The Hollywood Strangler (1979)

Genres - Crime, Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Thriller  |   Release Date - Jan 1, 1979 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 72 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Fred Beldin

This aggressively dull horror/sex feature represents the nadir of Ray Dennis Steckler's already questionable career as a director, though to his credit he did use the pseudonym Wolfgang Schmidt, so perhaps he understood that his good name was on the line. The Hollywood Strangler Meets the Skid Row Slasher is a pointless, plodding non-story that bores its audience despite endless scenes of topless models and homeless alcoholics being murdered. Even after 75 minutes of such simulated depravity, the viewer is left feeling like nothing at all has happened. Steckler's 16 mm cinematography (credited to yet another of his aliases, Sven Christian) resembles a Super-8 home movie, and the entire exercise is shot silent with overdubbed dialogue that the actors don't bother to move their lips for. Too humorless and repetitive to even satisfy schlock fans, the film will undoubtedly continue to interest those stubborn few who are curious enough to track down all of Steckler's work. These intrepid souls should keep at least one eye open for a few culturally amusing tidbits: the Kiss beach towel, the Plato's Retreat scene, the gory switchblade dropped beside a Charlie Brown wastebasket, and death under the Deep Throat marquee. Everyone else should avoid this time-killer and instead check out The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies, an equally amateurish but undeniably fascinating mess from Steckler's earlier, more imaginative period.