Sketches of a Strangler (1978)

  |  Crime, Drama, Thriller


Sketches of a Strangler (1978) Poster

An art student living with his sister is actually a maniac strangling dancers and prostitutes. One victim's sister starts looking for him...

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4.9/10
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7 July 2016 | moonspinner55
6
| Surprisingly decent serial killer B-movie with exceptional performances...
Unemployed art student in Hollywood, living with his religious fanatic sister as if she were his mother, finds a release from his demons by strangulating sexually aggressive women. Writer/producer/director/editor Paul Leder loves narrative; there are several interesting sub-plots spinning around in this low-budget thriller, which has gummy cinematography and melodramatic scoring but is otherwise fairly tight. Allen Garfield (using his real name, Allen Goorwitz) is top-billed as the strangler, yet he capably shares the screen with a solid cast, including Meredith Mac Rae as the twin sister of a murdered prostitute who wants to hit the streets herself to lure the killer; Frank Whiteman as a police lieutenant on the case; Clayton Wilcox as an ex-cop working as a bartender who wants to help Mac Rae on her mission; and Jennifer Rhodes as the strangler's sister, who puts lipstick on before asking her brother out on a date. We are to presume that Garfield's strangler is sexually repressed, but we never learn much else about what makes him tick; despite this, Garfield's admirably restrained performance (his nervous little nods undercut by a terse edge in his voice) is mesmerizing. He's matched by Mac Rae, giving off delicious streetwise savoir faire in her first sequence. The serial killer genre is a well-trodden one, and this entry (theatrically unreleased in the U.S.) isn't exactly distinguished or necessary, but it's certainly better than it had to be, and Leder does a good job at keeping the pace crackling. **1/2 from ****

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Genres

Crime | Drama | Thriller

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