“Everyone has to grow up, Mrs. Kroll — even your son.”
An overweight lab technician (Victor Buono) strangles a series of women, due to sublimated rage towards his overbearing mother (Ellen Corby).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Criminal Investigation
- Grown Children
- Serial Killers
Made during the midst of the infamous Boston Strangler killings, this reasonably effective exploitation flick (much less “authentic” than 1968’s The Boston Strangler, starring Tony Curtis) primarily serves as a vehicle for the inimitable Victor Buono, whose portrayal as a psychotic Mama’s boy is utterly creepy. Much like Laird Cregar’s “Jack the Ripper” in The Lodger (1944), Buono hulks around the screen like a wounded, petulant animal, his beady eyes betraying the deep-seated love-hate relationship he possesses with his abusive mother. While the narrative itself is fairly standard fare — frustrated detectives sigh each time a new strangling takes place, and vow to “catch the bastard” — Buono keeps us involved and eager to see what happens next.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Victor Buono as Leo Kroll
- Diane Sayer in a bit role as a carny
No, but it’s worth a look.