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Honeymoon Killers

4.3 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Shirley Stoler, Tony Lo Bianco, Mary Jane Higby, Doris Roberts, Kip McArdle
  • Directors: Donald Volkman, Leonard Kastle
  • Writers: Leonard Kastle
  • Producers: Paul Asselin, Warren Steibel
  • Format: Anamorphic, Black & White, Closed-captioned, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: July 29 2003
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B00009MEA3
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #51,751 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

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.


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

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
*NOTE - This review may contain spoilers*

"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.
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Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
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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