The Strangler DVD
Ripped somewhat from the headlines, this dark and gripping study of a serial killer capitalized on the then-current (then-unsolved) Boston Strangler murders. The Strangler grips you forcefully by the throat via the skin-crawling performance of VictorBuono, fresh off his Oscar-nominated turn as Jane Hudsons would-be comeback partner in the macabre What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Buonos schizophrenic hospital lab technician is (shades of Baby Jane) fixated on dolls, which he eerily equates with hisvictims. But when he breaks his pattern and slays a ninth victim out of rage, that very fetish could prove his undoing. Ramping up the creepiness factor, Ellen Corby, later immortalized as warm, wise Grandma Walton, plays Buonos harridan invalid mother,whose constant carping could make anybody homicidal. Two years later, Buono would play Batman villain King Tut, enshrining him as a camp icon afterward. Tautly directed by Burt Topper, The Strangler is a bracing reminder of a powerful actor who could render moviegoers breathless.