10 TO MIDNIGHT'

Title: 10 to Midnight Year: 1983 Rates: ***1/2

Charles Bronson's Cannon Films were a total nightmare for those politically-correct critics who graded on their own flat curves, and 10 TO MIDNIGHT is surely no different... In fact it's probably the most hated of all...

That being a pure exploitation-driven nightmarish body count horror (during the Slasher genre craze) masquerading as a cop thriller about a young, mostly naked serial killer who, a hybrid of Ted Bundy and Richard Speck, kills sexy young girls and eventually sexy young nurses... 

Making Bronson's Detective Leo Kessler, fitfully morphed from a cop to some kind of DEATH WISH style lawman-vigilante, not only do his usual trope-laden questioning of the liberal court system ("giving more rights to the criminals than their victims") but taking matters into his own hands in order to, you guessed it, "save the taxpayers money."  

And as they say/so the cliche saying/excuse goes... that cops can't be everywhere at once... 

But that's not true for the second half of 10 TO MIDNIGHT, infamously bearing a title that supposedly has nothing to do with the plot: Then again, while there's never an actual clock beginning at 11:50 pm and striking at 12 sharp, Bronson winds up in a short-spanned race-against-time urgency (midnight representing time running out) since his daughter, played by super-cute near-future BEVERLY HILLS COP starlet Lisa Eilbacher, is one of several nurses... including the late gorgeous Kelly Preston... who Brad Davis's younger brother Gene eventually sets his lusts on...

The late Kelly Preston in 10 to Midnight

The best scenes occur before the cops... with by-the-book rookie played by Bronson's DEATH HUNT co-star Andrew Stevens... moving in...

And in that it's purely Gene Davis's trashy ride as he goes from one doomed beauty to the next in an ultra-violent, anything-goes fashion (one scene taking place in the woods like a slasher flick) far more suited to the lower-budgeted 1970's exploitation drive-in circuit. 

And given Cannon Films miraculous achievement of making their own low budget features look as crisp and glossy as almost any mainstream programmer, the stalking and slaying of nude, doomed, screaming starlets feels that much more crass, crude, dated and inappropriate. Or you can call it daring. Either way, 10 TO MIDNIGHT, with a tables-turned last act involving Bronson stalking the stalker in a DEATH WISH fashion, has always been a cult favorite among the hit-or-miss lot of Bronson/Cannon features despite Roger Ebert giving it zero stars i.e. an amputated thumb's down.

Kelly Preston in 10 to MIDNIGHT

One of our favorite cinema cuties has Lisa Eilbacher in 10 TO MIDNIGHT
Katrina Parish used as an alibi for Gene Davis in 10 TO MIDNIGHT w/ Shawn Schepps & Lynette Harrison
Gene Davis and Katrina Parish in 10 TO MIDNIGHT with Shawn Schepps
A chagrined Charles Bronson and Andrew Stevens in 10 TO MIDNIGHT
Jeana Keough looking exploitation-fine in 10 TO MIDNIGHT
Jeana Keough grabs a midnight snack/last supper in 10 TO MIDNIGHT
Charles Bronson with youngsters Andrew Stevens and Gene Davis in 10 TO MIDNIGHT
Right to left w/ Katrina Parish in 10 TO MIDNIGHT with Shawn Schepps
Right to left has Katrina Parish in 10 TO MIDNIGHT with Shawn Schepps
Lisa Eilbacher  dons the 1980's aerobic look in 10 TO MIDNIGHT
Lisa Eilbacher drinks to 10 TO MIDNIGHT
Right to Left has Katrina Parish in 10 TO MIDNIGHT with Shawn Schepps
Jeana Keough with Charles Bronson and Andrew Stevens in 10 TO MIDNIGHT
Jeana Keough with full lips and beauty in 10 TO MIDNIGHT
Subtle yet immense beauty  Lisa Eilbacher with Andrew Stevens in 10 TO MIDNIGHT
Right to Left has Katrina Parish in 10 TO MIDNIGHT with Shawn Schepps
Right to Left has Katrina Parish in 10 TO MIDNIGHT with Shawn Schepps
Gene Davis stalking hotties after Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in 10 TO MIDNIGHT
Gene Davis with Katrina Parish in 10 TO MIDNIGHT with Shawn Schepps

Gene Davis with Katrina Parish in 10 TO MIDNIGHT with Shawn Schepps
Gene Davis with Katrina Parish in 10 TO MIDNIGHT with Shawn Schepps
Katrina Parish in 10 TO MIDNIGHT with Shawn Schepps
Jeana Keough with her unicorn doll in 10 TO MIDNIGHT
Jeana Keough looking exploitation-fine in 10 TO MIDNIGHT
Andrew Stevens takes no bull in 10 TO MIDNIGHT
Bruce Lee keeps an eye on Charles Bronson in 10 TO MIDNIGHT
Lisa Eilbacher , Andrew Stevens and Charles Bronson in 10 TO MIDNIGHT
One of the all-time cute actresses  Lisa Eilbacher in 10 TO MIDNIGHT
Lisa Eilbacher  in a cute poseless pose in 10 TO MIDNIGHT
Cannon Films reunion of Charles Bronson and Gene Davis in MESSENGER OF DEATH (1988)
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