The Zodiac Killer in film and television

Zodiac Killer expert Dave Oranchak has compiled a list of 22 feature films and television series that feature the Zodiac Killer.

Deutsche Version

In my last blog article, I presented an analysis by blog reader Tobias Schrödel. While we are on the subject, I would like to refer you to the next analysis by a blog reader today. It comes from Dave Oranchak. Dave is probably known to most readers as one of the three solvers of the second Zodiac cryptogram.

Quelle/Source: Oranchak


The Zodiac Killer

Dave has compiled a list of movies and television series that have something to do with the Zodiac Killer.

Quelle/Source: Schmeh

For those who don’t know, the Zodiac Killer was a serial killer who wreaked havoc in the San Francisco area a good 50 years ago. He sent a total of four coded messages to the press, two of which were solved. The Zodiac Killer was never caught.

Quelle/Source. Schmeh


The list

Dave found a total of 22 movies and series related to the Zodiac Killer. Documentaries do not count. Excerpts from these works can be seen in a video Dave posted on his YouTube channel:

Here is the said list of movies and series (the number in front of each indicates where in the video the clip can be seen):

  1. 0:40 Dirty Harry (1971)
  2. 1:38 The Zodiac Killer (1971)
  3. 2:44 The Exorcist III (1990)
  4. 3:16 The Limbic Region (1996)
  5. 4:48 Nash Bridges (1996)
  6. 6:35 Millenium (1998)
  7. 8:21 The Zodiac (2005)
  8. 10:27 Zodiac (2007)
  9. 13:45 Curse of the Zodiac (2007)
  10. 14:24 Medium (2009)
  11. 15:46 Criminal Minds (2009)
  12. 16:30 Criminal Minds (2012)
  13. 18:31 Seven Psychopaths (2012)
  14. 18:50 The Butchers (alternate title: Death Factory) (2014)
  15. 19:47 American Horror Story: Hotel (2015)
  16. 20:09 Arrow (2016)
  17. 20:31 MacGyver (2017)
  18. 22:55 American Horror Story: Cult (2017)
  19. 24:03 Riverdale (2017)
  20. 25:58 Awakening the Zodiac (2017)
  21. 28:00 Criminal Minds (2018)
  22. 29:14 The Batman (2022)


The most important entries

I could think of two feature films for such a list to begin with:

  • “Zodiac” (2007): This stiff from director David Fincher is undoubtedly the most famous Zodiac killer feature film. The plot sticks pretty closely to the facts. However, since there are a lot of facts in the Zodiac case, the movie sets a tremendous pace. One can easily lose the overview. My tip is therefore: You should first familiarize yourself with the case before watching the film, then you will understand the plot better.
  • “The Zodiac Killer” (2005): This film with Justin Chambers is usually described as the worse of the two Zodiac adaptations. Therefore, I did not have too high expectations when I watched it. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Compared to the former film, the plot progresses much slower, only part of the multi-layered case is viewed. In return, you get to know the characters better and the tension develops more subtly.

Needless to say, both films are on Dave’s list. The former work can be found at position 8, the latter at posision 7.

Also, I would have thought of the film “Awakening the Zodiac”, which I blogged about in 2017. This is also on Dave’s list, at position 20. Unlike the two films above, “Awakening the Zodiac” is not a film adaptation of the Zodiac Killer case, but it does make reference to it. It is about a young couple who find a video showing two murders by the Zodiac Killer. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen this movie yet.

The newest movie on Dave’s list is “Batman” (2022). I have already blogged about this film as well, after blog reader John Lamping pointed out to me that there is a coded message in the trailer. I was not aware that this flick had any reference to the Zodiac Killer. As I read up on Wikipedia, it features a serial killer who is based on the Zodiac.

Dave refrained from mentioning the feature film “Old” (2021), which I have also blogged about before. Although there is a cryptogram in it that reminds of the Zodiac messages, but otherwise there is no closer reference. Since it was Dave himself who pointed me to “Old”, I assume he didn’t overlook this film.


Are there any others?

Unfortunately, the rest of the films and series on Dave’s list mean nothing to me. Can any reader say more about one or the other entry?

And finally, of course, the question remains whether there are other Zodiac Killer-related movies or series. Maybe there is even a German production or two that alludes to the Zodiac Killer. I would be happy about any hints from my readers.

If you want to add a comment, you need to add it to the German version here.

Further reading: Neue Informationen zur gelösten Zodiac-Killer-Botschaft veröffentlicht


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