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Zodiac Killer/Sex Killer/Zero

Hal Reed , Bob Jones , Barry Mahon , Lee Frost    X (Mature Audiences Only)   DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag of (s)exploitation movies April 20 2004
Another one of SOMETHING WEIRD's new triple feature output, THE ZODIAC KILLER/THE SEX KILLER/ZERO IN AND SCREAM is a mixed bag of exploitation flicks.
THE ZODIAC KILLER is allegedly based on an authentic crime case, a serial killer that stalked the San Francisco Bay area in the late 1960ies. As serial killer flick this 1970 effort is years ahead of its time. That is not to say that THE ZODIAC KILLER is a good movie. Generally it is rewarding viewing for exploitation fans, if you are willing to forgive cheap gore effects and some dragging here and there. The killer's motivation is a bit silly to put it mildly and he is the usual mister-nice-guy-next-door type, always willing to lend a helping hand, inviting the folks at his favorite bar for a drink, etc. He even breeds pet rabbits (!) and takes good care of them, a trait that endeared him to me. Well, he is a nice guy - until his personality's dark side takes over and he embarks on a killing spree...It has to be said that many of the murders are poorly staged. Much more fun than the bloodier parts is a subplot about a weirdo - a vain but ugly, extremely foul-mouthed truckdriver full of barely hidden aggressions. This guy hams it up, but since he is not much of a thespian, he comes across more laughable than menacing. Due to his foul language (every second word is "broad") and his antics he adds a lot of entertainment value, but unfortunately his character does not have too much screen time.
The film gets surreal in places with the usual hapless cops seeking advice from a psychic, it also drags in places, but ends on an effective and satisfying punchline.
Picture quality on this one is is poor with scratches and grain, but given the film's vintage on the whole acceptable.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Heaven help us Oct. 29 2003
This "Sharpshooter Triple Feature" is one of the best Something Weird releases of 2003, despite the unpromising theme of the disc. Each film is a close-up study of a psychopathic murderer, and perhaps "Pathetic Loser Triple Feature" is a more accurate blanket description. The SEX KILLER doesn't even carry a gun.
ZODIAC KILLER is the most professional-looking of the three, yet it defines "cheap exploitation," dealing with a hot topic in a quasi-documentary, mostly melodramatic format. A pair of pathetic losers are introduced and half the film plays a game with the audience - which one is Zodiac, the disgruntled postman or the misogynistic middle-aged truck driver? The real Zodiac, of course, has never been identified, but the film offers its own ideas about the killer's personality and Freudian urges. The picture is washed out and grainy, the soundtrack distorted and variable in quality, actors flub their lines, but ZODIAC KILLER is great fun if you like exploitation. Some arty directorial flourishes work pretty well in this context, depicting Zodiac's warped view of humanity (vile, worthless, malevolent species). The cast of amateurs, portraying diverse "ordinary people" in Zodiac's orbit, is quite convincing, more effective in their parts than a bevy of B-list SAG pros would have been. In sum, ZODIAC KILLER is not a particularly good film, but it is entertaining, and as exploitation it is exemplary.
ZERO IN AND SCREAM and SEX KILLER are almost equally bad, two threadbare plots padded with a busload of flesh to reach the coveted 60-minute mark, yet SEX KILLER still falls short by 4 minutes.
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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heaven help us Oct. 29 2003
By Howard Sauertieg - Published on Amazon.com
This "Sharpshooter Triple Feature" is one of the best Something Weird releases of 2003, despite the unpromising theme of the disc. Each film is a close-up study of a psychopathic murderer, and perhaps "Pathetic Loser Triple Feature" is a more accurate blanket description. The SEX KILLER doesn't even carry a gun.
ZODIAC KILLER is the most professional-looking of the three, yet it defines "cheap exploitation," dealing with a hot topic in a quasi-documentary, mostly melodramatic format. A pair of pathetic losers are introduced and half the film plays a game with the audience - which one is Zodiac, the disgruntled postman or the misogynistic middle-aged truck driver? The real Zodiac, of course, has never been identified, but the film offers its own ideas about the killer's personality and Freudian urges. The picture is washed out and grainy, the soundtrack distorted and variable in quality, actors flub their lines, but ZODIAC KILLER is great fun if you like exploitation. Some arty directorial flourishes work pretty well in this context, depicting Zodiac's warped view of humanity (vile, worthless, malevolent species). The cast of amateurs, portraying diverse "ordinary people" in Zodiac's orbit, is quite convincing, more effective in their parts than a bevy of B-list SAG pros would have been. In sum, ZODIAC KILLER is not a particularly good film, but it is entertaining, and as exploitation it is exemplary.
ZERO IN AND SCREAM and SEX KILLER are almost equally bad, two threadbare plots padded with a busload of flesh to reach the coveted 60-minute mark, yet SEX KILLER still falls short by 4 minutes. SEX KILLER is as bad as you'd expect a Barry Mahon psychodrama to be; there's very little dialogue, and most of that is restricted to blunt one-liners telling us the "sex killer" is a weird guy, something we know already. SEX KILLER is most successful in its attempt to create a stifling, hellish atmosphere around its protagonist. New York City's busy streets and grimy corridors should be top-billed in SEX KILLER, along with the creepy department store mannequins who lure this shy, inhibited boy into the depraved nightmare existence of a murderous necrophiliac. It's not a strange compulsion - it's a way of life. An idea is weakly developed throughout, that society is implicated in the killings because people are either indifferent to, or titillated by, these events. A similar notion crops up in ZODIAC KILLER.
