Gray Brothers Films
Directors: Adam Gray & Andrew Gray
Producer: Adam Gray
The identity of the Zodiac Killer is one of the greatest true crime mysteries of all time. Unmasking the serial killer who terrorized the Bay area of San Francisco in the late 60s and early 70s has become a life-shaping quest for countless civilian researchers. It is a cold case so tantalizing once you start reading it’s nearly impossible to stop. As one dedicated online Zodiologist lamented, “there’s more than one way to lose your life to a serial killer.” The facts and myths surrounding these horrific crimes, taunting letters and cryptograms continue to fascinate investigators after nearly fifty years. The Zodiac Effect is a feature documentary that explores the impact the case has had on those committed to solving it and those accused of being involved.
The Zodiac Effect delves deep into the subculture and mystery of the Zodiac killer, painting intimate portraits of those obsessed with the case. Every researcher has their own suspect and personal investment in the case. In each section of the film we will learn more about the case from the perspective of a dedicated Zodiac researcher and hear their story of obsession.
The Zodiac Effect
Who Killed Michelle Martinko?
Since 1979, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a quintessential Middle America town has been haunted by the brutal unsolved murder of high school senior Michelle Martinko. Michelle had it all. She was popular, beautiful, had an exciting older boyfriend and an undoubtedly bright future. The entire community was shaken to its core when, just days before Christmas, her body was found in the parking lot of the Westdale Mall, strewn across the front seat of the family Buick she had been driving that night. Michelle was nearly unrecognizable after being stabbed more than 20 times in the face and chest by her killer. There were no signs of sexual assault and the $180 she had taken with her to the mall to buy a new coat was still in her purse.
In the 37 years since her murder, this act of evil has become the stuff of legends in Cedar Rapids. Rumoured suspects have included a satanic cult, a secret service agent, serial killers, a convicted rapist, jealous school girls, jilted lovers, the police chief’s son, the charming young choir director, the school principal, and the main suspect - the boyfriend who allegedly couldn’t let her go. As each year passes, rumours and facts have become so intertwined that even the residents of Cedar Rapids can no longer distinguish between the two.