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The Case of the Hillside Stranglers (1989)

The true chilling story of the "two of a kind", killin' cousins Angelo Buono and Kenneth Bianchi, better known as the Hillside Stranglers, is told in this TV drama. The movie concentrates ... See full summary »



(book), (teleplay) (as Steven Gethers)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mike Hernandez
Lt. Ed Henderson
J.D. Jackson
Matthew Faison ...
Judge George
Los Angeles Deputy D.A. Richard Carson
Rosanna Huffman
Dr. Watts (as William H. Bassett)
Victor Brandt ...
Dr. Owens
Sgt. Thorpe
Ed Hooks ...
Gary Wilson
Randy Kovitz ...
Jason Brown


The true chilling story of the "two of a kind", killin' cousins Angelo Buono and Kenneth Bianchi, better known as the Hillside Stranglers, is told in this TV drama. The movie concentrates on the killers story, as well as on the life of Officer Bob Grogan, who investigated their case. Look for the real Bob Grogan as the Washington cop who arrests Kenneth Bianchi! Written by Jaromir Krol <jaromirk@kr.onet.pl>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Thriller


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Release Date:

2 April 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Hillside Stranglers  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (TV)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Dennis Farina who plays serial killer Angelo Buono was actually a Chicago Police Officer for 18 years in real life See more »


Referenced in Serial Mom (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

Significant crime story of two infamous serial killers is outlined with great star casting
2 April 2015 | by See all my reviews

Let's face it, to capture the reality of 12 brutal rapes, tortures and murders in a 2 hour film is near impossible. So instead this film focuses more on the characteristics of the two criminals who in real life were first cousins. The alpha male Angelo Buono was played to perfection by the hard working and versatile actor Dennis Farina who convinced me that he was a sick murderer. The younger cousin and charismatic Kenneth Bianchi who enjoyed his notoriety and his own press clippings was played by Billy Zane. Now you can't have a good crime film without having a cop or two who are always one step behind the bad guys.

The two detectives are actor Richard Crenna whose portrayal of Sgt. Bob Grogran was right on the money and his partner Tony Plana who plays Detective Mike Hernandez were a perfect fit. Little by little the two detectives and we the audience get a glimpse into the method of operation (MO) of these two murderers sick rape and torture of the first 10 victims who endured torture before these young women and children's bodies were dumped naked on the Los Angeles hillsides as the killers infamous trademark. The first 10 murders all took place within a five month span between October 1977 and February 1988.

Truth be told these two murderers may never have been caught if not for the egotistical personality and insatiable appetite of Kenneth Bianchi who continued striking fear by murdering two young ladies in Bellingham Washington where he was literally exiled by the older Angelo Buono because Buono could no longer control the younger Bianchi's zeal for wanting to remain in the public spotlight. Bianchi actually had the nerve and gall while still in L.A. to request and receive permission to go for ride-along(s) in Los Angeles police cars where he would openly speak about the Hillside stranglers victims and crime scenes.

The film is now over 26 years past its initial release and is a made for TV film but it still tells a factual story and provides a very real look into the lives of two real serial killers who both were caught as a result of the quick arrest and conviction of Kenneth Bianchi of his last two murder victims in Bellingham Washington which he committed on his own. Bianchi eventually ratted on his cousins involvement in the first 10 L.A. Hillside strangle murders and both got life in prison convictions. Angelo Buono died of a heart attack in 2002 at the age of 67. Bianchi continues to serve his life sentence in Washington State Penitentiary, in Walla Walla Washington.

Unfortunately we did lose the beloved actors Dennis Farina in 2013 and Richard Crenna in 2003. This film has stood the test of time and greatly assisted in the television feature film genre for its grit and reality. I give the film a 8 out of 10 rating. It is well worth watching.

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