|THE ZODIAC KILLER (director: Tom Hanson; screenwriter: Manny Cordoza/Sam Cantrell; cinematographers: Wilson Hong/Robert Birchall ; editor: ; music: Dennis Thomann; cast: Bob Jones (Grover), Hal Reed (Jerry), Doodles Weaver (Doc), Ray Lynch (Sgt. Pittman ), Tom Pittman (Officer Heller), Manny Cordoza (Hippy), Paul Avery (Reporter); Runtime: 87; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Tom Hanson; Something Weird Video; 1971)|
by Dennis Schwartz
Hanson ("A Ton of Grass Goes to Pot"),
a former pizza store owner and actor, directs this
exploitation serial killer flick based on the random
gruesome real murders in San Francisco in the late
1960s and early 1970s, where the maniac killer, known
as the Zodiac Killer, is the killer still at large.
The purpose of the film, according to the director,
was to set a trap for the infamous killer, by setting
up stakeouts to identify the killer in the San
Francisco theater where the film opened. Too bad
it's such a crappy film, one that offered the police
no help and failed in its mission to capture the
written by hack writers Manny Cordoza and
Sam Cantrell, who supply atrocious dialogue. The
murders are incompetently filmed by the inexperienced
director, and the film is watchable for all the wrong
reasons--some people just seem drawn to train wrecks.
annoying scare tactics, it opens with a narrator, a
real reporter, Paul Avery, from the San
Francisco Chronicle, who actually covered the
killings. He is hired by the filmmaker to be a
consultant, and tells us the movie is a public service
announcement. He then warns us that "Somebody sitting
next to you or behind you has killed." We are also
reminded that the film is based on a true story and
the killer is still on the loose.
main suspects are a mild-mannered
Satan-worshipping mailman named Jerry (Hal Reed) and
a bald violent misogynist trucker named Grover (Bob
Jones). Jerry contents himself to staying home alone
nights with his pet rabbits, while Grover, a loser,
dons a toupee and spends most nights trying to pick
up chicks at night spots.
Zodiac murders include the
stabbing of a pair of lovers, the killing of a
waitress while serving rabbit stew, the killer
dressed in a black hood repeatedly stabbing to
death a sun bather, the shooting of a a cabbie in
the head, a young girl on a bike stabbed to death
(which never happened in real) and an old lady
fatally hit with a spare tire.
is the weirdo who hears voices in his head and murders
in order to collect slaves to serve him in the
afterlife. The psycho prowls lovers' lanes and makes
taunting calls to the police and raves about such
things as "Atlantis shall rise again! I am the super
an ugly watch, further made more ugly by its
anti-female tone and in being so pointless.
David Fincher made in 2007 a decent Zodiac killer film called Zodiac. It was a much more accurate film than this ill-advised mess.
REVIEWED ON 4/6/2015 GRADE: C-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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