An alleged Zodiac characteristic; Yes or No. Message Board: General Zodiac Discussion: An alleged Zodiac characteristic; Yes or No.

By George ( - on Friday, July 11, 2003 - 01:20 pm:

I'd like to put to bed one thing which I've seen many repeat, be they experienced or novice Zodiac folk. Unless you believe that Rick Marshall was/is Zodiac, would someone please tell me why Zodiac is considered "A movie buff?"

What am I missing?

"Charley Chan At Treasure Island," "Badlands,"
"The Exorcist," "Yellow Submarine."
Zodiac has probably seen two of these films and may have seen two others. So what?

Two of the above films are extremely well known, one is well known and even Charley Chan has a following, still. (Check IMDB if you disagree; read posts.) And "Chan" is pure speculation anyway. As is "Badlands," since the complaint was about advertising methods for the film, as well as the genre of the film. No mention of Z having seen the film.

"Red Phantom" is moot, as most don't consider it a Z missive. However, if you consider the letter a true Zodiac one, I have something to refute the belief that "Red Phantom"
was "A ** silent ** film." (I say it was -- if anything -- a comic book.) The Spanish language talkie "The Red Phantom" (1953) has been discussed on the boards. It is not a silent film, and it's a Graysmithian stretch to link its real title, "Fantasma de la casa roja, El" (which translates as "The Phantom Of The Red House," BTW) to a dubious Zodiac communique.

I don't have the brainpower of the majority who post here, so I must be missing something obvious. Please tell me what this may be.

Meantime, opinions: Unless you consider Marshall the Zodiac or think him a very serious candidate
for Z, do you believe the Zodiac was a movie buff?
Yes or no?

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Friday, July 11, 2003 - 04:20 pm:

Not necessarily a "buff," but I think it can be argued that he knew something about movies.

While we're on the subject, Don Foster, who compared the Unabomber and Kaczynski writings and had extensive access to Kaczynski's documents, used the following quote (from Ted to his brother David) in his book "Author Unknown":

In one of the Brothers movies, as Chico was entering, Groucho said: 'Hello, you look similar to a man that I know and his name is Ravelli.' Chico answered: 'I am Ravelli.' 'Ha,' responded Groucho: 'that explains the similarity.'

Of course everyone knows that Kaczynski never took his nose out of a math book long enough to see a movie, but evidently he had some knowledge of the Marx Brothers.

By Algy Little ( - on Saturday, July 12, 2003 - 05:50 pm:

Well, in the sixties Bay Area, being a movie buff and a man, narrows the suspect pool to about one half million. I suspect Marshall may have known who The Zodiac was, but figured discretion was the better part of valor.

By Ann (Ann) ( - on Wednesday, July 16, 2003 - 09:16 am:

I think probably Zodiac was quite a movie watcher and he liked taking quotes from things he'd either seen in a movie or read. That's obvious. Some have made mention of the possibility of a 'British Connection' within his family or something, because of some of the phrasing. I tend to think it's more likely an influence stemming from something he'd seen in a movie, read in a book, or heard in a song.

For instance, in regards to the phrase, "Happy Christmas" in 1968 the Beatles came out with a Christmas album with a song, "Happy Christmas" Way back in 1952, Rodgers and Hammerstein released a song, "Happy Christmas, Little Friend" and I see no reason why it couldn't be true that Zodiac had read some of Charles Dickens work: "Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth, and transport the traveler back to his own fire side and quiet home."

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Wednesday, July 16, 2003 - 09:35 am:

Ann, his use of the word "drownding," brings to mind Mr. Peggotty in "David Copperfield," who used the expression "drown-dead" (drownded). I think the same sort of construction might have been used in "Dombey and Son," though I'm not 100 percent positive.

By Ann (Ann) ( - on Wednesday, July 16, 2003 - 05:32 pm:

Interesting point you have, Douglas. I don't think that any of these ideas are out in left field, as far as what may have inspired certain usage of language, where Zodiac is concerned. Any of this could be true or there are so many other possibilities. Though we may never know, I don't consider it time wasted to have spent time thinking about it. I really don't.

