A deeply disturbed photographer and Vietnam veteran, named Kirk Smith, terrorizes Los Angeles by going around strangling lingerie-clad young women in their homes while taunting Lindsay Gale... See full summary »
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Mary Beth McDonough,
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E. Danny Murphy
A deeply disturbed photographer and Vietnam veteran, named Kirk Smith, terrorizes Los Angeles by going around strangling lingerie-clad young women in their homes while taunting Lindsay Gale, a young psychologist, by calling her on a radio call-in show to describe his sexual hang-ups and misogynistic ways, while a local police detective, Lt. McCable, is always two steps behind in trying to catch the psycho. Written by
This was obviously meant to be a standard late-70s total-waste-of-time movie, an excuse to show topless women squirming and thrashing while being strangled, but Nicholas Worth turns it into a must-see. Actors-in-training and stage-vocalists, especially, can learn from his vocal prowess and from the way he uses his size. He is a huge, hulking basso with the ability to near-totally relax his inhibitions, and he uses his entire range, from resonant, snarling low tones, through a thundering midrange up to a piercing, blubbering whimper at the very top which has to be heard to be believed. He should have been an opera-singer. He could have sung Wagner.
The women dress beautifully in late 1970s casual summer-wear, and they get undressed equally beautifully by Worth's character, after (sometimes before) he strangles them to death. As the other reviewer said, James Westmoreland (Detective McCabe) and Flo Gerrish (Doctor Lindsay Gale) act extremely badly; however, Ben Frank (Detective Hatcher) delivers some very funny lines with excellent cheesy deadpan. Like when McCabe tells him that the killer has stolen some of the victim's clothes, and he replies: "That's great! Now we got him on petty theft, as well as murder!" Also, Chuck Mitchell, one of the few actors even bulkier than Nicholas Worth, plays a small part as a porno publisher. (If Mitchell looks familiar, it's because he played the Warden in PENITENTIARY and the title character in PORKY'S.)
These folks have created a masterpiece in spite of all their best efforts to the contrary.
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