21 April 2014

The Strangler (1964)
89 min.
Directed by Burt Topper.
With Victor Buono, Diane Sayer, Davey Davison, David McLean, Ellen Corby, Jeanne Bates, Baynes Barron, Michael Ryan.
This 1964 psycho pic is worth a watch.

Victor Buono plays Leo Kroll, a mild-mannered lab technician who works at a city hospital. He's a dutiful son who takes care of his eternally cranky and overbearing mother (Corby).

Leo is overweight, lives alone, and likes to collect dolls.

As a result, most folks think he's a bit odd and steer clear of him.

That's a good move. Because unbeknownst to anyone, Leo is also the notorious 'Strangler' - a killer who's been stalking the city streets at night, and garroting helpless young females to death.

And it seems Leo has a particular motivation: he likes to strangle any women who tend to remind him of his mother's nurses.

But then he meets innocent Tally (Davison) at the town carnival, and becomes smitten with her. Could his puppy love for Tally curb his murderous crimes?

Inspired by Albert DeSalvo and the real life stranglings in the Boston area between 1962 and 1964, this lowkey suspense flick is suprisingly solid.

Buono underplays Leo with just the right amount of subtlety and minor ticks. Since the camera follows Leo on all his dastardly exploits, Buono's acting choice proves a wise one; the viewer experiences Leo's acts of terror, but never really gets to know him, never sympathizes with him.

Special mention should go to Sayer, who plays the sassy Barbara...and unfortunately, one of Leo's targets. She's a plucky character, always watchable, and injects The Strangler with a tinge of quirkiness.

Good midnite viewing, also known as The Boston Strangler.

Not to be confused with the classic 1968 thriller of the same name, starring Tony Curtis.

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