By Mark Z ( on Thursday, July 17, 2003 - 08:19 am:

When I see the phrase Red Phantom, I immediately think of the Masque of the Red Death sequence from Chaney's Phantom of the Opera (1925). If you ever see it, you never forget it. After much black and white goings-on, suddenly there's this Technicolor sequence where the Phantom, dressed as the Red Death, comes splashily into a masked ball. I expect this made some kind of connection with Zodiac, who was trying to be equally theatrical with his getup at LB.

So I don't know if Zodiac is necessarily a movie buff, but I'd bet that he saw this film (assuming the Red Phantom letter is the genuine article, which I recognize is a stretch).

By Scott_Bullock ( - on Thursday, July 17, 2003 - 12:11 pm:

Let's not forget that one doesn't necessarily have to be a "movie buff" to have seen a lot of films, and that the correlation between movies as a 'source of inspiration' can't automatically be inferred from the fact that certain media exists with a similar theme as that of the crimes. Even if we could prove beyond a doubt -- which we can't -- that Zodiac had definitely seen The Exorcist, Badlands, Charlie Chan at Treasure Island, and The Red Phantom, that doesn't mean for one second that he can be characterized as a "movie buff" anymore than making reference to Kobe Bryant makes someone an LA Laker fan. Graysmith has always made way too much of this, in my opinion. After all, the Zodiac never made reference to Dirty Harry or The Zodiak (sic) Killer; two early seventies films that referenced him both indirectly, in the case of the former, and directly, as the appalling ZK film did.

By Bookworm (Bookworm) ( - on Sunday, July 20, 2003 - 06:19 pm:

Hi all!

What about Alfred Hitchcocks "I Confess" and the title to one of his (4/13/58)series shows was titled "Like a Lamb to the Slaughter." (Confession Letter). "Psycho" Bates Mansion. They didn't have internet back then but maybe there was a way to get a list of series titles in chronological order. Did the series rerun again around the time of the murders?

Coincidentally, Hitchcock died on April 29,1980. The date (day) before the Bates letters were sent.
He worked for a telegraph and cable company before he got into movies. Search out some of the websites on him. He was from England too.

By Warren (Warren) ( - on Monday, July 21, 2003 - 07:10 am:

Bookworm - I have always thought there was a Hitchcock influence. The name LEIGH being below the killer's film "Psycho", Norman Bates being a live at home momma's boy who is a taxidermist; Janet Leigh being killed in mid December, etc. I believe AH's first cinematographer in England was named Arthur Allen Lee.

By Brad ( - on Monday, July 21, 2003 - 09:10 am:

Bookworm wrote:
"What about Alfred Hitchcocks "I Confess" and the title to one of his (4/13/58) series shows was titled "Like a Lamb to the Slaughter." (Confession Letter). "Psycho" Bates Mansion" (emphasis mine)

Warren wrote:
"The name LEIGH being below the killer's film "Psycho"...I believe AH's first cinematographer in England was named Arthur Allen Lee. (emphasis mine)

I had never thought of the hitchcock connection at all. Her name was Bates, lamb to the slaughter, name below killer's film... incredible!

And if that cinematographer thing is true that may be the greatest coincidence I have ever seen (at least in consideration of the other points quoted above in relation to this case...)

By Tom_Voigt ( - on Monday, July 21, 2003 - 01:20 pm:

Warren, I could find no "Arthur Allen Lee" in connection with Hitchcock, although he seemed fond of hiring an actor named Arthur Allen.

By Mark Zzzz ( on Tuesday, July 22, 2003 - 02:26 pm:

The cinematographer thing is a delusion. Hitchcock's usual cinematographers in England were Jack E Cox and Bernard Knowles. No name even remotely resembling Arthur Allen Lee appears as cinematographer for these pictures prior to 1938 when Hitchcock moved to America.

By Bookworm (Bookworm) ( - on Wednesday, July 23, 2003 - 06:28 am:

I've never seen the movie "Psycho" and didn't know Bates was a taxidermist.

Brad and Tom,
"Arthur Allen" is still a good connection.

