Friday, September 28, 2012
The Strangler (1964)
Here's a short review for you, but that doesn't mean the movie's not worth watching. Victor Buono was one of the more interesting character actors in the
Big and heavy and with an enormous talent for poetry and cooking, a loved guest
in talk shows and always witty and charming - and a very unlikely actor to play
the part of Leo Kroll in Burt Topper's interesting thriller The Strangler.
Loosely based on the United States
strangler case and released just three months after the real killer was caught,
this is a low-key and creepy drama with Buono in one of his best roles ever. Boston
Buono is Kroll, a mean and bitter lab technician who suffers from a controlling mother. She's handicapped and stays in her bed at the hospital all the time, but she still keeps an eye on him. What she doesn't know is that he has a nasty hobby: to strangle beautiful young women! After each murder he more or less molests a new doll and brings it home to his collection - who grows bigger for each day...
What I really like about The Strangler is how close to reality it keeps itself. There's no big, amazing scenes of spectacular horror or action, it's just a story of a very disturbed, cold man who hates women and kills them instead of doing it to his mother. The direction is workman-like, nothing out of the ordinary, which also brings more power and energy to the script itself and especially the brilliant performance by Victor Buono. I mean, he looks like a doll - absolutely charming, a smooth and peaceful face and a lush persona - but here he's so mean and cold, calculating. This casting is brilliant.
Okay, I admit that The Strangler isn't that scary, but it's an excellent and sometimes slightly corny road down the mind of a depraved sexual serial killer. The black & white photo is very atmospheric and even if it's way smaller and cheaper then The Boston Strangler (starring Tony Curtis) and No Way To Treat A Lady, these would be a very interesting triple feature.