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The Grand Inquisitor2008

  • 3.5
Legendary blacklisted Hollywood actress Marsha Hunt, 90, makes a stunning return to the screen in this haunting short film that writer-director Eddie Muller describes as "a noir fairy tale, based on actual events." A young woman (Leah Dashe) discovers a cache of used books that she believes holds clues to the solution of decades-old crimes. When the authorities dismiss her, she takes matters into her own hands, ringing the doorbell of Hazel Reedy (Hunt), a lonely recluse who may or may not be the widow of America's most notorious serial killer. Their cross-generational confrontation, played out in real time, leads to an unexpected and shocking conclusion. Adapted from Muller's short story of the same name, published in "A Hell of a Woman: An Anthology of Female Noir."

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3 members like this review

An excellent film with not a wasted frame, the real joy of "The Grant Inquisitor" is Marsha Hunt's performance as Helen Reedy, an elderly widow who may have been the wife of the Zodiac killer. The much younger Leah Dashe—whose performance is fine, but not anywhere near the same league as Hunt's, and this is the film's only weakness—is Lulu Vaughn (with a Louise Brooks cut, no less, a point not lost on Reedy), who has discovered a cache of books that point to Reedy's husband as the Zodiac killer. After being rebuked by the SF Police that the Zodiac murders are considered closed/inactive, Lulu decides to confront Reedy herself. There's a lot packed into this short film, and the ending is both heart-rending and horrifying.

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top reviewer

Member Reviews (13)

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top reviewer

An excellent film with not a wasted frame, the real joy of "The Grant Inquisitor" is Marsha Hunt's performance as Helen Reedy, an elderly widow who may have been the wife of the Zodiac killer. The much younger Leah Dashe—whose performance is fine, but not anywhere near the same league as Hunt's, and this is the film's only weakness—is Lulu Vaughn (with a Louise Brooks cut, no less, a point not lost on Reedy), who has discovered a cache of books that point to Reedy's husband as the Zodiac killer. After being rebuked by the SF Police that the Zodiac murders are considered closed/inactive, Lulu decides to confront Reedy herself. There's a lot packed into this short film, and the ending is both heart-rending and horrifying.

3 members like this review
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top reviewer

This is a wonderfully wicked little film, a California brand of Grand Guignol. It is more than just the triumphant return of Marsha Hunt to the screen, this is a meeting of two worlds: elements of classic noir of the 1940's encounter the urban horror of modern, neo-noir. The film concludes with a turn of events that serve not to shock, but to remind us that even in darkness, we might find our humanity.

1 member likes this review
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filmmaker

Unusual little film with a good surprise ending. I enjoyed it. Eddie Muller knows his noir, too.

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top reviewer

Marsha Hunt is fine: we have been deprived all these years; but this short movie has no cinematic virtue other than recording Hunt's performance, while the story is simplified melodrama and the production is stagey..

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top reviewer

Complete knockout.

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top reviewer

This was wonderful. That's all I will say. It is best to watch it knowing only that it is worth seeing.

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top reviewer

Not sure there was a real point to this film other than to rattle and then shock the viewer. If a film is going to play with emotion, there ought to be a purpose other than gratification of the maker. Worst of all, to evoke the greatness that is the Grand Inquisitor, in a generally purposeless film, is inappropriate at best.

Perhaps I missed something here...I'd be interested to see if anyone else enjoyed it or felt the same.

This is a very well done short. Marsha Hunt is excellent. You are the better for seeing it.

Great, albeit disturbing, twist

I believe that a feature film was made on this same topic. I don't believe it was anything like this.

Not bad. I love seeing films that maximize their small budget all while maintaining audience interest. Certainly not an amazing film but well done with what they had and you can't ask for more than that.

excellent

The Grand Inquisitor is a short film about redention. The widow of a serial killer carries her guilt for not having had the courage to stop the brutal killings by her husband. When a friend of one of the victims discovers secrets, Lulu confronts the widow who reveals madness. The shocking ending provides redemtion.