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The Strangler (1964)

Approved | | Horror | 1 April 1964 (USA)
An overweight lab technician with low self esteem, brought on by his dominant mother, becomes a serial killer of female nurses.


Burt Topper




Cast overview, first billed only:
Victor Buono ... Leo Kroll
David McLean ... Lt. Frank Benson
Diane Sayer ... Barbara Wells
Davey Davison ... Tally Raymond
Baynes Barron ... Sgt. Mack Clyde
Ellen Corby ... Mrs. Kroll
Michael Ryan Michael Ryan ... Detective Mel Posner (as Michael M. Ryan)
Russ Bender ... Dr. Clarence Sanford
Jeanne Bates ... Clara Thomas, the Nurse
Wally Campo ... Eggerton
Mimi Dillard Mimi Dillard ... Thelma
Byron Morrow ... Dr. Morton
John Yates John Yates ... Intern
James Sikking ... Police Sketch Artist
Robert Cranford Robert Cranford ... Jack Rosten


Leo Kroll, a lab technician in a large unnamed city, is responsible for the strangulation murders of several young nurses. He feels that in some twisted way, that he is getting back at his overbearing shrew of a mother. Leo also kills the nurse who is taking care of his mother in the rest home she is staying at. As a result, Mrs. Kroll dies from a heart attack. He also kills an arcade worker whom he feels can identify him. Written by Brian Washington <Sargebri@att.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


WHY Does He Do It? HOW Does He Do It? WHO Is His Next Victim? See more »




Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


According to director Burt Topper, Victor Buono puffed smoke into his eyes to create tears for a particular scene. See more »


When Barbara is walking home from her shift at the Fun Palace arcade, she's wearing a belt she didn't have on while she was working, and her hairstyle looks different. See more »

Crazy Credits

In the main opening titles, actor Michael Ryan has the middle initial "M" in his billing, but it is not in the full cast list in the end credits. See more »

User Reviews

The nurse strangler
15 October 2018 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Was very intrigued by the story for 'The Strangler', being a fan of murder/mystery/psychological films this was the sort of story that would have appealed to me straightaway, and have liked Victor Buono in other things. The racy content that 'The Strangler' has been referred to as having was another interest point.

'The Strangler' turned out to be a nicely done, entertaining and intriguing film that does much more right than it does wrong. Not great or a masterpiece but well above average and worth a watch, would say too that it deserves more attention than it gets. It is very rarely seen now and it deserves better than that.

It does lack finesse visually, with it looking like it was made hastily. Occasionally the pace creaks in spots.

Other than Victor Buono and Ellen Corby, the rest of the cast don't really stand out, not because they're awful but their characters are nowhere near as interesting. Would have liked a slightly clearer motivation for what drove Kroll to target nurses perhaps and why he chose the methods.

Buono however is the main reason to see 'The Strangler'. He clearly has a ball here and while he is often chilling Buono succeeds in making Kroll more than that and gives him a sympathetic edge. Corby is suitably beastly as the dominating mother figure. The direction is more than capable and much of the script is taut and thought-provoking. The music is haunting without being intrusive.

From start to finish, the story is compelling with lots of suspense, especially in the build ups to the killings, and it is hard to not admire the film's raciness in its unconventionally (at the time) brutal tone, that provides some genuine unsettlement, and the ahead of its time content. The pace is mostly both controlled and tight and the investigative/procedural approaches are fascinating.

On the whole, well done. 7/10 Bethany Cox

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Release Date:

1 April 1964 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Boston Strangler See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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