"Lamb to the Slaughter" episode was written by Roald Dahl, who wrote children's books also. He wrote 6 of the Hitchcock's episodes including "Dip in the Pool" and "Poison."

"Lamb to the Slaughter" was about the wife of a policeman, who wants to divorce her. She is six months pregnant. She kills him with a frozen leg of lamb. I won't tell the rest in case anyone wants to read it. The story can be found online as well as Dahl's biography. Kathleen Johns was pregnant too.

"Dip in the Pool" Allen was a diver wasn't he? I'll have to see if I can find this story online.

By Brad ( - on Wednesday, July 23, 2003 - 12:07 pm:


I don't know if I'd go THAT far off axis, Bookworm. But the Bates/Lamb to the Slaughter/Arthur Allen/Name below killers film (Janet LEIGH) stuff is interesting.

However, if you buy the "Name below killers film", then you're lending at least some credibility to Graysmith's decryption of the "uncrackable" code. Just some food for thought.

By George ( - on Thursday, July 24, 2003 - 01:26 am:

Scott: Bullseye! Thank you for understanding my question.

Ann wrote;I think probably Zodiac was quite a movie watcher and he liked taking quotes from things he'd either seen in a movie or read. That's obvious.

I didn't write that Zodiac wasn't influenced by books. Excepting Blue Meanies and it's relation to "Yellow Submarine," could you provide just one or two "obvious" examples where Zodiac used quotes from movies? Seriously, no big thing, I'd like to know. Thanks.

By Warren (Warren) ( - on Thursday, July 24, 2003 - 07:57 am:

Arthur A. Lee was president of Artlee Productions, which produced Alfred Hitchcock's first movie in England, "The Pleasure Garden" (1925). It is at the top of a poster for the film and just a possible Zynchronocity.

By Ann (Ann) ( - on Thursday, July 24, 2003 - 10:49 pm:

George asked: "could you provide just one or two "obvious" examples where Zodiac used
quotes from movies? Seriously, no big thing, I'd like to know. Thanks."

Ann's reply: "No, I can't."

I guess it was just one of the things that could be said about Zodiac, that he'd seen and commented on a few movies. I don't know who was first to use the words, "movie buff" maybe Graysmith.

Where are you going with this, George? I mean, what?, uhhh? huh? and hmmm?

By George ( - on Thursday, July 24, 2003 - 11:32 pm:

Where are you going with this, George? I mean, what?, uhhh? huh? and hmmm?

Ann, I was looking for other quotes from movies which I may have missed. Ergo, I asked you a question.

Here's why: Movies (in general) are fantasy, and certain genres, such as Sci-Fi or Horror are often extreme fantasy. I had hoped Zodiac was
a movie buff! Here is but one reason: His frequent mention of slaves in afterlife. I have never thought Zodiac truly believed he would have slaves in his afterlife. However, if he had constantly quoted movie dialogue, esp. the above genres, I might rethink my position on the slaves/afterlife subject due to the fantasy element of movies themselves; I might think Zodiac more fantasy-driven than sociopathic.

(Of course, he was, it seems, well into fantasies anyway; I wanted to see if movies were one source
of his fantasy fodder.)

Just playing a hunch, but he was no buff of the cinema, in my opinion, and it may well have been Mr. Graysmith who stressed the movie buff idea first, I don't know either.

Anyway, it turned out to be a good thread, thanks all, and the most important Zodiac movie, In Control Of All Things, draws nearer each day.
I can't wait!

By Sandy (Sandy) ( - on Friday, July 25, 2003 - 05:12 pm:

The movie that was showing the weekend of the 4th/69 in Vallejo was "NO Way To Treat A Lady". It will be on TV this week, Monday I believe. Its about a serial killer,who enjoys taunting a policeman,and likes to ware disguises.He hates women ! It is a movie worth watching. When I first saw it, I wondered if the Z got some of his ideas from this one.

By Ann (Ann) ( - on Friday, July 25, 2003 - 10:38 pm:

I see what you're saying, George. Thanks for explaining. It's an interesting question, as are, so many others. Hopefully every answer will not elude us forever.