Adamantium Bullet
17Oct/18

31 Days Of Horror: THE FIRST DEADLY SIN

For the next 31 days, we here at Adamantium Bullet will be reviewing one horror film a day leading up to Halloween. Each film will be horrific, terrifying, chilling, pulse-pounding, or flat-out awful. All will be endured in honor of the season. Expect SPOILERS. Welcome to Adamantium Bullet’s “All 80s” edition of 31 DAYS OF HORROR.

In this episode, J Bryant and AngieBee discuss the slick 1980 serial killer pic THE FIRST DEADLY SIN starring Frank Sinatra, Faye Dunaway, Brenda Vaccaro, Joe Spinell, and, in his super short screen debut, Bruce Willis.

New York City homicide detective Edward Delaney is called to the scene of a brutal murder. A man was struck from behind, the back of his skull punctured and crushed with an unknown weapon. The victim wasn’t robbed, and there’s no known motive. The commissioner appoints Delaney to head up a clandestine task force, but soon this effort ignites an internecine war of departmental backstabbing. Distracted by the serious illness of his wife, Barbara, Delaney begins his secret investigation. Then the killer claims another victim—slain in the exact same way, leaving the strange puncture wound. As more young men are found murdered, Delaney starts putting the pieces together. Soon, he’s faced with a cop’s dilemma: He knows who the killer is, but the man is untouchable. That’s when Delaney lays a trap to bring a monster to justice…

Four. While that plot synopsis might lead you to believe THE FIRST DEADLY SIN is an A-list slasher of sorts, it is not. This is a classy police procedural with more drama and legwork than kills and thrills.

The winner of this category all depends on how you like your death. If you like your on-screen deaths extremely slow and painful, Barbara (Faye Dunaway) wins with her feature-length deathbed scene. Yes, you read that right, a feature-length deathbed scene. Academy Award winner Faye Dunaway plays a character in THE FIRST DEADLY SIN who spends the entire runtime in bed dying of a rare kidney disease. That’s about as slow and painful as it gets. If you like your on-screen deaths more to the point, you can’t go wrong with Edward Delaney (Frank Sinatra) shooting an unarmed serial killer in the f*cking head. That’s about as to point as it gets.

Daniel Blank (David Dukes) goes fully nude at several points during the movie. Outside of that, you get nothing.

The entire third act centers around Delaney, a New York City homicide detective, stalking and ultimately murdering Blank, the guy he assumes is the killer he’s been hunting. Yes, Delaney has a significant amount of evidence against Blank, but it was all obtained illegally. Yes, Delaney could’ve probably linked the times and dates of the killings to Blank, but all that information was obtained through sketchy methods, and it ties back to the illegally obtained evidence. So what’s a NYC cop to do when he can’t nab his killer through legal means? Well, apparently stalk and flat-out murder the guy. Thrilling stuff for a movie, but troubling as hell for real life.

See SIGNATURE MOMENT, as well as the bit where Delaney breaks into the apartment of Calvin Samtell (Jon DeVries) without a warrant or probable cause.

THE FIRST DEADLY SIN is peppered with casual homophobia, sexism, and racism, which was a product of time it was made, but f*ck that noise. It didn’t add anything to the film other than some unnecessary nastiness. That said, the real “WTF?!?” MOMENT goes to Delaney thinking he’ll get away with just up-and-up murdering some hot shot member of high society. Yes, Delaney used an untraceable gun, but he told his buddies at the precinct that he thought Blank was the killer and that he would do anything to stop him. Yes, Delaney’s buddies at the precinct could’ve covered for him, but that wouldn’t have gotten rid of the fingerprints he left all over the apartment, or the doorman (MANIAC star Joe Spinell in memorable cameo) who could clearly identify him, or the new police chief (Anthony Zerbe) who had it out for him. Were this real life, Delaney would’ve been arrested shortly after his wife died, been charged with the murder with Daniel Blank, then would’ve gotten away with it because cops in the United States ALWAYS get away with it. Social Commentary Burn!

> Brian G. Hutton replaced Roman Polanski as director. Polanski had been hired as director but the Columbia Pictures studio dropped him when the scandal broke about his statutory rape charges. Second billed lead star of the film Faye Dunaway had previously worked with Polanski on CHINATOWN.

> Final leading role in a cinema movie of star actor-singer Frank Sinatra.

> Debut film of actor Bruce Willis as an extra.

> The unique murder weapon formed a significant part of both the movie and source novel's promotional artwork. The instrument, as per its image and description in the picture, is a black-handled silver-topped ice axe with serrated teeth.

> Scenes filmed with Frank Nastasi playing another suspect were cut just before previews to keep the running time under two hours.

> This took a long time to hit cinema screens. It was first announced by Columbia as a Don Siegel movie way back on 1974.

> The USELESS KNOWLEDGE portion of this review was sourced from IMDB.

Posted by AngieBee

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