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Honeymoon Killers

Shirley Stoler , Tony Lo Bianco , Donald Volkman , Leonard Kastle    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 32.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Description


There's Bonnie and Clyde--then there's Martha and Ray. One-shot writer-director Leonard Kastle set out to make a film about lover-murderers that was everything Arthur Penn's movie was not. He succeeded. Consequently, The Honeymoon Killers, based on the Lonely Hearts Killers case of 1949, may be too lurid for some. But there's a heart beating inside its (tawdry) chest and Kastle clearly cared about these two crazy, mixed-up kids who should never have met. But met Martha (Shirley Stoler) and Ray (Tony LoBianco) did and proceeded to fleece several widows before doing them in. The film isn't graphic in its violence, but each murder is increasingly disturbing. Dramatic lighting and dark passages from Mahler keep the mood close and clammy throughout. Keep an eye out for Everybody Loves Raymond's Doris Roberts in a sharp cameo--and for shots directed by original helmer Martin Scorsese (fired for working too slowly). --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Product Description

Leonard Kastle's cult thriller about a pair of murderers known as "the Lonely Hearts Killers". Based on a true story, the tale of duplicity, jealousy and twisted love stars Tony Lo Bianco and Shirley Stoler in iconic performances. Includes a new interview with the director and an illustrated essay on the true crime story.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally.... Aug. 15 2003
For years I had to watch a pan and scan video of this dark, sad movie. Now Criterion has released an enhanced widescreen DVD which is like a Holy Grail for lovers of this underground cult classic. This film makes the list of classic murderous, hetro couples genre along with BONNIE AND CLYDE, BADLANDS, THE GETAWAY and GUN CARZY. Ray Fernandez is a hot looking Latin stud; he fleeces lonley women who respond to his ad in the type of Lonely Hearts correspondence club found in the back pages of seedy magzines. He only takes their money and their hearts until he hooks up with a fat, miserable nurse named Martha. While pretending to be brother and sister, they go on a murderous spree as they hook up with spinsters, widows and an ugly assortment of women who look for love in the wrong place. Although there is only two scenes of actual violence, this is one of the most violent movies I have ever seen due to the ruthlessness, and cold blooded greed of Ray and Martha. It's dark, violent, and extremely brutal; not recommened for the squeamish.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "DEAR MARTHA"... July 30 2003
The true story of Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck is sad and depressing. Their arrests, trial and subsequent executions are vividly described through actual newspaper clips and photos in one of the extras on this remarkable DVD. The film itself is a striking b&w drama detailing their exploits as the "Lonely Hearts" killers. They met through a "friendship" club advertised in a sleazy tabloid and embarked on their grisly journey through several states using the same club as their stalking point. Fernandez, a Latin lover type gigolo/con-man, had originally planned to fleece Martha but decided her career as a registered nurse wouldn't yield much profit. Yet Martha went after him instead. She was single, overweight, depressed and felt she had nothing to lose. Plus she was smitten with him. At first, she just got in Fernandez's way. But she soon proved a valuable asset and they became a team posing as brother and sister as they stalked and fleeced needy single women while Fernandez worked his smarmy charms on them. How many women they killed is not actually known but the film depicts three and one's small daughter. Shirley Stoler is chilling (and sad) as Martha, hopelessly and jealously devoted to Fernandez. But Tony Lo Bianco is utterly fantastic as Ray Fernandez right down to the accent and snaky charm. Together, Stoler's and Lo Bianco's on-screen chemistry is totally believable. The photography is stark and low budget giving the story the seedy and creepy feel it needs. One of the murders is depicted so well it seems real. The music is several selections from the work of Gustav Mahler and is disturbingly appropriate. As for the DVD itself, the print is flawless and crisp but the sound is frustrating at times. I kept wanting to turn it up at points. Read more ›
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Raymond Fernandez & Martha Beck were a notorious husband and wife murder team in the late 1960's that preyed upon older, lonely women in search of love and companionship, but instead found themselves murdered for their money by this evil partnership.
This tense, intelligent and unrelenting movie (creatively filmed in monochrome) is a real little gem...and the two leads are chilling in their portrayal of the remorseless killers.
Tony LoBianco (The French Connection, The Seven Ups) is excellent as the oily and manipulative con man Fernandez, who sees himself as a charming and seductive lover. The late Shirley Stoler (in her first on screen role ) is equally unnerving as the cold hearted, paranoid and evil Martha Beck. The chemistry between the two is very believable, and you feel that you are almost watching a documentary of their exploits.
And that's what makes this film so very chilling...it's voyeur like, stark camerwork as you witness the brutal killings of the terrified victims, begging to have their lives spared, really jangles the nerves ! Although made on a very modest budget, it proves that you don't need to spend millions when you have a dynamic & gripping story line....
If you relish intense, creative film making...then "The Honeymoon Killers" deserves a place on your shelves.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Manipulative affection in drama-documentary... Jan. 28 2004
Honeymoon killers is based on the true events that took place during the late 40s when a heavy nurse, Martha Beck begins to exchange letters with the sly and manipulative Raymond Fernandez who she met through an add in a Lonely Hearts club. Raymond uses the club to con lonely women, but it turns out that Raymond and Martha have something in common. Together the two begin to pick victims and steal women's savings, which eventually leads to murder. Honeymoon Killers is a monstrous story that reveals the dark nature of Martha's passion for Raymond as they tour east USA leaving a trail of corpses. Yet, it is a sad story as Martha is incapable of recognizing their failing love as she desires the need to feel loved by Raymond. Honeymoon Killers is a black and white drama-documentary that leaves the audience with a good, yet mind numbing cinematic experience.
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4.0 out of 5 stars LOVE KILLS July 31 2003
Love'em or hate 'em, idiosyncratic films that dabble with subversive notions and stories of fringe people make some viewers uncomfortable. You either get it or not. For those who do, there are rewards.
Martha (Shirley Stoler) and Ray Tony LoBianca) are two misfits whose sick pathologies collide into something greater 1969's THE HONEYMOON KILLERS (Criterion). Based on The Lonely Hearts Killers case (1949), Leonard Kastle's only film, luridly shot in black and white, documentary style, connects with a visceral impact. No pin up movie star arty slo mo stuff here. Stoler's authentic emotions transcend the B-movie schlock. Original director Martin Scorsese was fired for being too slow, too artful. Great extras.
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