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directed by Tom Hanson
USA 1971

 

Directed by Tom Hanson, who had previously owned a chain of Pizza Man restaurants, The Zodiac Killer was made to capture the real-life Zodiac Killer. That plan didn't work. Instead, we got the most outrageous and compelling ''tabloid horror'' vortex in the history of planet Earth. And beyond. During theatrical screenings, Hanson constructed in-theater ''traps'' to lure the killer from hiding. These included the use of an ice cream freezer filled with rent-a-cops and a raffle with a motorcycle as a prize. You won't get insight like this by watching a David Fincher movie. But you will get it while watching The Zodiac Killer.

Posters

Theatrical Release: 7 April 1971 (USA)

Reviews                                                           More Reviews                                                 DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Something Weird Video/Image Entertainment (Sharpshooter Triple Feature) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. AGFA/Something Weird Video/MVD Visual - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Something Weird Video/Image Entertainment (Sharpshooter Triple Feature) DVD Screen Caps!

(Something Weird Video/Image Entertainment (Sharpshooter Triple Feature) - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. AGFA/Something Weird Video/MVD Visual - Region 'A' -  Blu-ray - RIGHT)

Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Something Weird Video/Image Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

AGFA/Something Weird Video/MVD Visual
Region
'A' -  Blu-ray
Runtime 1:25:45 1:25:50.333
Video

1.33:1 Open Matte format
Average Bitrate: 4.74 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Disc Size:48,571,552,884 bytes

Feature Size: 24,947,632,128 bytes

Total Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Something Weird Video/Image Entertainment (Sharpshooter Triple Feature)

 

Bitrate:

AGFA/Something Weird Video/MVD Visual Blu-ray

 

Audio English Dolby Digital 1.0 mono

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1579 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1579 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles none English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Something Weird Video/Image Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Bonus films 'The Sex Killer' and 'Zero In and Scream'
• Trailers for 'The Sex Killer', 'Zero In and Scream', 'The Psycho Lover', 'Honeymoon of Terror', and
• Gallery of Sick Sixties Sex Stills and Audio Oddities

DVD Release Date: 14 October 2003
Amaray

Chapters 19
 

Release Information:
Studio: AGFA/Something Weird Video/MVD Visual

 

1.33:1 Disc Size:48,571,552,884 bytes

Feature Size: 24,947,632,128 bytes

Total Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

 

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary with director Tom Hanson and producer Manny Nedwick
• The Origin of the Zodiac Killer - On-camera interview with director Tom Hanson and producer Manny Nedwick (3:35)
• Liner notes and director Tom Hanson interview by Chris Poggiali of TEMPLE OF SCHLOCK
• 5 Tabloid-horror trailers from the AGFA archive!
• Reversible artwork
• Bonus Movie!: ANOTHER SON OF SAM (1977) from a new 2K scan! (1:11:57)

 

Blu-ray Release Date: July 25th, 2017
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters: 9

 

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: AGFA - Region 'A' - Blu-ray (August 2017): AGFA stands for 'American Genre Film Archive' with the statement "The American Genre Film Archive preserves the orphan films that are moldering in storage units or being disposed of into the dark abyss of the ocean. Regardless of "artistic" merit, these movies are important. And fun! " They are non-profit.

This is cited as a "New 4K scan from the only surviving 16mm blow-up elements". So, yes, it was obviously shot in 16mm and the new 1080P transfer looks easily superior to the older SD with much more grain, realistic, warmer, colors (skin tones), a brighter image with more detail and and no compression artifacts. The best thing about 16mm to HD is the texture which is lush and thick - moving around the visuals like a swarm of bees or as if it is being projected on shag carpet. There is some frame-specific damage and visible cue-blip markers (see last captures.)

Audio is transferred in a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel (16-bit) and seems a solid representation of the films production limitations. There certainly are aggressive sequences but the lack of depth is more a factor of the original shoot. There is no credited score, or music at all - aside from some radio, and the dialogue and background sounds are authentically flat. There are optional English subtitles on the Region 'A'-locked Blu-ray disc.

Extras start off with a commentary track by director Tom Hanson and producer Manny Nedwick hosted by AGFA's Joseph Ziemba and Sebastian del Castillo in which they discuss raising funding by selling Pizza Man franchises and shot on-the-fly with the goal of getting the film in the can in order to get it on the screen when they would try to catch the killer with a Kawasaki motorcycle drawing by matching handwriting on a raffle ticket to letters sent to the San Francisco Chronicle's Paul Avery. Hanson also covers the same material in a short video interview. There is no trailer for the film but "Tabloid-Horror Trailers from the AGFA Archive" includes trailers for CARNIVAL OF BLOOD, THE MANSON MASSACRE, THE OTHER SIDE OF MADNESS, THREE ON A MEATHOOK, and THE TOOLBOX MURDERS. The disc also includes the bonus feature ANOTHER SON OF SAM which is an incredibly dire in-name-only cash-in about an escaped asylum inmate who holds girls hostage in a college dorm. An included booklet features an interview with Hanson by Chris Poggiali (a more complete version of which appears on his blog Temple of Schlock).  

The Zodiac Killer has some value - especially those keen on the history after watching Fincher's, popular, film; Zodiac. Certainly, the meager roots of The Zodiac Killer export vérité realism and it can be uncomfortable in its creepiness. The Blu-ray provides significant value exposing this niche effort to the light of HD - and, hopefully, a whole new viewership. I'm pleased to see films like this obtaining BD attention now - another great attribute of the format... let's have more!

 - Gary and Eric

 


Menus
Something Weird Video/Image Entertainment (Sharpshooter Triple Feature) - Region 0 - NTSC
 

AGFA/Something Weird Video/MVD Visual - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Something Weird Video/Image Entertainment (Sharpshooter Triple Feature) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) AGFA/Something Weird Video/MVD Visual - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Something Weird Video/Image Entertainment (Sharpshooter Triple Feature) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) AGFA/Something Weird Video/MVD Visual - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Something Weird Video/Image Entertainment (Sharpshooter Triple Feature) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) AGFA/Something Weird Video/MVD Visual - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Something Weird Video/Image Entertainment (Sharpshooter Triple Feature) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) AGFA/Something Weird Video/MVD Visual - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Something Weird Video/Image Entertainment (Sharpshooter Triple Feature) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) AGFA/Something Weird Video/MVD Visual - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Something Weird Video/Image Entertainment (Sharpshooter Triple Feature) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) AGFA/Something Weird Video/MVD Visual - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Something Weird Video/Image Entertainment (Sharpshooter Triple Feature) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) AGFA/Something Weird Video/MVD Visual - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

Visible Cue-Blip and frame-specific damage marks.


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray

 
Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Something Weird Video/Image Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

AGFA/Something Weird Video/MVD Visual
Region
FREE -  Blu-ray

 


 


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