The Boston Strangler Returns

1213212347We heard recently that director Brian De Palma, he of Scarface and The Untouchables fame, had signed on to direct a movie based on the notorious Boston Strangler murders of the early 1960s. We were elated because we assumed (incorrectly) that it would be based on Sebastian Junger’s 2006 book, A Death in Belmont, a great read but one which Casey Sherman nevertheless savagely critiques in an article for us.

Instead, the script was adapted from Susan Kelly’s little-known book, The Boston Stranglers: The Public Conviction of Albert DeSalvo and the True Story of Eleven Shocking Murders. This one exhaustively detailed the 11 heinous murders, most of which involved molesting the women and strangling them with their own stockings. The book also chronicled the aftermath of Albert DeSalvo’s confession, trial, and murder.

Kelly, a professor at Hampshire College, says she wasn’t even aware that De Palma had agreed to do the movie until one of her students told her about an Entertainment Weekly blog post. The script for the The Boston Stranglers was written by Alan Rosen and currently clocks in at a hefty three hours worth of screen time. Rosen was previously best known for writing five episodes of the late ’80s sitcom, Head of the Class.

If that worries you, check out the film’s producer. It’s Gale Ann Hurd, De Palma’s ex-wife. She’s responsible for such hits as The Punisher and the Hulk. In other words, expect The Black Dahlia‘s box-office numbers with this one. Which is not to say De Palma still doesn’t have decent pull. Significant names have been mentioned as potentials for the role of the controversial killer, including Mark Wahlberg, Tom Cruise, and Benicio Del Toro.

If De Palma’s looking to scout locations, Boston senior editor Geoff Gagnon lives in the apartment where the Strangler killed his last victim. Just saying.

—David Mashburn