Dead of Winter (1987) Poster

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  • Struggling New York actress Katie McGovern (Mary Steenburgen) wins a role in a movie in which she will replace previous actress Julie Rose (also played by Steenburgen), who looks a lot like her but who suffered a nervous breakdown and cannot complete the movie. Katie is driven by Mr Murray (Roddy McDowall) to the remote country house of his employer, Doctor Joseph Lewis (Jan Rubes), where they shoot a test reel. While they wait for a winter storm to blow over, Katie begins to notice that things don't quite add up, such as the telephones being dead, the car not starting, and the disappearance of all her IDs and credit cards. In fact, it would appear that she's being held prisoner, that she is caught in the middle of a blackmail plot, and that her very life is in danger. Edit

  • Dead of Winter is actually a remake of the 1945 film My Name Is Julia Ross (1945), which was based on the 1941 novel The Woman in Red by English crime writer Lucy Beatrice Malleson [1899-1973], writing under the pen name Anthony Gilbert. The remake was scripted by Marc Shmuger and Mark Malone. Edit

  • Katie tricks Murray and Doctor Lewis into thinking that she escaped outside, so they go looking for her. Katie backtracks through the house and runs into Evelyn, who believes Katie to be her sister Julie Rose. Katie tries to convince her that she is not Julie Rose, but Evelyn doesn't buy it and tries to kill her. Katie ends up killing Evelyn instead and stashes the body. She then dons Evelyn's clothes. When Murray and Lewis return to the house, Murray leads "Evelyn" to Katie's bedroom in search of Katie. However, Murray notices the bandage on her hand and realizes that "Evelyn" is really Katie. Before he can say or do anything, Katie stabs him in the neck, killing him immediately. She then goes back downstairs where she runs into Lewis, but he also realizes that "Evelyn" is really Katie and gets out of his chair to slowly chase her back upstairs. They eventually wind up in the attic, where Katie stabs the doctor in the back and lures him into a bear trap that she took off the wall and set up on the floor. Doctor Lewis dies just as Katie's husband Rob (William Russ) and her brother Roland (Mark Malone) find her in the attic. In the final scene, the three of them drive away from the house, Katie looking like she's still in a daze over everything that happened. Edit

  • Murray right away noticed the bandage on her hand. There are three possibilities as to how/when Dr Lewis figured it out: (1) he suspected all along because he knew Katie had to be in the house somewhere, (2) he saw Evelyn's body in the window seat, or (3) Katie's reaction when the piano began playing clued him. Edit

Spoilers

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The FAQ items below may give away important plot points.

  • Julie Rose witnessed her sister Evelyn (also played by Steenburgen) murder her rich husband. When Julie became a patient of Doctor Lewis, he took advantage of the information and began blackmailing Evelyn. Evelyn had Julie murdered, and the doctor was forced to hire lookalike Katie McGovern to play the part of Julie so that Lewis could continue the blackmail scheme. Added note: The Dr. says Evelyn that Julie Rose survived the attempted murder, and that is why they had to cut off Katie's finger. The killer had cut off Julie Rose's finger to prove to Evelyn he had done the job. Edit

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