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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 »


Tom Hanson


Ray Cantrell (screenplay), Manny Cardoza (screenplay)

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


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


It really happened See more »


R | See all certifications »






Release Date:

7 April 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Zodiak Killer See more »

Filming Locations:

San Francisco, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$13,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Robert Hanson, who plays the little boy Bobby, is the son of director Tom Hanson. See more »


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


Grover: [Answers his ringing telephone] Hello? Who? Oh. Listen, bitch, I'll get the kid a few toys for Christmas, so don't bug me! Yeah, yeah, I know it's only a few days till Christmas, whaddaya think I live under a rock or something?
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 Scott LeBrunSee 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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