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Sketches of a Strangler (1978)

An art student living with his sister is actually a maniac strangling dancers and prostitutes. One victim's sister starts looking for him...


Paul Leder


Paul Leder


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Allen Garfield ... Jack Garvey (as Allen Goorwitz)
Meredith MacRae ... Lynn Forrester / Margaret Forrester (as Meredith Mac Rae)
Frank Whiteman Frank Whiteman ... Lt. Grote
Clayton Wilcox Clayton Wilcox ... Art Leon
Jennifer Rhodes ... Eileen
Marlene Tracy Marlene Tracy ... Genevieve Crawford
Tanya Lemani ... Belly Dancer
Michael Andres Michael Andres ... Sgt. Smith
Bea Busch Bea Busch ... Carrie
Jon Ian Jacobs Jon Ian Jacobs ... George
Rosella Olsen Rosella Olsen ... Diana (as Rosella Olson)
Elaine Partnow ... Jo
Karl Ellis Karl Ellis ... Gordon
Allan Malamud Allan Malamud ... Storyteller in Bar (as Alan Malamud)
John Harris John Harris ... Prof. Gilliam


An art student living with his sister is actually a maniac strangling dancers and prostitutes. One victim's sister starts looking for him...

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Beautiful women were his models. And his victims!


Crime | Drama | Thriller


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Release Date:

May 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Würger See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



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Did You Know?


Pretty People
Music by Arlon Ober
Lyrics by Sid Wayne
Sung by Jerome Stocco
Copyright 1978 Holly-Hill / Logo Music
See more »

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User Reviews

Surprisingly decent serial killer B-movie with exceptional performances...
7 July 2016 | by moonspinner55See all my reviews

Unemployed art student in Hollywood, living with his religious fanatic sister as if she were his mother, finds a release from his demons by strangulating sexually aggressive women. Writer/producer/director/editor Paul Leder loves narrative; there are several interesting sub-plots spinning around in this low-budget thriller, which has gummy cinematography and melodramatic scoring but is otherwise fairly tight. Allen Garfield (using his real name, Allen Goorwitz) is top-billed as the strangler, yet he capably shares the screen with a solid cast, including Meredith Mac Rae as the twin sister of a murdered prostitute who wants to hit the streets herself to lure the killer; Frank Whiteman as a police lieutenant on the case; Clayton Wilcox as an ex-cop working as a bartender who wants to help Mac Rae on her mission; and Jennifer Rhodes as the strangler's sister, who puts lipstick on before asking her brother out on a date. We are to presume that Garfield's strangler is sexually repressed, but we never learn much else about what makes him tick; despite this, Garfield's admirably restrained performance (his nervous little nods undercut by a terse edge in his voice) is mesmerizing. He's matched by Mac Rae, giving off delicious streetwise savoir faire in her first sequence. The serial killer genre is a well-trodden one, and this entry (theatrically unreleased in the U.S.) isn't exactly distinguished or necessary, but it's certainly better than it had to be, and Leder does a good job at keeping the pace crackling. **1/2 from ****

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