Monday, September 21, 2015


Gun to your head, which title sounds more enticing:

A Whisper To Kill

The correct answer, of course, is that they're both terribly awesome. Streaming on Amazon Prime as WhisperKill but dubbed via IMDB and its opening titles (in quotation marks, mind you) as "A Whisper To Kill," maybe it doesn't matter. I mean, who's grading the title of a 1988 made-for-TV thriller starring Loni Anderson's giant blond hair?

Quick Plot: Liz recently bought a small-town newspaper with the help of the scummy Jerry, a fellow reporter who makes her skin crawl. After turning him down at a bar, Jerry receives a threatening phone call from a whispering psycho, which naturally prompts him to exit the pub alone and get brutally (yet also bloodlessly) stabbed to death.

Liz is the natural first suspect, at least according to nomadic reporter and former Jerry pal Dan. Dan quickly takes a job at Liz's paper and in her bedroom as they begin a torrid love affair complete with an extended love scene set to Unchained Melody...


How director Christian I. Nyby II never sued is left to Unsolved Mysteries.

Maybe he was just too excited to have June Lockhart playing Loni Anderson's mom as a prim advice columnist who makes Anne Landers look like Dan Savage. Sadly, that's not nearly as much fun as it sounds, but that doesn't necessarily make WhisperKill a waste of time. Any film made between 1985 and 1994 that includes a sexy saxophone serenading us over the steamy opening credits gets more than a few bonus points from me. 

Like many of these films, WhisperKill never quite has enough fun with itself. Part of it wants to be a genuine murder mystery, teasing us with the identity of the killer by throwing suspect after suspect under fire. Sadly screenwriter John Robert Bensink isn't quite your Lifetime employed Agatha Christie, meaning we waste a lot of time on a case that never feels worth solving. There are drops of fun with the "small town-ness" of Liz's home and the competition between local papers, but nothing feels weighty enough to really matter. I guess the selling point was the romance between Anderson and Joe Penny's Dan, but considering we never really understand whether Dan is madly in love with Liz or is convinced she's a mad psycho killer, that doesn't exactly leave us drooling.
Unlike this photo, which catches drool from various sources
In other words, Criminal Passion this ain't.

High Points
A bland film can easily be redeemed by a bonkers ending...

Low Points
...Even if said bonkery doesn't quite add up to reality

Lessons Learned
A real bastard is better than a phony one

The accepted scientific definition of clinical depression is "when you sit in your room all day being weird"

Police protection is better when you can share a cheap bottle of wine and some greasy takeout food with the chubby cop minding your safety

People without resumes don’t get jobs (unless they happen to be highly experienced journalists in small towns)

Like most of the late '80s/early '90s "sexy" thrillers I tend to find on Amazon Prime streaming, WhisperKill is not, how do you normies say it? "very good." That being said, it's somewhat ridiculous, includes at least one character sporting a rat tail and punk earring, and has very big hair. For those who like that sort of thing (i.e., me and clones of me), this ain't half bad. 

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