Heart of Midnight (1988)

Carol (Jennifer Jason Leigh) has had more than one nervous breakdown, which immediately qualifies for her to be the heroine of a female-centric giallo. Now, she’s inherited the Midnight — a broken-down club that for some reason is continually being remodelled despite the fact that the neighborhood that it’s located in is shady at best — from an uncle that she doesn’t remember.

Her mother (Brenda Vaccaro!?!) just wants her to sell the place, but Carol doesn’t just decide to reopen the place, she moves in and discovers that the Midnight was once the kind of club that people visit to take care of some very special needs.

On the first night that she stays at the Midnight, three men break in thinking that she wants them to. While the two white men assault her — including Steve Buscemi — the black man amongst them tries to stop them, which means that the cops shoot him, making this the sole moment of reality in a movie that exists in another plane.

The cops learn of her mental illness and start to not believe her, yet promise to send Lieutenant Sharpe, who she thinks is Peter Coyote, but he’s perhaps a ghost inside the club? Who can say — all we know is that the real cop is soon killed by something inside the haunted bar.

By the end of this, Carol starts to realize that what she is seeing are the past memories and things that happened inside this club, moments trapped inside these walls that she must move back to heal herself.

Also — Frank Stallone shows up!

Writer and director Matthew Chapman should make more movies. He hasn’t directed since 2011’s The Ledge but he has written a few scripts. That said, the great-great grandson of Charles Darwin seems busy writing books and being the founder and president of ScienceDebate.org, which advocates that presidential candidates hold a live debate solely dedicated to science and technology issues.

I love that so many reviews complain about how odd and how hard to understand this movie is. When viewed when wearing black gloves and through a glass of J&B, it perfectly adds up.

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