Teen-Age Strangler (1964)

Teen-Age Strangler (1964) movie poster

director  Ben Parker
viewed: 06/23/2018

“Stocking around her neck, lipstick mark on her forehead.”

West Virginia isn’t exactly Hollywood. Heck, it isn’t exactly most places that are also not Hollywood where movies get made. In fact, I might be willing to hazard a guess that West Virginia is one of the least home-grown regional horror states in the country.

Teen-Age Strangler comes in 1964, just as The Beatles invaded America. Huntington, WV could be almost a decade behind that time, though the Fab Four do get name-dropped here briefly. Apparently, small town America had some ubiquity even then before cable television homogenized culture even further.

Teen-Age Strangler is a real oddity. It’s a teen film/juvenile delinquency potboiler, shaped not unlike Rebel Without a Cause despite that flick coming almost a decade earlier. But it’s also a sort of proto-slasher in which the killer doesn’t do so much slashing but strangling. This might be influenced by the real life Boston Strangler, whose crimes spanned 1962-1964.

This mash-up may not be such a successful invention, but it’s certainly unique in its own ways. Transitional Americana, from the soda shop to the serial killer.

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