1 and a half stars   

directed by: Ray Dennis Steckler (as Wolfgang Schmidt)
starring: Pierre Agostino, Carolyn Brandt, Chuck Alford, Forrese Duke, Snowey Sinclair, Denise Alford, John Leeman, Jim Parker, P.J. Parker

(back of video blurb):


A duet of serial killers create bedlam in movie town.

A demented sex maniac is strangling young, attractive prostitutes at a rapid pace. The police are completely baffled by the murderer's operation. Nude models are disappearing quickly. While the strangler is putting pretty girls to sleep, a mad slasher is eliminating all the residents of downtown skid row by cutting their throats in orderly fashion."

choice dialogue:

"I wonder if she saw that movie, Pillowtalk?"

- the strangler's voices in his head make a weak joke after suffocating a model with a pillow

Slash with panache?:

[review by Justin Kerswell]

It's not surprising this ultra-low budget sleaze marathon has one of the best titles in slasher trash history, seeing as it comes from the man who gave us THE INCREDIBLY STRANGE CREATURES WHO STOPPED LIVING AND BECAME MIXED-UP ZOMBIES (1963) and RAT PFINK A BOO BOO (1965): Ray Dennis Steckler (here going under the pseudonym Wolfgang Schmidt, which, incidentally, he used for his other earlier slasher flick BLOOD SHACK (1971)).

A scenario that is re-enacted countless times in the movie

In a no-frills 'story' a 50's throwback, middle-aged psycho stalks the seedier side of Hollywood preying on glamour models, using fake modeling assignments as an excuse to get alone with them and strangle them if they disappoint his puritanical bent by coming on to him; invariably they do and after removing at least their bras and wiggling their asses suggestively cooing things like, "Let me get down on the floor for a nice pose you!", he overheats and offs them, as the speakers reverberate with the thoughts in his head (which we get to hear) of things like: "She is like all the others - worse maybe!", and "Die garbage!". Yes, folks, it's not a movie to put on if Andrea Dworkin ever pops round for tea.

We find out that the genesis for his psychosis is an ex-lover called (wait for it BRADY BUNCH fans …) Marsha, who must've done the dirty on him; the obsession with models explained when he mutters, "Marsha tried to act that way when she said they were 'just' photo sessions …". In-fact, he witters on so much about Marsha ("She's teasing me like Marsha used to tease me!"), I kept on expecting him to utter the immortal, "Marsha! Marsha! Marsha!" (the battle cry of the divine Jan Brady) - the closest he got was two 'Marsha's', unfortunately.

It seems that he's after someone who was as pure of heart as Marsha was (before she did the dirty) and he has his eye on a seemingly meek and mild book store attendant (Carolyn Brandt), to see if she fits the bill.

The two killers meet (middle)

However, in-between the seemingly never-ending parade of models posing, stripping and being murdered there's also another killer on the loose: The Skid Row Slasher, who, as you'd expect from the name, has a grudge against drunken bums and kills them with a knife in secluded alleyways. The twist here (and it's revealed pretty early on) is the fact that the second killer is, in-fact, the book store attendant the strangler has his eye on (although no explanation is given for her murderous deeds, apart from the fact that she visits an occult store and has an S&M dungeon in the back of her store), who, post-murder, seems to enjoy nothing better than a bracing jog by the seaside!

Considering that (presumably due to budget restraints) we see not one cop or police car throughout the whole film it's setup for a grindhouse battle of the psycho's at the film's climax. How does it end? Well, you'll have to watch it to find out.

The slashe gets to work - and then goes and has a nice jog by the sea

Belonging firmly in the same camp as other sleaze epics of the time, DON'T GO IN THE HOUSE (1979) and DON'T ANSWER THE PHONE (1980), as opposed to the sustained terror of Carpenter's then recent slasher opus, THE HOLLYWOOD STRANGLER MEETS THE SKID ROW SLASHER is slasher burlesque, pure and simple; just a celluloid conveyor belt of visual titillation clearly with Steckler not feeling the need to generate even a modicum of suspense. He does, however, make the most of the scenery: Hollywood at its very trashiest and sleaziest (much like New York's Time Square's Neon porno palaces were the backdrop for so many similar films around this time), it seems that there aren't any other buildings apart from the streets and streets of 'Flick'o'rama's and 'Sin-o-ram's - it's the apex of punk rock nihilism and post-60's cultural decay (it's hard to believe all this existed when compared to today's relatively puritanical and antiseptic society).

The film's decided cheapness only adds to its overall no-darn-good ambiance: looking like a particularly threadbare 60's trash movie (no surprise given who was behind the camera), probably shot on 16mm - it looks like it was all made without sound and was dubbed in post-production and has a bizarre soundtrack of music which veers from acid rock to burlesque stock to ambient musings, which just boosts that unrelenting grindhouse feel (in-fact the movies' monumentally inappropriate closing song ("You're my love ... no one can deny!") is the scariest thing in this flick).

THE HOLLYWOOD STRANGLER MEETS THE SKID ROW SLASHER isn't a good film by any definition, it's badly paced and looks like shit but I've gotta say my hat comes off to anyone who has the sheer audacity to a include an S&M burlesque nude rollerboogie act in their film!

It was followed by a direct sequel in 1986: THE HOLLYWOOD STRANGLER IN LAS VEGAS and was itself a sequel of sorts to the director's own infamous THE THRILL KILLERS (1964).

BODYCOUNT 15  bodycount!   female:10 / male:5

       1) Female strangled
       2) Female strangled
       3) Male stabbed in throat
       4) Female strangled
       5) Female suffocated with pillow
       6) Male stabbed in the throat
       7) Female strangled with bikini-top and drowned in hot tub
       8) Female strangled
       9) Male has throat slashed
     10) Female strangled
     11) Female strangled
     12) Female strangled
     13) Male stabbed in throat
     14) Female strangled
     15) Male dies from stab wounds