The Hillside Strangler

  • Film
  • Horror films
Parello’s sleazy serial-killer movie gropes for the chilling objectivity and disturbing ferocity of ‘Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer’, to which he directed a pointless sequel. Yet it looks and feels like a ’70s exploitation picture, not least during the repeated scenes of bare-breasted women being brutalised, raped and strangled.

The media-styled ‘Hillside Strangler’ was in fact two men: porn-loving, woman-hating sleazeball Angelo Buono (Nicholas Turturro) and his cousin Kenneth Bianchi (C Thomas Howell), a slippery sociopath who dreamed of joining the LAPD. In the late ’70s, posing as cops, they terrorised Los Angeles, abducting, torturing and murdering a dozen young women, then dumping their ‘posed’ naked bodies in plain view.

But what was the nature of the symbiotic relationship between the two killers, and what fed their violence? Only one scene, in which Angelo and his cousin visit Angelo’s embittered, alcoholic mother – a striking cameo by comic actress Lin Shaye – hints at any kind of behavioural insight.

Release details

Rated: 18
Release date: Friday November 12 2004
Duration: 98 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Chuck Parello
Screenwriter: Stephen Johnston, Chuck Parello
Cast: C Thomas Howell
Nicholas Turturro
Allison Lange
Lin Shaye
Molly Brenner
Aimee Brooks
Kent Masters King
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