So, bearing in mind the Zodiac's insatiable ego and penchant for letter writing, one would have expected the Zodiac Killer to have found it extremely difficult to resist contacting the newspapers to give us his review of the movie, considering he had no hesitation in giving us his opinion on The Exorcist and Badlands movies. The Exorcist movie was released in the USA on December 26th 1973 and one month later the Zodiac Killer would give his appraisal of the movie, calling it "the best satirical comedy that I have ever seen". The Badlands movie went on general release in the USA on March 24th 1974 and featured in his 'Citizen' card correspondence just over a month later, yet the Zodiac Killer failed to ever mention anything about a movie solely dedicated to his murderous rampage, when 'The Zodiac Killer' was released on April 7th 1971, directed by Tom Hanson. The Zodiac Killer replied to Vallejo Police Chief Jack E. Stiltz in the San Francisco Examiner on August 4th 1969, replied to Chief Martin Lee in the San Francisco Chronicle on November 9th 1969 and to journalist Paul Avery in a personalized Halloween card, yet in the instance, absolutely nothing. Eight months later, the Zodiac Killer would get a reprieve when the much higher profile movie 'Dirty Harry', starring Clint Eastwood, was released on December 23rd 1971 featuring aspects of the Zodiac case - a movie that wouldn't have escaped Zodiac's attention. Here was the perfect opportunity to bathe in his notoriety, but yet again, absolutely nothing. In fact, the Zodiac Killer would apparently keep up this silence for nearly three years until the Exorcist Letter in the January of 1974, commenting on a movie that has nothing to do with him. His moment in the sun had been lost. The Exorcist letter signed off with a threat: "P.S. If I do not see this note in your paper, I will do something nasty, which you know I'm capable of doing." I'm afraid he was three years too late.
One avenue to unearth the identity of the Zodiac Killer is to examine this three year period of 'absentia', which may ultimately prove more fruitful than examining the crimes and letters themselves. If we believe the Zodiac Killer to be a resident of the Bay Area, then it makes perfect sense to examine prison records of the locality and work outward - starting with San Quentin Prison, located in Marin County. The 'Los Angeles' letter was mailed on March 13th 1971 and the 'Exorcist' letter on January 29th 1974, so a prisoner jailed in late March of 1971 or possibly April or May, and released in late 1973 or early 1974, for a time period approximating two and a half years, may just give us the identity of the killer we have yearned. The answer may not lie in the crimes the Zodiac committed, but more in the crimes he didn't commit.
A special thanks to Michael Cole.- Zodiac Revisited.