Formula for A Murder (1985)

Rossano Brazzi
Christina Nagy
David Warbeck
Carroll Blumenberg

Martin Herbert

Vincent Man
Martin Herbert

Art Director
Julian Wilson

Film Editor
Vincent P. Thomas

Francesco di Masi

David Colby

Director of Photography
Lawrence Barkey


Joanna West (now 22) was raped and injured by a man posing as a priest when still a young girl. She is now in a wheelchair, but was never told what had happened to her, only that she had had an accident. However, she is regaining control of her life and her happiness at a nearby sports center, which is dedicated to aiding paraplegics regain their physical strength through sports. Her trainer, Craig, has fallen in love with her, and begs her to marry him. Her childhood doctor, Dr. Sternich (Rossano) warns her prospective husband that her heart is weak, and that a flashback on their honeymoon night to the brutal childhood rape could kill her. Craig promises to be careful.

Sharing Joanna's home with her is Ruth, her best friend and caretaker, who appears to be jealous of Craig's importance in her life. Joanna, who has inherited a great deal of money, plans to donate half of her estate to the Catholic Church-run sports center.

However, the priests with whom she plans to sign these papers keep disappearing, brutally murdered by a mysterious stranger. It turns out that this vicious killer is none other than Craig, who, along with Ruth, plans to murder Joanna and inherit her estate before she donates half of it. Craig intends to drive Joanna insane, by sneaking up on her at odd moments, dressed like a priest and carrying a bloody doll, which causes her to begin having nightmares of the childhood incident.

Craig instead murders Ruth, with the intention (so he says) of keeping both Joanna and her money. However, Joanna discovers Ruth's body, and, betrayed by everyone she loved, fights for her life against her brutal husband, using all of the strength and courage he had instilled in her at the sports center. Dr. Sternich, who has been worried about her all along, arrives just as she triumphs against him.

She has survived, but the nightmares that her husband resurrected within her, still continue as the movie ends.

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