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Film / Teen-Age Strangler

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Teen-Age Strangler is a 1964 horror picture set and filmed in the city of Huntington, West Virginia. There's a mysterious killer targeting young(ish) women by strangling them, leaving their bodies in the open and marking their foreheads with lipstick.

Said killer has also appropriated one of the club jackets from a local drag-racing gang, leading to the protagonist Jimmy being framed for the murders at first. Eventually, suspicion drifts to other members of the gang, until the real killer is found.

The movie is punctuated with a musical number in the middle named "Yipe Stripes."

For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode see here.


Teen-Age Strangler contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Adults Are Useless/Parental Abandonment: The few parents seen in the film are probably among the worst examples you could find. Jimmy's father seems far more concerned with how Jimmy's criminal record affects the parents' social life than how it would affect the boy's future; meanwhile, Betty's mom is overly excited to meet a police officer, and her dad is definitely the "hands-off" type.
    Dad: That's your job [to protect the children], isn't it? That's what you get paid for!
    Det. Anderson: And what's your job as a parent?
  • Calling Card: The strangler marks his victims' foreheads with lipstick.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The janitor.
  • Chewing the Scenery: The female protagonist's mother and Mikey are some of the most notable examples of what happens when "community theater goes to the silver screen."
    • Also, Jimmy and Mikey's angry dad, who manages to say "by Jupiter" with a straight face.
  • Dark Reprise: The murderer's theme is a Darker and Edgier variation of "Yipe Stripes".
  • Advertisement:
  • Dull Surprise: A cop tells a woman that her neighbor has been murdered. Her "Oh, no!" is about as flat and lifeless as you possibly can get for any sort of response, let alone hearing your neighbor has been violently murdered.
    Crow: (in the most flat and lifeless voice possible) It wasn't me who was murdered was it?
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Inverted to an almost disturbing degree. Absolutely nobody in this movie treats the string of violent murders with the severity that anyone should. Jimmy's parents actually assume that it was him because they think that he once stole a bike. (Which itself is treated with a much more played-straight example of this trope.)
  • The Fool: Non-comedic example in Mikey, though he was probably intended to be more a Littlest Autism Patient.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Curly starts out as a Jerk Jock gang leader, but after being accused of multiple murders and narrowly surviving a nasty auto accident, he becomes a much kinder and gentler guy.
  • Honor Before Reason: Sure, Jimmy could give the cops his alibi, clearing his name of multiple murders and helping the authorities catch the serial killer targeting his peers — but that could get his girlfriend in trouble with her parents for sneaking out, and he just can't do that.
  • Large Ham: Mikey, especially his "He didn't steal no bike, neither! I did!" moment. He's not even the only one in the cast overdoing it.
    • Ham-to-Ham Combat: He was only following the example of the gal who played Betty, as she was the only one in this film who had any kind of previous acting experience (and she'd never been in a movie either).
  • Never Trust a Title: There is no teenaged strangler, nor does the strangler kill teenagers exclusively. Likely intentional, not just to cash in on the "Teenage X" genre, but as a Red Herring (Would you look at anyone other than the janitor if you weren't looking specifically for a teenager?)
  • Non-Actor Vehicle: Most of the cast weren't actors. It shows. invoked
  • Reckless Gun Usage: The detective just fires through a school window in the general direction of Betty and the janitor.
  • Sticky Fingers: Mikey is a kleptomaniac. It becomes a Plot Point.
  • Theme-and-Variations Soundtrack
    Betty (as "Yipe Stripes" plays on a jukebox): Gee, that's a nice song.
  • There Are No Therapists: That's okay, though, as apparently there's no such thing as grief or psychological trauma, either. Tony's girlfriend is killed, and he just goes to school the next day no problem. Betty is nearly murdered and her attacker is shot dead in front of her, but give her 24 hours and she'll be back at the malt shop shakin' her groove thang to possibly the worst song ever recorded.

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