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The Zodiac Killer (1971)

The San Francisco area is beset by a series of seemingly random murders without motive or pattern. The police are taunted by phone calls and letters. Could the maniac be the violent, truck ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Hal Reed ...
Bob Jones ...
Ray Lynch ...
Sgt. Pittman
Tom Pittman ...
Officer Heller
Mary Darrington ...
First Murder
Frank Sanabek ...
Ed Quigley ...
Bertha Dahl ...
Mrs. Crocker
Dion Marinkovich ...
Doc (as Doddles Weaver)
Gloria Gunn ...
Richard Styles ...
Manny Cardoza ...
Hippy (as Manny Cordoza)
Norma Takaki ...
Donna Register ...


The San Francisco area is beset by a series of seemingly random murders without motive or pattern. The police are taunted by phone calls and letters. Could the maniac be the violent, truck driver, or the seemingly mild-mannered mailman, or even a cop? Written by Charles Goodwin <CharlesGoodwin@juno.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He may be a stranger... a friend... or the quiet guy who lives next door. See more »


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

7 April 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Zodiak Killer  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


San Francisco Chronicle columnist Paul Avery - best known for his in depth coverage of the Zodiac Killer - supplied a foreword for the film, played an active role in the production, and is listed as a consultant in the credits. See more »


The police car that responds to the cabbie murder has no insignia on the door. See more »


Doc: I like 'em plump and juicy and dumb!
See more »


References Little Big Man (1970) See more »

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User Reviews

"Well, now you know I exist. What are you going to do about it?"
20 February 2016 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

This low, low budget thriller attempts to seriously cast a light on the reality of serial killers in our society, purporting to be "based on the facts". It soon came in the wake of the real life Zodiac murders that plagued San Francisco in the late 1960s. While obviously it's not nearly as polished or as well known as "Dirty Harry", it is a genuinely interesting curio. This viewer actually thought that the acting wasn't that bad; in fact, it's better than one might ordinarily find in such B level fare.

At first, we follow the day to day activities of two guys: harried mailman Jerry (Hal Reed, "The Doberman Gang") and volatile truck driver Grover (Bob Jones). Jerry comes across as a nice enough, polite enough man to others, while Bob likes to impress women by creating a false identity of a successful businessman. While the characters are somewhat entertaining to watch, they're just not as intriguing as the murder spree that will soon begin in earnest. While the killer will be taunting the authorities and the media with calls and letters, two frustrated detectives, Sgt. Pittman (Ray Lynch) and Officer Heller (Tom Pittman) will try to work the case.

The raw, gritty approach is a plus, although "The Zodiac Killer" might not be trashy or exploitative enough for some viewer tastes. Location shooting is decent; there's sufficient violence and a little bit of gore. At times screenwriters Ray Cantrell and Manny Cardoza and director Tom Hanson create some humour with the material. We see our ego-driven, confident maniac (who's identified sooner in the movie than one might expect) actually kill one woman with her own trunk hood, and another with her own spare tire.

While there's nothing really special here, this makes for some mildly amusing entertainment for seekers of obscure curiosities.

Six out of 10.

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