Title: THE TODD KILLINGS (1970)
Description: any thoughts?
Chris Neill - June 20, 2005 01:47 PM (GMT)
Recently somewhere on these Mobius boards someone casually mentioned THE TODD KILLINGS. I recently caught up with this film and found that it really got under my skin. I thought Barry shear did a great job with this rarely-mentioned film, Robert F Lyons is effective in the lead as Skipper Todd, an immature loser with Manson-like influence over the teens in his neighbourhood. I'm sure the print I saw though was censored (it was the pre-cert UK release by Videomedia), since many of the incidences I've heard about in the film were not present, but then again the panning and scanning was pretty rough so there's a good chance much visual information present at the film's correct ratio was cropped from this. I believe the US video release is cut, too.
Has anyone any comments they would like to add regarding this film?
Jeff McKay - June 20, 2005 03:21 PM (GMT)
The US video release from Warners was the uncut R-rated version.
The film didn't make much of an impression on me, good or bad, but as a relic of the 70's, it's definitely worth a look.
John Black - June 21, 2005 07:18 AM (GMT)
I love THE TODD KILLINGS, which was National General's theatrical co-feature with PRIME CUT. Wonderful quirky cast (including Holly Near, Barbara Bel Geddes, Gloria Grahame, James Broderick, Richard Thomas, and Sherry (("The Velvet Vampire")) Miles) contribute to this early seventies vision of nihilism. Along with THE CANDY SNATCHERS, it's one of the most pessimistic films ever. Should be seen uncut and in 2:35-1, if possible. Although somewhat Mansonesque, the Robert F. Lyons character is more closely based on the Pied Piper of Tuscon (his name may have been Charles Schmidt, or something similar).
Chris Neill - June 21, 2005 10:29 AM (GMT)
I'd love to see THE TODD KILLINGS correctly at its full 'scope ratio, hopefully it'll get a decent DVD release someday.
I've worked out that my UK tape of THE TODD KILLINGS runs 87 minutes PAL (91 minutes NTSC) yet I believe the correct running time is more like 93 minutes, can anyone confirm this?
I found this webpage
which gives a little background on serial killer Charles Schmid whom the Skipper Todd character was based.
John Black - June 22, 2005 06:57 PM (GMT)
Chris, I have two slighty different US VHS prints of the film. One clocks in at just over 90 minutes, and the other is about 20 seconds longer (I eliminated company logos in both time checks).
The film doesn't have much in the way of overt violence or nudity (other than the kid getting "pantsed" in the swimming pool), so it can be shown on TV pretty much intact. There's one quick way to tell if the print is uncut, however. In an early scene in the teen hangout club, the young girls are talking about how hot Skipper Todd is. One girl says to another girl (I'm paraphrasing from memory), "You've been having wet dreams about him for weeks." If you're watching a slighty edited TV print, the word "wet" has been deleted from that sentence.
Chris Neill - June 23, 2005 09:27 AM (GMT)
Thanks John for the correct running time and information, it does seem that my tape of THE TODD KILLINGS is probably uncut. I also checked the BBFC website and the version released theatrically in UK back in the day was also just under 91 minutes (and no cuts were made). Pity about the rough panning and scanning, though!
John Bernhard - June 23, 2005 03:41 PM (GMT)
|QUOTE (John Black @ Jun 22 2005, 12:57 PM)|
The film doesn't have much in the way of overt violence or nudity (other than the kid getting "pantsed" in the swimming pool), so it can be shown on TV pretty much intact.
I don't have a running time, but I saw this on Cinemax under the A DANGEROUS FRIEND back in 81 or 82. There is full frontal male dangling courtesy of Skipper, which most certainly would not fly on broadcast tv. Maybe there are two versions?
John Black - June 24, 2005 06:12 AM (GMT)
I don't recall Skipper being naked or having sex with anyone in the film. So, perhaps I'll have to check one of my prints. Seems to me that such a shot might have drawn an X rating back in 1972, and the film did go out with a R rating.
Marc Morris - June 29, 2005 01:39 PM (GMT)
The UK video release is definitely cut. This was never cut for X on film, the Videomedia version received pre-VRA cuts advice and they made the cuts.
William S. Wilson - April 18, 2012 03:08 PM (GMT)
Saw this for the first time last night via a copy of the Warner Archive DVD. It is widescreen (2.35) and looks pretty good. Director Barry Shear creates a few effective scenes (Skipper's nighttime slo-mo attack in the bedroom being the highlight), but is also a bit hammy with the Pied Piper following teens at times ("Why'd you fink on Skipper?" says one to Richard Thomas before they all turn away in disgust as Skipper shows cops the bodies). The film is most interesting when it takes on the idea of the disaffected youth during this time period. Serial killer Charles Schmid, on who the film is based, did all of his killing pre-huge Vietnam protests, so it is interesting to see it framed in that context. The film belongs to Robert F. Lyons in the lead role and he is pretty great. You'll seriously want to punch your TV when he is smart talking to the cops (including Michael Conrad). Lyons has worked steadily, but I don't think ever achieved the higher level of fame that his talent deserved.
Jonathan Hertzberg - April 23, 2012 08:44 PM (GMT)
|QUOTE (William S. Wilson @ Apr 18 2012, 03:08 PM)|
| The film belongs to Robert F. Lyons in the lead role and he is pretty great. You'll seriously want to punch your TV when he is smart talking to the cops (including Michael Conrad). Lyons has worked steadily, but I don't think ever achieved the higher level of fame that his talent deserved. |
Always wondered why Lyons went from being a leading man in things like this and DEALING almost immediately into guest roles on television and supporting parts in B pictures...in the early to mid-'80s he seemed to become part of the Bronson stock company (DEATH WISH II, 10 TO MIDNIGHT, MURPHY'S LAW).