The Hillside Strangler

Amoral biopic of '70s serial killers

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The makers of this are also responsible for four previous true-life serial-killer flicks. The justification seems to be that they are bloody chunks of pop culture, and The Hillside Strangler certainly loses itself in ’70s LA kitsch as cousins Ken Bianchi (C Thomas Howell) and Angelo Buono (Nick Turturro) set about murdering 15 women. Ken is classic psycho material, played with pasted-on charm by Howell; Angelo is a macho sleaze-hound. When their dabblings in the “whore business” are squashed by heavy duty pimps, they take out their frustrations cruising Hollywood, raping and strangling. Shot like a period exploitation movie by writer/director Chuck Parello, there’s a blunt nastiness to both killers and killings. But misogyny and titillation vacantly dominate. The wider themes addressed, say, in Spike Lee’s Summer Of Sam are absent. And serial killers being vile is hardly news, especially to the relatives of the 15 women casually exploited here. Reprehensible, really.


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