20th Nov2015

‘The Honeymoon Killers’ Blu-ray Review (Arrow Video)

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Shirley Stoler, Tony Lo Bianco, Mary Jane Higby, Doris Roberts, Kip McArdle, Marilyn Chris, Dortha Duckworth, Barbara Cason, Ann Harris, Mary Breen | Written and Directed by Leonard Kastle

the-honeymoon-killers

Based on the notorious “Lonely Hearts” killers Martha Beck (Shirley Stoler) and Raymond Fernandez (Tony Lo Bionco) it tells the tale of two lovers who made a living by conning lonely women out of their savings. At first Martha was to be one of his victims before Raymond fell in love with her instead. Agreeing to let Raymond continue his manipulation of other women, Martha’s only rule was that she had to be a part of the plots, which eventually led to murder when her jealousy became too strong.

The pairing of Martha and Raymond is interesting because and works on-screen because their characters seem to be a perfect match. Both selfish and impulsive they are almost like children in the way they have their temper tantrums and act at times. Most of the murders we see on-screen come from the jealousy felt by Martha, but it is evident that the women they trapped were all part of a game played by the two.

It’s interesting watching The Honeymoon Killers and comparing it to other films featuring duos. Comparisons can be made to Badlands, Bonny and Clyde, and even Natural Born Killers, but the gritty feeling that the audience feels with this low-budget real-life crime thriller is closer to Last House on the Left at times, though the actions that we see on-screen are not as extreme. The relationship between Martha and Raymond though still has the same feeling of Krug and his gang of misfits.

Arrow Video’s release of The Honeymoon Killers features interviews and documentaries that not only look at the film itself and it’s interesting behind the scenes story but also the real life story of Martha Beck and Raymond Fernandez. It’s interesting to see how their story compares to their actual crimes, and even though they aren’t likable characters on-screen Martha’s one moment of redemption was not actually based on fact. Hearing the stories of Martin Scorsese’s work on the film is also interesting. It makes you wonder what his version of the film would look like had he not been fired from the film.

Another thing that becomes apparent from watching the documentaries is some of the story of Martha and Raymond that were left out. Elements of Voodoo and Raymond’s past life are missed out, which would add even more to the story especially as there are hints that he had killed in the past before he even met Martha. What we are presented with in The Honeymoon Killers instead is a focus much more on the relationship between the two, and how the women pulled into their trap were just pawns in the battle between the lovers.

The Honeymoon Killers is a cult classic that should be watched not only by fans of real-life crime dramas, but also of cinema itself. It may have a feel of being a low-budget movie but there is an underlying quality to the production, and the acting, that makes it very watchable. I’m not sure if I bought into the relationship between this version of Beck and Fernandez, but we are still made to understand how the two killers were obsessed with each other and that is what we buy into. Well worth a watch, Arrow Video have done a good job at bringing the film to Blu-ray and getting it the attention it richly deserves.

***** 5/5

The Honeymoon Killers is available on Dual Format DVD and Blu-ray in the UK now from Arrow Video.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek
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