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Mask of Murder (1985)

Rod Taylor plays Inspector Bob McLaine in this slasher flick also known as "The Investigator."

The film is set in a Canadian town, but it was filmed in Sweden -- in Stockholm and Uppsala (the hometown of the director, Arne Mattsson). There's plenty of snow on the ground, and nighttime temperatures plunged well below zero.

The crew could dress for the weather, "but Rod Taylor had to act wearing just a thin shirt and light shoes," cinematographer Tomislav Pinter said in "Rod Taylor: An Aussie in Hollywood." Pinter praised Rod's professionalism, saying, "He never created any problems and always helped the crew resolve all possible problems with his spirit and great communication skills."

Fairly early in the movie, the police corner a serial killer who's been slashing pretty young women. Chief Supt. Jonathan Rich (Christopher Lee) wants the culprit taken alive, but when gunfire erupts, Inspector McLaine blows the killer away.

That's just the beginning of the mystery, however, because the murders begin again. With Chief Rich hospitalized with a bullet wound, McLaine leads the investigation to find the copycat killer. Adding to McLaine's stress is his cheating wife (Valerie Perrine), who carrying on an affair with a detective colleague of McLaine's.

It's violent movie with a low-budget feel, but it's surprisingly satisfying, and the mystery keeps you guessing.

"The Christopher Lee Filmography," by Tom Johnson and Mark A. Miller, expresses a low opinion of the movie but praises Rod's performance:

This is a routine, depressing and predictable murder mystery that stays afloat because of the solid central performance of Rod Taylor ... Taylor constructs his character with so much conviction that [Inspector McLaine's] aberrant behavior almost seems credible.





Review at The Spinning Image cult movie site.

Christopher Lee Filmography, page about Mask of Murder (PDF)



The movie's only official home video release appears to have been on DVD in Sweden. The PAL-format DVD is in English, with Swedish subtitles that you can turn on or off.

Download full movie via MediaFire