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The Hillside Strangler

The Hillside Strangler (2004)



Average Rating: 2/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 0 | Rotten: 5

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 2.9/5
User Ratings: 1,383

My Rating

Movie Info

A real-life series of killings that held Los Angeles, CA, in the grip of fear during the late '70s provides the inspiration for this tense crime drama. Kenneth Bianchi (C. Thomas Howell) is a nebbishy security guard who lives with his mother in Rochester, NY, and dreams of becoming a police officer. After Bianchi's application to join the Rochester police is turned town, he takes his mother's advice and moves out to Glendale, CA, where she arranges for him to stay with his cousin, Angelo Buono


Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Nov 9, 2004

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All Critics (17) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (2) | Rotten (11) | DVD (5)

A garishly slick piece of exploitation with surprisingly high production values but nary a moment of suspense.

October 15, 2004 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This relentlessly unpleasant film documents the true story of cousins whose murder spree in late 1970's Los Angeles was at first attributed to a lone killer known as the Hillside Strangler.

October 14, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A good horse kick, or a fistful of Valium, may help you get through this relentlessly sadistic exercise with your soul more or less intact.

October 14, 2004 Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Another repulsive, fetishistic trawl through the life and crimes of a serial killer.

October 12, 2004
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Here's one for the Sick Voyeurs Club.

October 12, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Dumbed down and sexed up, 'Hillside' cashes in on the overtly lurid aspects of the murders while giving short shrift to the more interesting psychological aspects of the case.

November 6, 2004 Full Review Source:

Feels very cheesy due to its awkward, period-style acting and directing. But it's also chillingly informative.

October 19, 2004 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

Career-wise, no one really stands to benefit from the film, with the exception of Turturro, who shows he's ready for bigger cinematic opportunities.

October 15, 2004 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

Sordid and sleazy, although the lead performances are hard to fault.

October 14, 2004 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor

Parello's deadpan re-creation of the stranglers' repellent war on women is all the more chilling for being so matter-of-fact, and cinematographer John Pirozzi flawlessly evokes the grit-and-grime look of low-budget '70s crime films.

October 12, 2004 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for The Hillside Strangler

It?s hard to believe from watching this film that this is the same actor, who warmed our hearts as Ponyboy Curtis in ?The Outsiders?.

A much more realistic look into the murders committed by serial killer cousins; Ken Bianchi and Antonio Buono , known infamously during the period of investigation as ?The Hillside Strangler?.

Perhaps the most explicit of the true crime serial killer films as sex was very significant to the pair before and during their reign of terror.
August 25, 2008

Super Reviewer

A sometimes hard to watch film which maintains a lurid, gloating tone, The Hillside Strangler certainly isn't Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. There's no real insight here, no depth; the film exists simply to shock as much as possible, but without much success. For instance, the constant use of the word 'cunt', seemingly every five minutes, just becomes wearying and downright depressing. The way that sex, or as is often the case, rape, is equated with brutal violence (Kenneth confesses he almost came in his pants during his first murder), isn't handled with any real subtlety. Chuck Parello is presumably attempting to show the reality of the events so it's odd that although the sexual elements are quite explicit the actual violence itself is almost entirely off screen. Good performances from C. Thomas Howell (who hasn't aged at all well from his Hitcher days) and Nicholas Turturro, and the occasional inspired moment - such as a scene shot in false perceptive or one overlaid with superimposition - keep things interesting. The most interesting moment in the film is undoubtedly the dinner scene with Kenneth, Angelo and Angelo's mother - a genuinely shocking and illuminating moment in a film which has precious few.
May 1, 2009

Super Reviewer

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