IMDb > The Toolbox Murders (1978)
The Toolbox Murders
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The Toolbox Murders (1978) More at IMDbPro »


User Rating:
5.2/10   2,184 votes »
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Up 7% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Neva Friedenn (screenplay) &
Robert Easter (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for The Toolbox Murders on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
March 1978 (USA) See more »
Bit by bit..By bit he carved a nightmare!
Ski-masked maniac kills apartment complex tenants with the contents of a toolbox. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
User Reviews:
Somewhat tedious and sickly (but not due to gore!!) See more (58 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Cameron Mitchell ... Vance Kingsley
Pamelyn Ferdin ... Laurie Ballard
Wesley Eure ... Kent Kingsley
Nicolas Beauvy ... Joey Ballard
Tim Donnelly ... Detective Jamison

Aneta Corsaut ... Joanne Ballard
Faith McSwain ... Mrs. Andrews
Marciee Drake ... Debbie
Evelyn Guerrero ... Maria
Victoria Perry ... Woman in Apartment
Robert Bartlett ... Man in Apartment
Betty Cole ... Middle Aged Woman
John Hawker ... Middle Aged Man
Don Diamond ... Sgt. Cameron
Alisa Powell ... Girlfriend
Kelly Nichols ... Dee Ann (as Marianne Walter)
Robert Forward ... Screamer Man
Kathleen O'Malley ... Screamer Woman
Gil Galvano ... Man
James Nolan ... Bartender
George Deaton ... Preacher
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Dennis Donnelly ... Bar Patron at Table (uncredited)
Robert Leh ... Policeman (uncredited)

Directed by
Dennis Donnelly 
Writing credits
Neva Friedenn (screenplay) &
Robert Easter (screenplay) and
Ann Kindberg (screenplay)

Robert Easter  story

Produced by
Tony DiDio .... producer
Jack Kindberg .... associate producer
Kenneth Yates .... associate producer (as Kenneth A. Yates)
Original Music by
George Deaton 
Cinematography by
Gary Graver (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Nunzio Darpino 
Skip Lusk (uncredited)
Production Design by
D.J. Bruno 
Set Decoration by
Leamon Adams 
Makeup Department
Edward Ternes .... makeup artist (as Ed Ternes)
Production Management
Ann Kindberg .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Ann Kindberg .... assistant director
Gary LaPoten .... second assistant director (as Gary M. Lapoten)
Art Department
Frank Armas .... leadman
Sound Department
Bob Dietz .... sound mixer (as Robert Dietz)
Beau Franklin .... boom operator
Ron Moler .... sound editor
Camera and Electrical Department
Jean Clark .... electrician
Catherine E. Coulson .... second assistant camera (as Catherine Coulson)
Hedy Dietz .... still photographer
Michael Ferris .... assistant camera
Gary Strange .... key grip
R. Michael Stringer .... gaffer (as Michael Stringer)
R. Michael Stringer .... camera operator (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Michele Logan .... wardrobe supervisor (as Michelle Logan)
Editorial Department
Mario S. Anthony .... assistant editor
Music Department
Walt Cunningham .... music arranger: keyboards
Zeke Dawson .... music arranger: strings
George Deaton .... conductor
Frank Evans .... music engineer
Frank Evans .... music mixer
Transportation Department
Charles Franchimone .... driver
Thomas A. Gordon .... driver (as Tom Gordon)
Other crew
Tony Didio Jr. .... production assistant
Maria Dillon .... production secretary (as Maria C. Dillon)
Nancy Hansen .... script supervisor
Patty Koehnen .... production assistant
Jim Magglos .... bookkeeper
Ann McDonald .... production assistant (as Anne McDonald)

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
93 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:Refused Classification | Canada:R (Ontario) | Canada:18+ (Quebec) | Finland:K-18 (self applied) (2006) | Norway:18 (2004) | Norway:(Banned) (1978-2003) | Sweden:18 (video rating) | UK:X (original rating) (cut) | UK:18 (video rating) (2000) (cut) | USA:R

Did You Know?

A sequel was planned for a 1986 release but never finalized.See more »
Continuity: After Kent kills Vance in the kitchen there is a dish rack to the right of the sink touching the edge, but when Kent washes the bloody doll in the same sink a few seconds later the dish rack is missing (removed to make room for the camera).See more »
Joey Ballard:I'll be home for dinner. What are you fixin'?
Laurie Ballard:Ah! La specialty of the house; chicken à la TV dinners.
See more »
Movie Connections:
I've Got Everything It Takes to Be a FoolSee more »


Is the movie The Toolbox Murders based on fact?
What are the differences between the censored British BBFC 18 Version and the R-Rated Version?
See more »
6 out of 9 people found the following review useful.
Somewhat tedious and sickly (but not due to gore!!), 5 January 2002
Author: Lucas Noseworth from Kent, England

I heard about this film at the start of last year and instantly became deeply intrigued by it. I was overjoyed to see it finally released on the 'VIPCO' video label (here in the UK) but, alas, this all seemed to be in vain. I guess overall it was somewhat of a bathos and failed to rouse any serious interest in me whatsoever. The acting was, at the best of times, marginal and the plot...let's say it wasn't exactly ground-breaking: At the same time though I doubt that director Dennis Donnelly (who has also worked on episodes of 'Dallas' and 'Airwolf'...if I recall from my childhood) was attempting to change the world with the tale of a deranged Ski-mask wearing killer wielding, amongst other items, nail guns and chisels. The killings portrayed are rather nasty and bloody but, as I am now aware, are slightly cut here in the UK. I doubt (sincerely) that if they were shown in their entirety it would have made any valuable difference.

Perhaps what I found most disturbing about the film itself was the general visual aspect ( - vague I find you asking yourselves). The film looks very much dated now, which for some may not be a problem but it tended to make me feel decidedly 'sickly'. By this I mean that it just reminds me far too much of photos from my childhood *shudders*...with its ghastly floral interiors and fashion sense. I guess this is just a reflection of my own personal dislike towards nostalgia and is no serious reason to comment negatively on the film.

To conclude, 'The Toolbox Murders' is a tedious and poor (sorry to be harsh) horror flick at best. At times it appears to imitate Tobe Hoopers classic 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' in the sense that the film was, allegedly, based on 'real' events. It also follows a fairly congruous and typical narrative: a series of murders followed by an abduction and, inevitably, torture...only to have the attractive protagonist narrowly escape death. The fact that 'The Toolbox Murders' focuses on the notion of the 'family-gone-wrong', a la 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre', or Pete Walkers 'Frightmare', for example, only seems to strengthen this argument more. The main problem: it falls flat on its face in trying to do so. I consider myself to be a die-hard horror film aficionado but this was just unfulfilling; certainly not to be mistaken as a 'cult classic'.

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base on an true story zombiebloodydoll
Closing credits said it was based on a true story. rachaela
Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child rgdmalaysia
Real Killer jjk50
Available online??? henstar13
The Depressive + the Psychopath (**SPOILERS**) agw2000
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