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  • The barebones of the story are pretty close to the truth: a dentist in a blue collar neighborhood in south St. Louis has been intermittently killing people over a period of twenty years. Mostly the victims are husbands of women he's involved with, who he splits the insurance proceeds with. His operation starts to unravel when he assasinates the woman who owns a dental lab that he owes alot of money to. An ex-wife with whom he maintains a relationship is instrumental in bringing him down and turning him into authorities. Growing up in St. Louis, I remember this as a fascinating story, as it played out in the local news and the press, beginning when the dentist was very publicly put under investigation well before his arrest. The main problem with the TV movie is the problem I'm sure exists with all made for TV movies that tell fact-based stories: everything is "genericized" and there is no real local flavor to the story; it takes place in that parallel suburban universe where all of tv takes place even though the actual story took place in an urban locale. The actual characters were really very ordinary looking people, not beautiful Markie Post and Corbin Berenson. The actual Glennon Engelmann was a scary looking dude, which made his ability to control so many women so mysterious and fascinating. Even though it's credited as based on a book explicitly about the case, the names have all been changed, which is the tv-movie makers way of saying that this is only a "story based on fact" and not a journalistic movie that tells the story, but point for point it's a lot closer to some movies that do, even with the part of the kitty cat starting to chew up the wiretap.

    You can get an idea of the story here, but for the real flavor of the case, see the Learning Channel true crime documentary with re-enactments, entitled Deadly Dentist.
  • Stan has it all. A beautiful wife, a loving son, and a successful dental career. He is also hiding a dark secret involving murder. Whatever you do, don't book an Appointment for a Killing.

    We meet Stan, a dentist who is married to a beautiful woman named Joyce. He is involved in an insurance scheme with an accomplice (and ex-wife) named Gloria. Gloria marries men with insurance policies (and parents with insurance policies), and Stan kills the parents and the husband splitting the money with her. One day, Joyce catches Stan having an affair with Gloria and decides to break up with him. He pressures her to let him keep their large house or else he'll fight for sole custody which forces Joyce to get her own small apartment with her son. When he admits to killing a man during a night together, Joyce reaches out to the police to help her put him away. Along the way, she and the police discover that his deadly insurance schemes have been going on for over 20 years. With the apartment bugged, can Joyce get a confession out of Stan? Or will he get away with murder?

    I enjoyed the cat and mouse aspect of this made for TV film which is based off of a true story. In the film, Joyce did a very good job trying to get Stan to admit his crimes once the house was bugged. And in the finale when she herself is wearing a wire, it was a very clever way in which she got him to reveal the truth. As a movie though, this one is a bit of a slow moving almost boring film. The acting is what saves it from being a complete mess. As a viewer, I just wanted the truth to come out and to watch it play out in an hour and a half movie was a bit dry to sit through.

    Like I said, the acting is very good. Corbin Bernsen plays the successful dentist lead character, I saw similarities to his iconic horror role in The Dentist (1996). Markie Post is the true star of this one. She plays all the beats of Joyce and what she went through. We get sheer terror, but also a creative detective side and a softer side considering she shares a son with this monster. It was nice to see Jeanne Cooper who was the legendary Katherine Chancellor on The Young and the Restless for decades. She plays Stan's mother which is a good fit considering she was the real life mother of Corbin Bernsen.

    Overall, Appointment for a Killing is a very average made-for TV movie from the early 90's. It was based off a true story, which made it satisfying to see Stan get his comeuppance in the end.

    5/10
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Beyond Suspicion" (a.k.a., "Appointment for a Killing") tells the true story of a mild-mannered dentist by day and a serial killer by night. Stan "the Man" Benderman is the people's dentist, always giving his clients cut-rate service. But he is also a womanizer, a wastrel, and diabolical mass murderer.

    The best part of the film was the character of Joyce, Stan's long-suffering wife. Having caught Stan in flagrante when she walks into his dental office and observing him in the chair with Gloria, the wife begins to suspect her husband of murder as well.

    Joyce is linked up to the suave, cool-as-a-cucumber detective McNally, and her home is planted with a bug in the attempt to catch her husband in a confession. But when he proves resistant, it is Joyce's idea to record one of their bedroom encounters because he may let his guard down during their conjugal activities. So, the plan is: bug the bedroom!!!

    Although the film proceeded at a slow pace, Stan the Man is one of the most repellent creatures imaginable. He gives his little boy fatherly advice by saying, "Son, don't be so concerned about breaking the rules." And he tells one of his partners in crime, "You'll never get ahead if you have to live your life within the law."

    Stan's psychological profile is one that has conflated sex, money, and murder. He seeks above all the "thrill" out of the killing, referring to it as "the ultimate intimacy." But the sleazy St. Louis dentist finally met his match with his formidable wife Joyce, who sees to it that he has many years to contemplate his ultimate confinement in prison.
  • whpratt120 October 2006
    Markie Post,(Joyce)," Cheers" '83 TV Series, plays the wife to Corbin Bernsen,(Stan), "The Naked Ape",'06 who has a wandering eye for the ladies. However, Joyce loves his performance in bed and overlooks some of his other outside activities. Stan is a dentist and very well liked and respected by many people, especially his lady patients, who he gives discount prices for his services rendered. One day his wife Joyce walks into his office and finds her husband and a patient doing things in a chair that was very upsetting. It is from this point in the story when his wife gets the looking glass out and gets involved with Kelsey Grammar,(Ron McNally"),"The Big Empty",'03, who is a detective on the police force. This film is way too long and gets quite boring as wire tap after wire tap proceeds to go on and on and on.