The Hillside Strangler (2004)

From the makers of ED GEIN and TED BUNDY comes another sickening look at the true life accounts of two psychotic killers that terrorized the Hollywood Hills in the late 1970's. Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono were just two manipulative cousins that were hard on their luck until they decided to put together their own prostitution ring to earn some quick cash. When things began to go downhill, the two started to take their aggression out on local street walkers, raping and torturing them before dumping their bodies throughout the San Fernando Valley. Like the other Tartan Films true crime dramas, THE HILLSIDE STRANGLER is a revolting look into the minds of these twisted criminals, giving off the same grimy look and feel as a 70's porno theater that will leave the viewer thoroughly disgusted. Chuck Parello succeeds once more at creating an authentic period piece through the drowned out coloring and vintage apparel. More than anything else, it is the sleazy and scheming performances of leads C. Thomas Howell and Nicholas Torturro that send a cold shiver down the spine. Through quick glimpses, we are able to see the sociopathic tendencies and compulsive lying that the two shared with many other killers of their time. There is no safety net of comic gore or over-the-top villains to be found here, just the gritty depictions of true horror. While many of the facts and names have been altered in the process of making the film, THE HILLSIDE STRANGLER is a valid attempt at bringing the killers' monstrous rampage to the small screen.

Rating: 7/10.

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  1. I saw this back when it came out after reading about it in Fangoria. I remember it being really sleazy and a gritty film. C. Thomas Howell was good, too.

  2. Never heard of this one. I saw your title and thought late 70s/80s. Gonna have to search it out.

  3. A good depiction of two of the most depraved serial killers in history. Although I don't really want to see it again, you know what I mean?

  4. Ohhh I know GWLH, who can really pick up this or I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE for a weekly viewing? =D

    V I love, LOVE, all of the Tartan biopics. TED BUNDY and ED GEIN were fantastic in my opinion, and the Dahmer and Gacy movies were pretty strong as well. Howell did a solid job for most of the picture, with only a few breaks where I felt he was 'acting.'

    Wings, check out all of the Tartan biopics, they are really unsettling, particularly TED BUNDY!