On October 28th 1987 a letter was mailed to the Vallejo Times-Herald stating "This is the Zodiac speaking. I am crackproof. Tell herb caen that I am still here. Tell the blue pigs if want me I will be out driving around on Halloween in my death machine looking for some kiddies to run over. Cars make nice weapons. The pigs can catch me if They can find me out there. Just like in the movie The Car. Tell the kiddies watch before they cross the street on Halloween nite. Tell Tochi my new plans."
The Zodiac Killer mailed the 'Exorcist' letter on January 29th 1974, just over one month after the USA release of 'The Exorcist' movie on December 26th 1973. He then mailed the 'Badlands' letter on May 8th 1974, just over one month after the Los Angeles, California release date of Badlands on March 29th 1974.
The Car was released on May 13th 1977, so this time the Zodiac (or a hoaxer) would take 10 years to reference this movie in the 1987 letter. Was this really the primary inspiration for this letter, or had the author read something in the newspapers far more recently that triggered his recollection of the 1977 film, bearing in mind the tone of the letter and his threat of running over kids in his vehicle.
Just over a month before the arrival of this correspondence, on September 12th 1987, Jose Santo Bugarin (26) and Rodolfo Alvaro (31) were traveling on King Road, San Jose, California when their car slammed into four children playing on the front lawn of a residence, killing three and injuring one. The driver then backed over the bodies and left the scene. Both were apprehended a short time later. "Bugarin was arrested on three counts of second-degree murder. Alvaro also was arrested on murder charges." Chicago Tribune. This was covered extensively in the newspapers.
Did the Zodiac Killer or the author of the 1987 letter read the news stories of this senseless crime and callously draw inspiration from this tragedy (Cars make nice weapons), compelling him to write the above correspondence, piggybacking off newspaper articles, in not dissimilar fashion to his early communications.
The Car movie featured a satanic driverless car running people over in the fictional desert town of Santa Ynez in Utah. IMDB.
However, Santa Ynez is not so fictional in California.
The town of Santa Ynez is one of the communities of the Santa Ynez Valley. It is situated just 20 minutes or 12 miles (as the crow flies) from the site of the Robert Domingos (18) and Linda Edwards (17) murders on June 4th 1963, widely touted as an early Zodiac crime.
Anton LaVey was awarded the title of Technical Advisor in the movies credits, with a quote from his Satanic Bible.
Analysis of the 1986 'Zodiac' letter.