ZERO IN AND SCREAM is something like the bastard/invert kin of MANTIS IN LACE, and is notable only for its copious and complete nudity, with little else to recommend it. Actually it's more remarkable for its awfulness, as it raises the question of how little development an anecdote requires to become a (barely) full-length feature film.
A small but excellent batch of trailers rounds out the program. There's also a gallery of exploitation stills for fans of the genre. Definitely worth a look!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag of (s)exploitation movies April 20 2004
By Manfred Zeichmann - Published on Amazon.com
Another one of SOMETHING WEIRD's new triple feature output, THE ZODIAC KILLER/THE SEX KILLER/ZERO IN AND SCREAM is a mixed bag of exploitation flicks.
THE ZODIAC KILLER is allegedly based on an authentic crime case, a serial killer that stalked the San Francisco Bay area in the late 1960ies. As serial killer flick this 1970 effort is years ahead of its time. That is not to say that THE ZODIAC KILLER is a good movie. Generally it is rewarding viewing for exploitation fans, if you are willing to forgive cheap gore effects and some dragging here and there. The killer's motivation is a bit silly to put it mildly and he is the usual mister-nice-guy-next-door type, always willing to lend a helping hand, inviting the folks at his favorite bar for a drink, etc. He even breeds pet rabbits (!) and takes good care of them, a trait that endeared him to me. Well, he is a nice guy - until his personality's dark side takes over and he embarks on a killing spree...It has to be said that many of the murders are poorly staged. Much more fun than the bloodier parts is a subplot about a weirdo - a vain but ugly, extremely foul-mouthed truckdriver full of barely hidden aggressions. This guy hams it up, but since he is not much of a thespian, he comes across more laughable than menacing. Due to his foul language (every second word is "broad") and his antics he adds a lot of entertainment value, but unfortunately his character does not have too much screen time.
The film gets surreal in places with the usual hapless cops seeking advice from a psychic, it also drags in places, but ends on an effective and satisfying punchline.
Picture quality on this one is is poor with scratches and grain, but given the film's vintage on the whole acceptable.
Far better is the second film THE SEX KILLER, a mid-1960ies b/w sleaze film concerning a young loner with some serious sexual problems. First he buys binoculars to spy on women, then he proceeds to steal a mannequin's head for his pleasure (!) I liked the scene where he stops on his way home for a drink in a bar with his plastic "date" - the embarrassed gazes of the bartender and the patrons are priceless! I bet this was shot with hidden camera. As his sexual madness progresses he strangles and rapes women...
A quick sick sleazefest THE SEX KILLER never outstays his welcome due to a brief running time. The weird proceedings are accompanied by an instrumental music theme, which is repeated over and over again, but fits surprisingly well. I also enjoyed the nice 1960ies New York location footage. Picture quality is also very good with a pristine print.
ZERO IN AND SCREAM's plot (so to speak) concerns a mad sniper stalking love-making couples in the Hollywood Hills area and shooting the men during intercourse. It plays more for titillation than for thrills with the sniper story a mere pretext. The sex scenes are quite graphic, particularly the one in the swimming pool. Nice underwater photography, by the way.
The film ends rather abruptly. I'm reliably informed that the movie is cut by over a minute. Clearly the weakest of the bunch, in both entertainment value and picture quality.
There is not much in the way of extras here, just a gallery of "Sick Sixties Sex Stills With Audio Oddities", which is much fun and runs for about 10 minutes.
There are also 5 trailers, for THE SEX KILLER, ZERO IN AND SCREAM, THE PSYCHO KILLER, AROUSED and HONEYMOON OF TERROR. The last is my favorite of the bunch. This mid-1960ies b/w film is apparently about a couple on honeymoon being terrorized by a crazed redneck in an isolated wooden area. Hope, this one will hit DVD one day!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If anything, buy for the rare ORIGINAL Zodiac Killer movie Dec 3 2011
By Mason C - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Like i mentioned above, this contains the original, first ever movie made about the Zodiac, who at the time was still doing "his thing" as he like to say it in California. The movie itself insn't that bad for a cheesy explotation film, much like the classic "Town that Dreaded Sundown" (which was based on the hood wearing lovers lane serial killer the "Texarkana Phantom", who some Zodiac researchers have claimed was the early killing spree of Zodiac... m.o. & costume matched atleast). The plot is a little bizzare at time (sometimes borderline silly, but hey! it's the 70's). There was alot of actual truth in the movie, from Zodiac's letters (which are to a tee), his costume, the locales (Presidio Heights, Vallejo, etc), the murders (all the lovers lane shootings, the costumed attack, cabby shooting, even the whole Kathleen Johns affair is covered) & even parts of the investigation. Paul Avery (the guy who Robert Downey jr played in the new Zodiac movie) also delivers a message at the beggining. 3 & a half star regular movie, 5 star if you like "grind-house" or serial killer flicks. As for gore/kills, the shootings are too the point, the costumed attack suffered from a lack-luster actress, though there were several "fictional" kills that are pure explotation film gold.

