The China Lake Murders (1990)

TV Movie  |  PG-13  |   |  Mystery, Thriller  |  31 January 1990 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 352 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 1 critic

A small town sheriff (Tom Skerritt) has his suspicions in a murder case which involves a rogue cop who goes on a murder spree. Contains mild sexual situations and violence.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sheriff Sam Brodie
Capt. Finney N.H.P.
Lonny Chapman
J.C. Quinn
David L. Crowley ...
(as David Crowley)
Doug Mears ...
Tom Dahlgren ...
Lewis Harrelson
Helene Harrelson
Dennis Rucker ...
Police Sergeant (as Dennis Wayne Rucker)
Danny Hassel ...
Highway Patrol Officer
Hans Howes ...
Asst. Watch Commander


A small town sheriff (Tom Skerritt) has his suspicions in a murder case which involves a rogue cop who goes on a murder spree. Contains mild sexual situations and violence. Written by John Sacksteder <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

murder | police | See All (2) »


Every year, Officer Donnelly goes to China Lake to unwind, do a little fishing... Kill a few people See more »


Mystery | Thriller


PG-13 | See all certifications »




Release Date:

31 January 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

China Laken murhat  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Follows China Lake (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

A fetish movie
14 October 2003 | by (the rock) – See all my reviews

As average as it is for a TV movie, the one thing that I got from THE CHINA LAKE MURDERS was the underlying aspect that the director or producers were more interested in showing off cops in their uniforms and the whole fetishistic aspect of their uniforms and the policeman's mantra stemming from this than anything else. The story is VERY slight, and it really doesn't make much sense when you start thinking about it (why doesn't the bad cop kill the people he stops on the road before putting them in the trunks of their vehicles? Bad cop's killing pattern doesn't add up, etc) and there's very little suspense or point to all of it. So, that leaves only one original aspect of this well photographed flick: showing off cops in uniforms; An off-duty bad cop who likes to kill people while wearing his uniform; Good cop befriending psycho cop; Dueling cops, etc. One only has to look at the video's slipcover box to notice the film's obsession with uniforms.

The whole relationship between Tom Skerritt and the bad cop (who looks like William Shatner's brother. LOL!) is tinged with homo-eroticism: Skerritt befriends the bad cop pretty fast, invites him to his home; bad cop is obsessed with Skerritt and he's impotent in bed with women. The relationship between the two men is hard to explain but I suspect that there's more than meets the eye and, subsequently, this relationship brings the whole cop fetish aspect even more to the fore. Whether it was done intentionally or not, I don't know (I suspect it was) but without it, THE CHINA LAKE MURDERS would be a totally forgettable TV flick.

9 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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