Monday, January 24, 2011

Weird Killers 2: The Zodiac Killer (1971)

The only thing scarier than a fake killer is a real killer.  This Drive-In film decided to milk that idea to make a quick buck.  For you younger readers, I'll give you a basic overview of the infamous Zodiac Killer.  A man went around killing people in the streets with a gun, except for when he did it in the daylight with a knife.  Yeah, there's some debate over whether it was a single guy or multiple people.  The killer(s) sent out letters detailing the crimes in a weird code that was related to the Zodiac symbols, hence the name.  His legacy has been cemented due to two things: the fact that he was never caught and being portrayed as the villain in Dirty Harry.  That's a good film that waited a while to cover the guy, while this one wanted to strike while the iron had blood on it.  How do you make a film about an anonymous serial killer?  By giving him an identity, slapping logic in the face Superfly-style!  This is going to be interesting- that is assured.  Get out your horoscopes as we go to meet...
The film begins with a bit of dialog from the famous reporter threatened by the Zodiac Killer in a letter.  It's funny because it just happened!  The film proper begins with a woman walking down the street and being killed.  We then get a man sitting in his car and being shot too.  Who are they?  The movie never mentions these events, so let's move on...
We are introduced to a pair of people here, both of whom seem really fake.  One is a bitter, angry old man, while the other is a bitter, angry mailman.  Just to note: this movie was made long before the 'going postal' cliche.  It's just as stupid though.  One of them is obviously The Zodiac Killer, which just goes against the whole 'unsolved crime' thing.  Gee- I wonder if it's this guy...
His buddy is a big Red Herring and makes a big fuss by yelling and screaming.  He eventually gets into a police stand-off, whereupon he claims to be The Zodiac Killer.  They shoot him and he dies.  This angers the real guy who is, shock of all shocks, the mailman.  I totally didn't see that obvious thing coming.
The film attempts to recreate some of the alleged murders by the famous killer.  That's not creepy at all, especially since these things happened only a couple of years earlier.  They even do the oft-debated 'Zodiac Killer in costume' scene reported to the Police.  Uh oh.
The drama is killed, however, when the masked man nearly slips walking down the hill!  Was that the best take you had?  After killing the duo with a knife (no gun anymore from hereon out), he walks back to his car and uses a phone booth- still in costume!  He takes his mask off while he talks on the phone- even better!
After this, he pretty much just goes on a series of random killings.  No rhyme, reason or letters.  You just wanted to film random killings, but thought that the Zodiac Killer thing would sell more tickets, huh?  Aside from it being the same actor involved, these have jack shit to do with anything!  He also wears funny outfits and disguises during the kills...
That's pretty much it for the rest of the film.  He kills someone in an elevator, kills an old man at a rest home and attacks a woman in her car.  My favorite is when he attacks an old woman after blowing her tire out with his gun.  He has her check under the hood, whereupon he proceeds to slam it down on her and JUMP UP AND DOWN ON IT!  He's like a kid with a new bed!  After all of that, the movie ends without a conclusion- even advertising it as such...
Real events are for pussies!  The plot of this movie is barely-there, combining a horribly-tacky version of the Zodiac Killer's killing spree.  I should also note this fact courtesy of IMDB- "Producer/Actor Anthony Begonia's parents were classmates of one of the victims." Nice, huh? About halfway through, the Producers give up on this idea and just have the guy run around killing people for no reason. Good commitment, guys! The worst part is that this film is meant to show you the evil in the random killings done by the man, but most of the victims are not given names! These people are deemed so unimportant and killed off so quickly that they get billed by names like 'Elevator Murder,' 'Car Hood Murder' and 'Tire Iron Murder.' Ouch. In addition, the movie is just insulting to viewers. One great example comes when the two detective characters go speak to a psychic. He adds nothing to the plot, tells them nothing and fills up 5 minutes of screen time! Given that the movie clocks in at just under 90 minutes, that's sad! This movie is worth a watch for the schlock factor, but nothing else. Actually, there is one other thing. Consider this: the movie is about a postal worker going around a city and shooting people in their cars. Sound like a famous killing spree that would come a mere 4 years later? That's right- this movie predicted the Son of Sam killings! Freaky.
Next up, Project Terrible brings us to a Troma film that features children.  Please be Tromeo & Juliet II: This Time It's Not Tromeo & Juliet!  Stay tuned...

No comments:

Post a Comment