The second movie is the Sex Killer, which (in all liklihood) is based on the then current Boston Strangler / Albert DeSalvo case (the killer even looks like De Salvo), though not as good as the Tony Curtis movie, but way better than the 1st movie they did on the murders called "the Strangler". The plot is rather laughable, though it does get better towards the end, with our Norman Bates-like killer strangling (with stockings like De Salvo did) & preforming necrophilic acts on his female victims, he also has a bizzare penchant for fake female heads, and even takes one on the most awkward date in history. 2 & a half star regular movie, a good 3 if you like serial killer or Corman esque 60's crime films. PS the stranglings are a bit disturbing & unlike the other murders on this dvd, are not that badly staged.

The last film, Zero in & Scream also apparently takes some of it's plot from the Zodiac murders (and maybe to a lesser extent the Charly Whitman shootings), with a sexually repressed, redneck sniper, who is targeting young couples as they engage in sex, shooting them with his high powered rifle. Pretty short & to the point movie, i liked the "feel" of this film (though, like the others before it, does suffer from a somewhat "foolish" scripting). There is also some "great" vintage 70's softcore sex scenes, with plenty of nudity. 3 star regular film, 3 & a half if you like the genre.

Well worth the buy, 5 stars overall.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Zodiac, Astrology, and Something Awful Oct. 30 2009
By BigStory - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
First of all, right off the bat, you will probably not like this set. These are some of the weirdest, sickest, most deranged oddities(well, I guess all of them are) that will leave you in a confused stupor..BUT, if you are into this type of derangement, maybe you'll like it. This is a triple feature of 'madmen psycho killers' from the folks at SWV. The main bill is The Zodiac Killer(86mins/1971).

This movie is loosely based on the Zodiac killings from the late 60's. The so-called 'Zodiac' is some postman guy who does some evil mystical type prayers in his basement while wearing a spooky and silly robe. In the meantime he goes about with some random killings and plays around with the unaware detectives. The second feature is The Sex Killer(56mins/1967).

The Sex Killer dude is some fiend who buys a pair of binocs, works in a mannequin factory, and lives in a closet-like room. This guy proceeds to date one of the mannequin heads, peeps at topless sunbathing ladies on the top of buildings with his new binocs, and goes around commiting senseless acts of homicide. Very disturbing and actually an interesting movie. My favorite in this collection. The last movie is Zero in and Scream(63mins/1970).

Zero in and Scream can be titled 'The Peeping-Tom Sharpshooter'. The whole movie is basically a guy spying on couples doing the softcore thing in and around the pool with his scope and then finally shooting them. The remaining time he is at some old stripjoint in Hollywood called 'The Classic Cat'. As usual, Something Weird DVD's contain a number of extra features to enhance the viewing pleasure.

First there are five trailers, each running about 2 mins or so. These include The Sex Killer, Zero in & Scream, The Psycho Killer, Honeymoon of Terror, and Aroused. Additionally, you get a Gallery of Sick Sixties Sex Stills with Audio Oddities. This feature runs about 10 1/2 minutes. The Stills include movie posters and scenes. The audio portion are like old radio promos for these movies.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars movie 3 pack June 14 2009
By Lacey L. Cook - Published on Amazon.com
all of these movies are really bad. I laughed hysterically at these. I do not suggest purchase unless you are like me and love the really bad b-flick.
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