The Hillside Strangler

Starring: C. Thomas Howell and Nicholas Turturro
Tartan DVD
RRP: 15.99
TVD 3529
Certificate: 18
Available 28 March 2005

L.A. October 1977. Homicide detectives discover the body of a young woman - she has been strangled, her naked and twisted corpse left for all to see, displayed on the hillside. The cops treat it as another random killing among many in the city of angels. But this one is different... As the body count rises, the gruesome hallmarks of a sadistic serial killer become apparent and the media latches on to brand the perpetrator "the Hillside Strangler". Little does everyone know, the killings are not the work of a single killer but two men, cousins, bound by blood they share in their veins and the blood on their murderous hands. As the search begins, the two men find their insatiable lust for blood rising even further.

I have to confess to being a touch sceptical about this film before I watched it. Most true-life murder films always seem to be a bit schlocky and tacky. Luckily with this film I was proved slightly wrong.

The legend is not very well known to us in the UK, but it seems like a regular American serial killer, over-hyped by the media and eventually given the lovely title of Hillside Strangler. This film follows the two cousins through the murders and then their eventual capture. What does work well in this film is the performance of C. Thomas Howell. His performance is standout and maybe provides a small glimpse of what goes on in the mind of a serial killer.

This film is also very brutal but I have to admit that it is very difficult to take your eyes off the screen, even during the most horrifying moments. But as with all films that have brutality in them, the filmmaker saw it fit to put some very black humour in as well.

The extras on this disc include a director's commentary, deleted scenes and some film notes.

A good little package but sadly I think this is only worthy of a rental.

Simon Lee

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