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Waylon Green
Waylon Green

The Boston Strangler

Initially, the crimes were assumed to be the work of one unknown person dubbed "The Mad Strangler of Boston".[4] On July 8, 1962, the Sunday Herald wrote that "[a] mad strangler is loose in Boston" in an article titled "Mad Strangler Kills Four Women in Boston".[5] The killer was also known as the "Phantom Fiend"[6] or "Phantom Strangler",[7] due to his ability to get women to allow him into their apartments. In 1963, two investigative reporters for the Record American, Jean Cole[8] and Loretta McLaughlin,[9] wrote a four-part series about the killer, dubbing him "The Boston Strangler".[10][11][12] By the time that DeSalvo's confession was aired in open court, the name "Boston Strangler" had become part of crime lore.

The Boston Strangler


The problem here is that real events are being offered as entertainment. A strangler murdered 13 women and now we are asked to take our dates to the Saturday night flick to see why. Gerold Frank's original book was written with the most honorable intentions, I believe, but the movie is something else: A deliberate exploitation of the tragedy of Albert DeSalvo and his victims.

That the killings are being exploited there can be little doubt. Although the film's treatment of the murders is restrained and intelligent, it is being promoted in singularly bad taste. Outside the theater there's a door that flaps open and shut, while lurid photographs of the strangler's victims rotate inside.

It will be argued that the film is beneficial and even educational. I am not sure. We are told that Albert DeSalvo literally had a split personality: That most of the time he was a family man, absolutely unaware of his other identity as the strangler. Then what do we learn?

The Boston Globe described the suspect as "the phantom strangler" and noted that the killing had occurred in the same location as the first killing, indicating either a "macabre coincidence or the perverse irony of a warped mind." 041b061a72


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