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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.
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
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Top Customer Reviews
"The Honeymoon Killers" is an odd little film in that though filmed in 1969, has more in common with Independent Film of the '90s than the era from which it came.
Lensed in black-and-white and possessing a quasi-documentary feel, it's based on a true-crime story of the '40s in which a charming but shady gigolo (Tony LoBianco) meets lonely but bitter nurse (Shirley Stoler) through a lonely hearts club called "The Friendship Club". LoBianco preys on spinsters and widows, promising hearts and flowers. As soon as they're hooked, he proposes marriage so that he can get hold of their money and dump them. His plans are constantly hampered by Stoler, who has dumped her elderly mother into a nursing home to run away with him. She poses as his sister, but begins to get increasingly jealous, causing things to get complicated.
Along the way, they steal from a school teacher, poison a pregnant woman, murder an annoying old lady, and kill a widow and her young child. It's during the last incident that things reaching a breaking point for Stoler and she cracks.
The action moves very swiftly, which makes the film unique. The way it's written, the dialog let's us know the duo have long since moved on to their next conquest.
There's some comedic moments from the annoying frugal old woman (Mary Jane Higby) and some famous character actresses show up. There's Barbara Cason, and even a young Doris Roberts! Actually, it's Roberts who sets the whole plot in motion because she's the one who placed Stoler's ad in the Friendship Club in the first place. She also utters the memorable line "You're a little on the heavy side, but you're not an old bag, you know", when Stoler frets that no one will want her.Read more ›
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.
Most recent customer reviews
This movie is alot of fun especially if you like bad acting and a good script. The DVD's picture quality is excellent especially compared to this VHS I bought about 6 years ago... Read morePublished on Feb. 17 2004 by Thomas M. Schnyder
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... Read morePublished on Jan. 28 2004 by Swederunner
I know that sounds a little extreme, but the Honeymoon Killers is actually based on real events. The violence is almost non-existent compared to Stone's slaughter-fest, but the... Read morePublished on Dec 29 2003 by El Smoksta
I bought this DVD on impulse. That was two weeks ago I'm still watching this movie over and over. It's well directed. I love Shirley Stoler and Tony Lo Bianco's acting. Read morePublished on Sept. 5 2003 by K. C.
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. Read morePublished on July 31 2003 by Robin Simmons
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