Thursday, March 08, 2007

Went to see "Zodiac" last night

I have been fascinated with the Zodiac case since I was a kid. My parents had a set of books called The Peoples' Almanac by Irving Wallace and David Wallechinsky. Within one of those almanancs was a feature on famous unsolved crimes. One of the featured crimes was about a serial killer in the San Francisco Bay Area known as the Zodiac.

Almost 40 years after his crime spree began, a major motion picture about the case has been released in theaters. Last night, I saw it, and it was pretty impressive. The reenactments of the murders were unflinching in their realism, showing just how brutal (and creepy) the Zodiac really was. In an age when people like this can become folk heroes, it is refreshing to be reminded that the acts that make people like the Zodiac infamous, involved real people who died horrible deaths.

The feature of the movie that impressed me most was the attention to detail in recreating the late 1960s and early 1970s. The smoke-filled newsrooms (and airliners), the dial telephones, the cars, the pop-culture references, the wardrobes based on a dare, the too-long unkempt hair and sideburns, and most impressively, the digitally altered skylines of San Francisco and Sacramento. Yes, Sacramento - my home of record makes an appearance in this film.

What also impressed me about this movie was its ability to keep my interest as the investigation drags on, even though I knew full well that no suspect was ever arrested, let alone convicted, for these crimes. The movie definitely has a favorite suspect, and the evidence against him is very damning, even if insufficient. The most frustrating thing about the prime suspect is that he died of a heart attack in 1992, right after the police got a positive ID from one of the surviving victims.

Zodiac has been called "The American Jack the Ripper", in that the case has never been officially solved, even though officials have a pretty good idea of who may have committed the crimes. As each year ticks by, it becomes less likely that the case will ever be solved, and will simply remain part of America's folklore. Just never forget that real people - young people just starting their lives - were sacrificed in the making of that folklore.

Good Day to You, Sir

1 comment:

t said...

Oh my gosh! My husband and I went to see that last Friday. What a great movie. And you're right, even though you know that nobody will be arrested and the case will never be officially solved, you are on the edge of your seat the entire time just waiting.

The scene in the basement, "are you sure there's nobody else in the house?” was the freakiest. I still question that. Was there someone else there or not?

Gave me the hibby jibbies!