|The Hillside Stranglings (2004)|
|Writers:||Stephen Johnston and Chuck Parello|
|Starring:||C. Thomas Howell, Nicholas Turturro and Allison Lange|
|The Plot: The Hillside Stranglings details the real life story of serial killing team Kenneth Bianchi (C. Thomas Howell) and Angelo Buono (Nicholas Turturro), who terrorized California between 1977-1999. Our story begins with Kenneth Bianch unable to fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer in his native home on the East coast. A lifelong mama’s boy, Bianchi takes up an offer to go spend some time with his lowlife cousin Angelo Buono. When these two hook up, they immediately start frequenting strip clubs and picking up prostitutes. Ultimately, these two devise a plan to start up their own prostitution business. Bianchi and Buono quickly take advantage of two young women whom they essentially hold hostage and force into their service. Looking for more clientele, they find a local hooker who hands over a list of “Johns” with their individual phone numbers. When the girls start to work these Johns however, they step on the toes of a gang of REAL pimps who threaten to kill Bianchi and Buono. These two, feeling double crossed, look to take out their hatred on any female that they run across. The two begin stalking the night and killing hookers on a near weekly basis, while the police try and catch up with their nefarious goals.|
C. Thomas Howell is an actor who unfortunately couldn’t shake the stigma that the 1980’s left him with. A teen idol, he couldn’t progress into the 90’s and finally made a partial comeback in the 2000’s due to his starring in the long awaited sequel to The Hitcher. However, his star has faded to a degree since then, but he shows here that he is still willing to take on roles that require a harsh commitment as an actor. A daring title for nearly any actor, Howell transforms himself into an unrecognizable character that can only be described as a drama-queen sociopath. Although Howell can be accused of hamming it up for this role, he remains true to this portrayal of Kenneth Bianchi all the way through the movie. He plays the character with a strange sense of naivete, but due to his abnormal behavior he rarely ever has any sympathetic moments. His naivete is his charm, but the movie quickly takes us out of that charm and introduces us to the degrading and dark world of his sexual perversions. As crazy as it may sound, for a movie such as this one, Howell actually plays the character with layers. The naive appearance of Bianchi is what lulls the audience in and elicits some kind of emotional attachment for the character, but throughout the film Howell sheds this appearance of naivete and shows us what Bianchi really is: false. Everything about the character is a ruse. He is a conman with no true face and at every point in the film Howell shows the games that this man played, and he tries to stress the phoniness of Bianchi at every turn.