The Case of the Hillside Stranglers Reviews
Dennis Farina, who often played cops, does a chilling turn as the lead killer, the older of two cousins who is clearly the Alpha Male of the group, while a young Billy Zane is equally effective as his depraved younger cousin and killing partner, seduced by the almost Father-Son like attention he gets from his older cousin as much as he enjoys hunting and killing the victims.
The film splits time fairly evenly between showing the unusual dynamics in the killing cousins relationship and giving hints to their backgrounds while showing the emotional toll the case takes on Grogan, especially with his children and the end of his marriage, a departure from most films like this which focus mainly on the personal side of the hero with little attention to the relationships and backgrounds of the villains.
The supporting cast is solid, particularly Karen Austin as a potential victim who ends up playing a key role in Grogan's life, but Crenna & Farina are the stars here, Farina excellent as the chilling, conniving, ring leader of his two man killing crew and Crenna as the ageing beat cop struggling to break the case, almost obsessed with bringing the killers to justice, despite the toll it takes on his family (and his regrets over it).
Over all one of the best pieces done on this famous case. Also, the real Det Grogan has a cameo appearance as the arresting officer who initially brings one of the cousins into custody out of state, the big break the LAPD needed to ultimately crack the case.
Richard Crenna is the detective that goes after a 2 year long chase for two cousins. Crenna, a long history in television and movies, wears a moustache and talks an unnatural eastern U.S. accent that are both unnecessary and laughable to those that know his film career. The case drives Crenna, obscessed with the case, more than upset.
The case would have remained unsolved had it not been for a judge that turned over the prosecution to a higher authority in the state of California. The Los Angeles district attorney did not feel he had enough evidence to prosecute.
While retaining the television quality and hardly enough star power to keep many interested, the film could be worth watching once. The real detective who captures one of the cousins actually appears in the arrest scene.
The complete cast is Richard Crenna, Karen Austin, William H. Bassett, Victor Brandt, Matthew Faison, Dennis Farina, Rick Fitts, Nigel Gibbs, Ed Hooks, Rosanna Huffman, Mary Jackson, Randy Kovitz, Jennifer McAllister, Larry McCormick, Tony Plana, Tommy Puett, Ernest Sarracino, Rande Scott, Diane Sherry, Deborah Thalberg, James Tolkan, Paul Tulley, Tasia Valenza, Kelli Williams, Billy Zane, Renata Scott, John Lyons, Charles Champion, Michael Jackson, Robert Harper.
Director: Steve Gethers