The Hillside Strangler

Overview

A real-life series of killings that held Los Angeles, CA, in the grip of fear during the late '70s provides the inspiration for this tense crime drama. Kenneth Bianchi C. Thomas Howell is a nebbishy security guard who lives with his mother in Rochester, NY, and dreams of becoming a police officer. After Bianchi's application to join the Rochester police is turned town, he takes his mother's advice and moves out to Glendale, CA, where she arranges for him to stay with his cousin, Angelo Buono Nicholas Turturro, ...
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Overview

A real-life series of killings that held Los Angeles, CA, in the grip of fear during the late '70s provides the inspiration for this tense crime drama. Kenneth Bianchi C. Thomas Howell is a nebbishy security guard who lives with his mother in Rochester, NY, and dreams of becoming a police officer. After Bianchi's application to join the Rochester police is turned town, he takes his mother's advice and moves out to Glendale, CA, where she arranges for him to stay with his cousin, Angelo Buono Nicholas Turturro, who works in auto repair. When he's unable to get a position with the Glendale Police Department, Bianchi steps outside the law and, claiming to have a degree in psychology and a license to practice, sets up shop as a counselor. While Bianchi never had much luck with women in Rochester, Buono gives him some advice and sets him up on a few dates; soon Bianchi has a string of girlfriends, though things become complicated when one of his steady girls, Claire Shelton Allison Lange, becomes pregnant and moves in with him. As Bianchi becomes increasingly obsessed with sex, he and his cousin join forces to set up a prostitution ring, which quickly earns them the enmity of a group of career criminals. When Bianchi and Buono discover that they have been double crossed by one of the hookers in their stable, the two men rape and murder the woman in the back of a car; Bianchi discovers he enjoys the thrill of killing, and soon he and Buono begin committing a string of sexually tinged murders throughout the Los Angeles area, with the press soon dubbing the culprit "The Hillside Strangler." The Hillside Strangler was one of two identically titled films based on the same true story that were released in 2004; the other was directed by Chris Fisher and starred Clifton Collins Jr. and Tomas Arana as Bianchi and Buono.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Buchanan
While it may not be as disturbingly potent as director John McNaughton's masterful Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, director Chuck Parello's grim recounting of the real-life murder spree that terrified the citizens of Los Angeles during the late '70s does surpass the majority of recent of serial killer-themed releases (Gacy and Ed Gein, just to name a few) in terms of both artistic quality and vision -- not to mention quality of acting, thanks to a truly unnerving performance by underrated actor Nicholas Turturro. As the sociopathic catalyst for the merciless killing spree, Turturro's cold and unflinching cruelty propels the film forward as C. Thomas Howell's menacing milquetoast grows increasingly comfortable with his newfound celebrity status. Though The Hillside Strangler does not shy away from the horrific torture of the duo's ill-fated victims, it also doesn't dwell on them. The issue of how much to actually show and how much to leave to an audience's imagination has long been a point of controversy within the realm of fact-based crime and horror films, and even in the unrated version of The Hillside Strangler we see Parello exercising some restraint. This doesn't make the nightmarish acts committed by the pair any easier to watch though -- and when all is said and done, the fact that these heinous acts were actually committed and that real people did suffer may still be too unnerving for many folks to handle.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/9/2004
  • UPC: 807839001198
  • Original Release: 2004
  • Rating:

  • Source: Tartan Video
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 1:38:00
  • Format: DVD

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