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I am, if nothing else, a murder junkie. I know it's ghoulish, but I was raised with residual images of Jack the Ripper, since I was 14 when the 100th anniversary of the murders, and as a Bay Area kid, the Zodiac. The Zodiac murders were a defining moment in the Bay Area of the 1960s and early 70s. The modern idea of what a mastermind serial killer was came from the Zodiac. I've probably seen a hundred hours of Zodiac documentaries, news footage, and interviews, and read hundreds and hundreds of pages (my buddy Jackson had one of the first Zodiac websites) and even met a few of the folks involved in the case. David Prior's documentary This is Zodiac Speaking is the best straight documentary on the murders that has ever been done, and a perfect companion to David Fincher's Zodiac (and it appears on that Blu-Ray disk as an extra)
The film covers the killings in detail, almost entirely through interviews with the people involved. Investigators and survivors go into great detail of what they did, what they saw, and they knew. The interviews are what makes this documentary, and not only through the information they impart, but in the methodology used by Prior.
The interviews are shot against a white background, no green-screening (which I am REALLY tired of!) and the shots do fast fades to black, while allowing the interviewees talk to continue. This is highly disconcerting, as if we're being placed in the dark because we've extended the lines of investigation too far, and it has to snap closed on us. This technique might bug some, but the fact that we're set aback gives the feeling of those folks who were there, only able to nibble on the information that was dribbling out on television. The maps, photos, and the few re-constructions are all well-played, but the interviews are the height of this documentary.
Klaus at Gunpoint
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