The Zodiac Killer (1971) (Blu-ray/DVD Review)

The Zodiac Killer (1971) (Blu-ray/DVD Review)
Directed By: Tom Hanson
Starring: Hal Reed, Bob Jones, Ray Lynch
Rated: UR/Region 0/1:33/1080p/Number of Discs 2
Available from AGFA

Directed by Tom Hanson, who had previously owned a chain of Pizza Man restaurants, The Zodiac Killer was made to capture the real-life Zodiac Killer. That plan didn’t work. Instead, we got the most outrageous and compelling “tabloid horror” vortex in the history of planet Earth. And beyond. During theatrical screenings, Hanson constructed in-theater “traps” to lure the killer from hiding. These included the use of an ice cream freezer filled with rent-a-cops and a raffle with a motorcycle as a prize. You won’t get insight like this by watching a David Fincher movie. But you will get it while watching The Zodiac Killer.

1971’s Zodiac Killer is a movie that you just imagine someone sitting in a dark corner and watching in some old grindhouse theater with sticky floors. The movie is not just another film about the infamous Zodiac killer, but a movie that takes some liberties with the story to add such things as motivation and a backstory. Heck, the whole mystery of who the killer even was is taken out of the story and we knew who it is. The rest of the film is just him doing what he was known for doing while we see people on the case and also end up seeing some rather outrageous kill scenes. They are very random, but also very funny in some cases. Which, I guess the jury is still out on if that part the whole film was intentional or not.

This isn’t a movie that really offers up any real main characters outside a very few, one of which being the killer and others just sort of being there until they flip their lids (so to speak). It isn’t as much a coherent film as it is just a plot loosely strung together with some amusing moments of violence. I think it might be best as just a movie you show your friends when everyone is taking it easy and wants to see something that is kind of insane. It is a movie you watch for the whole spectacle of it all rather than the quality. AGFA and Something Weird work together to bring this movie to you in HD from the only remaining 16mm print of the film. It doesn’t look amazing but looks better than it probably has any right to look. It also comes with a bonus film called Another Son of Sam. I’d toss that one in about the same range as the main course on this disc, but the transfer on it probably would be considered a better-looking transfer than Zodiac.

Extras

– Audio Commentary with director Tom Hanson and producer Manny Nedwick
– On-camera interview with director Tom Hanson and producer Manny Nedwick
– Audio Commentary with director Tom Hanson and producer Manny Nedwick
– Bonus movie: ANOTHER SON OF SAM (1977)
– On-camera interview with director Tom Hanson and producer Manny Nedwick
– Tabloid-horror trailers from the AGFA archive!
– Bonus movie: ANOTHER SON OF SAM (1977)
– Liner notes and director Tom Hanson interview by Chris Poggiali of TEMPLE OF SCHLOCK
– Tabloid-horror trailers from the AGFA archive!
– Liner notes and director Tom Hanson interview by Chris Poggiali of TEMPLE OF SCHLOCK

Quality of Transfer: 78%