THE NIGHT OF THE STRANGLER
(director: Joy N. Houck Jr.; screenwriters: J.J. Milane/Robert Weaver/ Jeffrey Newton; cinematographer: Dennis J. Cipnic; editor: Rex Lipton; music: Jim Helms; cast: Micky Dolenz (Vance), Michael Anthony (Lt. Tony De Vivo), James Ralston (Dan Robear), Chuck Patterson (Father Jesse/Jake), Susan McCullough (Denise), Katie Tilley (Ann), Ann Barrett (Carol), Warren J. Kenner (Willie), Ed Brown (Jack Markam), Harold Sylvester, Jr. (Jim Bunch), Stocker Fontelieu (Father Babbin), Wilbur Swartz (Monsignor Greyson), Adrian C. Benjamin, Jr. (Dr. Labewitz), George Wood (Guard), Anthony Buonagura (Mike), Brick Tilley (Sailor), Norbert Davidson (Flower Man), Mark Bennett (Hebert), Michael Wright (Assassin), Bert Roberts (Groomsmen); Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Albert J. Salzer; Vinegar Syndrome DVD; 1972)
“An underground low-budget trashy thriller, that might be absurd and filled with plot holes but is diverting.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
An underground low-budget trashy thriller, that might be absurd and filled with plot holes but is diverting. It’s directed with a certain glee for exploitation by horror film maven Joy N. Houck Jr. (“Demon of the Lake”/”Night of Bloody Horror”), and is written by J.J. Milane, Robert Weaver and Jeffrey Newton. Denise (Susan McCullough) is the college student daughter of the wealthy New Orleans Robear family. She returns home from NYC to speak with her two brothers. Her older racist brother lawyer, Dan (James Ralston), is now in charge of the family since their parents died. The younger flower shop owner brother Vance (Micky Dolenz, from the Monkees) is not a bigot but is screwed up and is the jealous type. Denise tells her siblings she’s quitting Vassar because she’s pregnant and fell in love with a black man named Jess (Chuck Patterson), whom she plans on marrying. Vance wishes her well, while Dan sneers with hatred and contacts the NYC mob. They send a sniper (Michael Wright) to kill the black man in the picnic area in Central Park. Later an assassin cuts her wrists and she bleeds to death in the bathtub. Her murder is called a suicide. A black priest named Jess (Chuck Patterson, Broadway star) returns to his parish after a leave of absence, and he’s welcomed back to his same church to resume his duties. Soon murders start piling up among the Robears. Two detectives, one white (Michael Anthony) and the other black (Harold Sylvester), try to piece together why this is happening. The events are preposterous and no one speaks with a Southern accent in New Orleans. But, what the hell, this is not Macbeth.
REVIEWED ON 4/8/2018 GRADE: B https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/