Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Zodiac Killer 1971 ** ½

Dir: Tom Hanson

Stars: Hal Reed, Bob Jones, Ray Lynch, Tom Pittman

This is a textbook hit-and-miss B. There are some great killings by the killer. He stops to help an old lady whose car has stalled, but then kills her by slamming her head in the hood and jumping up and down on top of it. Also amusing is when he sends a sleeping old man in a rolling chair down an inclined street to his demise. Something that makes the movie especially odd is the very uneven performances…some deliveries are not even at read-through level, seriously. Which is part of the fun of exploiters. The point of the film is that anyone you see could be a killer, and this concept is related by the voiceover of the killer, which is quite well done and creepy. The striking-looking killer is shown going around doing a lot of ordinary things, even being helpful to people, although occasionally people are creeped out by his effusiveness. These scenes tend to pile up to the point of seeming just like filler, but that’s also part of the fun of exploitation movies: randomness and irrelevancy. Another killing scene I enjoyed was of him stabbing a girl in an American flag bikini. Ah, symbolism. Exploitation movies are interesting to me because of how they depict some of the most horrible things that can possibly happen, and the truly dark nature of man…and at the same time, they’re usually so silly. It’s just a very compelling dichotomy I can’t seem to resist, so why try? That extra half star I’m giving because of the creative beginning and end titles.


  1. I had never heard of this one! Thanks for the write up.

  2. Oh, you're welcome, sir, it's always good to know I can let someone else with similar interests know about something. I'm generally more into the supernatural side of retro horror, as opposed to slasher and serial killer, but I definitely can enjoy a movie with hilarious deaths. I love the rampage in Silent Night, Deadly Night 2, for instance. "Garbage Day!"