Dead of Winter (1987)
An actress desperate for work takes a job at a remote mansion.
On New Years Eve, Julie Rose parks her car at the St. Clair Avenue depot. She walks into the depot and unlocks a locker, takes a key from that locker and unlocks another one before pulling out a leather bag full of money. She drives away and is followed by another car. She is pulled over by a Highway Patrolman at a checkpoint who notices her right headlight is out. He checks her license before letting her go and telling her to stay sober. Her car radio starts playing Auld Lang Syne and New Year's Eve Reveler and his date yell Happy New Year to her through her car window. She goes to a payphone and makes a call and tells the person on the other end that she has the money. She goes back to her car and is strangled to death by a Killer who then cuts off her left ring finger.
In New York City, Katie McGovern wakes up in bed next to Rob Sweeney. She tells him that she has an audition and as he starts to kiss her, she reminds him that Roland McGovern is sleeping in the bed next to them. She goes to her audition for 890 Studios and is told by Woman at Audition that her roommate went to her audition and said the pay is good and Mr. Murray was nice to her. Katie's audition is next and Murray seems shocked when he sees her. He asks her to turn to the side and put her hair up and decides Katie is perfect for the role. He takes her to dinner and shows her a newspaper article about Julie Rose's assault on the director, Louis Rockwood Phillips, of The Plum Group's untitled film. He tells her Julie walked off the set and they need her to fill in for Julie. He tells her that she will need to go to Upstate New York for a couple of days to film a short video scene and she accepts. She goes back to her apartment to pack and Rob asks her a bunch of questions about the job and Murray. Before leaving, she asks Rob if she gave him the phone number of where she is going to be staying. As Katie gets into Murray's car, Rob takes a photo of Murray.
Murray tells Katie about Dr. Joseph Lewis, who he says is the producer of the film. They stop to get gas and Gas Jock gives Murray a free bag of two goldfish. They arrive at a mansion during a fierce storm and she meets Dr. Lewis. He takes her on a tour of the mansion and warns her that the mansion has mice. She asks to use the phone, but it doesn't work and Dr. Lewis tells her the storm probably knocked a phone line out. Dr. Lewis shows Katie a photo of Julie, and Katie marvels at how close in appearance they are to each other. He tells her that Julie had a nervous breakdown and hands Katie a script of what she will say during her video audition. Katie puts the goldfish in a wine glass in her room. Dr. Lewis points out how dull Murray's knife is and Murray sharpens it. The next morning, the car won't start. Murray cuts and dyes Katie's hair to match that of Julie's. They film the scene and later that night, Murray drives out of town with the tape and drops it off at the mansion of Evelyn. Evelyn watches the tape, which includes an extra part where Dr. Lewis tells her the game continues.
While walking around in Dr. Lewis' room, Katie finds photos of Julie dead. Dr. Lewis wheels into his room and Katie accuses him of lying to her about Julie. He tells her that Julie committed suicide, but there is nothing else they didn't tell her. Rob calls the number Katie left him, but it doesn't work. He calls the operator who tells him that there is no area code with that number. Dr. Lewis tells Katie that his automatic piano turns on whenever his heart rate starts to get too high. Katie looks into the fireplace and sees her driver's license burning in it. She goes to her room and finds all of her identification missing from her wallet. Katie tries to use the phone again and finds the phone cord cut. During the evening, Katie tries to escape, but collapses outside from the cold weather and is caught by Murray. She is brought back to the mansion and given a sedative. She stumbles to her room and locks the door. Murray practices sewing and during the night, he sneaks into Katie's room through a secret entrance behind the mirror. The next morning, one of the goldfish is dead and Katie wakes up with her left ring finger amputated. She finds Murray's cigarette ash by the mirror and finds the secret entryway. She uses it to go into the attic and finds a working phone. She calls Rob and gives him some details on where she might be. She calls the police and tells them that she is in Dr. Lewis' house. She pulls back some blankets revealing Julie's body underneath and is then caught by Murray.
She is brought downstairs and Dr. Lewis tells her about Julie and Evelyn, who murdered her rich husband. He continues that Julie knew about the murder and as a patient told him about it. He then came up with the plan to blackmail Evelyn. The doorbell rings and Katie runs to Officer Mullavy and Officer Huntley and asks for their help. Dr. Lewis tells them that Katie is a patient of his and she cut her own finger off. Katie tells them about Julie's body in the attic and Mullavy has Huntley check in the attic. Huntley checks the attic and finds nothing and he and Mullavy leave. Katie is brought to her room and she finds Julie's corpse in her bed. Rob and Roland drive to try and find Katie. Katie is drugged and shown to Evelyn before being brought back to her room. Evelyn has a meeting with Dr. Lewis and pulls out an ice pick from her purse. She pulls out a locker key and tosses it towards Dr. Lewis. As she is about to stab Dr. Lewis, Murray comes into the room. Rob and Roland go to the station and are given a bag of goldfish by Gas Jock and Rob remembers what Katie told him about the goldfish.
Katie uses snow around the window to revive herself from the drugs she is on. Dr. Lewis and Evelyn hear a commotion from upstairs and Dr. Lewis sends Murray after Katie. While Dr. Lewis and Murray are searching for Katie outside, she comes out from the mirror entry and Evelyn sees her. Evelyn tries to kill her with the ice pick and they fight. Rob shows Mullavy the photos he took when Katie left and he mentions how she said they cut off her finger. Dr. Lewis and Murray return and see Katie, who is disguised as Evelyn. As Murray and Katie are searching the house, Murray notices the bandage on Katie's hand and she stabs him through the hand and throat, killing him. Dr. Lewis is about to find Evelyn's body when Katie walks into the room. The piano starts to play and Dr. Lewis notices Katie reacting to it. He realizes that she is not Evelyn, but Katie and starts to attack her. He pours out the glass with the last goldfish and steps on it. He chases her to the attic and strikes at the body of Julie, who he believes to be Katie. Katie stabs him in the back and he steps into a large bear trap and dies. The attic door opens and Rob walks up to Katie who is in shock. Rob and Katie get into Mullavy and Huntley's police car and they leave.