by Bryant L. Griffin
Writer and producer Barry L. Levy is set to make his directorial debut with the upcoming film “Stranglehold,” which is the true story of a Boston task force’s efforts to apprehend one of America’s most notorious serial killers.
Known as the Boston Strangler, the killer first struck in 1962 and murdered 13 women in 19 months. Many of the victims, who ranged in age from 19 to 85, were sexually assaulted and strangled with their own possessions, such as a belt or nylon stockings. Albert DeSalvo was eventually arrested for the crimes. Broken Road Productions’ Todd Garner and Sean Robins will produce the film along with The Solution Entertainment Group, which will provide financing.Solution’s producers for thefilm include Myles Nestel and Lisa Wilson, with Stephen Emery executive producing. Casting is expected to begin soon.
Levy’s writing credits include such films as 2002’s “Wolves of Wall Street,” 2008’s “Vantage Point” and 2013’s “Paranoia.” “Stranglehold,” which Levy also scripted, centers on one of crime’s great whodunits as the Massachusetts Attorney General forms a special unit to catch a killer who has left a city on edge. With a disgraced detective and a Hollywood psychic spearheading the investigation, the unit unearths an even more heinous crime.
Exploring dark topics is nothing new for Levy. He took on the subject of werewolves early in his career with “Wolves of Wall Street.” But as he slips into the director’s chair for the first time, it’s interesting to speculate how he might approach the material. The Boston Strangler case presents an unsettling and compelling framework for Levy to build his latest genre venture from. A killer that effortlessly moves from victim to victim while evading the authorities is a classic horror trope, and with “Stranglehold” grounded in real-life events, Levy has an ideal recipe for audiences hungry for a suspenseful and harrowing tale. And even beyond the killings, the case certainly has its mysteries. In 1967, DeSalvo was sentenced to life in prison after confessing to the crimes. However, he recanted before being found stabbed to death in a prison infirmary in 1973. Doubts persisted about DeSalvo’s guilt, and whether there was more than one killer, but DNA testing in 2013 linked him to a 19-year- old woman who was believed to be the Boston Strangler’s final victim. Several films have previously spotlighted the murders, including 1964’s “The Strangler,” 1968’s “The Boston Strangler” and 2008’s “The Boston Strangler – The Untold Story.”