The Kill Off (1989)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Post-Noir (Modern Noir), Crime Drama  |   Release Date - Oct 19, 1990 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 110 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Mark Deming

Based on a book by the great crime novelist Jim Thompson, this dark thriller is set in a small coastal community in New Jersey, where the only action in town is a run-down nightclub called Pavillion. The club's owner, Pete (Jackson Sims), can barely make the payroll for Rags the bartender (William Russell), Myra the barmaid (Jorjan Fox) (who is also Pete's daughter), and clean-up man Ralph (Steve Monroe), so in a bid to bring in more customers, Pete hires a stripper, Danny Lee (Cathy Haase). Danny Lee's act soon turns Ralph's head, which is not good news for his wife Luanne (Loretta Gross). Twenty years older than her husband, Luanne is unable to get out of bed (though the doctor says that there's no medical explanation for this), and while she grudging allows Ralph to sleep with other women, the notion that he might fall in love with someone else sends her into a fit of rage. Luanne's greatest talent (and her most potent weapon) is her gift for gossip, and when she begins to suspect that Ralph might want to leave her for Danny Lee, she starts spreading ugly rumors that have just enough basis in fact to stick. Before long, Luanne has circulated the word that Myra is a drug addict and that her boyfriend Bobbie (Andrew Lee Barrett) is pushing dope at the club, that Pete had an incestuous relationship with Myra, and that Rags was responsible for the death of his family in a car wreck. As this bitter misinformation sweeps through the town, Luanne turns up dead, but this proves to be the beginning and not the end of a wave of violence and ugliness. The Kill-Off was one of three Jim Thompson adaptations to reach the screen within the space of a year, along with The Grifters and After Dark, My Sweet.



accident, addiction, alcoholism, bar [pub], bartender, bedridden, business, car, daughter, doctor/nurse, drugs, Eastern-US, employee, extramarital-affair, family, gossip, grudge, handsome, identity, janitor, jealousy, killing, love, love-triangle, maniac, misery, nasty, owner, problems, profit, rage, rape, relentlessness, resort, revenge, ruination, shore, sleep, son, stripper, suicide, Summer, telephone, town, violence, wife, book, time, woman