After discovering that his wife is having an affair, Nicola (Treviglio) storms out of the family home. His wife Sarah decides to have a shower, and is hacked to death by an unseen assailant.
Inspector Terzi is brought in to solve the case, as he is a friend of Nicolas (who is also a policeman). Anna Berardi, a criminal psychiatrist, is enlisted by Terzi to help in the case. At first, the police believe that it is an open and shut case; a crime of passion. But, after a bit of investigation, Anna suggests that Nicola could be innocent,and that the guilty party is in fact a serial killer called Franco Tribbo, who is also known as "The Midnight Killer". Tribbo allegedly died in a fire years before, but there is some doubt to whether he really perished in the flames. More murders occur, including the death of a shoplifter whose stolen underwear has been stuffed down her throat (an obvious nod to Argento's Tenebre), and an impressive stalking sequence in a disused theatre.
Lamberto Bava is not one of my favourite directors, and he has now found a comfortable niche for himself directing cable televison movies, but this is certainly one of his best efforts (and is a far better film than his other giallos, A Blade in the Dark and Delirium). The murders are all pretty graphic, and at times Bava displays plenty of stylish touches (particulatly in the theatre scene). The identity of the killer is enough of a surprise that it makes the sexually threatening nature of some of the early murders rather puzzling (and it is also faintly ridicolous to say the least!!).
All the characters are affable enough, with Malco and D'obici making a charming pair that you genuinely care about.
The story itself is totally unoriginal and derivative, but outside of Argento's output, it is certainly one of the best giallos produced outside of the seventies, and is enough to make you wonder exactly why Bava sank to the depths of films like Graveyard Disturbance.
A word on Claudio Simonetti's score; its one of his best and the theme is available on CD in Italy and well worth tracking down.
All in all, by no means an essential purchase, but you could do a lot worse than tracking down Lamberto Bava's best giallo.