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Hunt for Zodiac Killer

For The Madera Tribune

In a scene from the movie “Zodiac Killer Trap,” filmed at the Ranchos Cafe, the cast is planning the “movie within the movie” to try and catch the Zodiac killer.


A new film to illustrate the hunt for a heinous killer know as the Zodiac has local ties.

The Zodiac Killer Trap is a film made up of local actors directed and produced by Ryan Katzenbach and his production company Katco Media.

His film within the film, recreates the efforts of Tom Hansen to catch the notorious Zodiac Killer by making a movie about him in the early 1970s.

Casting for the Zodiac Killer Trap included 46 local actors and was done by former Madera theater instructor, Ginger Latimer. The film has taken two years to complete.

“These are all actors that I know, and have worked with over the years. Many are former students, some current students, actors, teachers, theatre faculty at Fresno State or City… theatre friends and lots of talent,” she said.

They are shooting for a first quarter 2022 airing of the film on Reelz Channel, said Latimer.

The story illustrates how in the late 1960s and 1970s an unknown killer murdered at least five victims in the San Francisco Bay Area.

According to many of the entries on the Internet, communications from someone claiming responsibility boasts of as many as 28 killings.

Beginning in December 1968, he killed a high school couple, David Arthur Faraday, 17, and Betty Lou Jensen, 16, on their first date.

Zodiac Killer Trap shows what Hansen went through hoping to catch the murderer.

Hansen directed the eponymous movie, released in April of 1971. Even today the identity of the Zodiac Killer is still a subject for discussion. Recent claims as to the Zodiac’s identity still have followers of the case wondering.

The production, shot mainly in Madera County, had its share of problems typical of the times.

“Because of COVID-19, we were shut down for a while,” Latimer said. “We started filming in July 2019, and finished August 2021. Using various locations around Madera County, like Yosemite Lakes, San Joaquin River Conservancy, and the Tower Theatre in Fresno, most was filmed over a two-week period the summer of 2019, with final two scenes shot in August this year.”

The production was fortunate to secure some local vintage cars for this movie.

Scenes were filmed at the Adobe Ranch, parts of Road 400, the Ranchos Cafe, Papa Murphy’s Pizza, The Vineyard Restaurant, the homes of Sean and Sandra Kelly and of Brandon Gilles.

The story is woven around the murders and Hansen’s ideas to create a movie to flush the killer out, and the sacrifices he made to that end.

“The film is creative, unique and filled with facts and interviews interspersed with reenactments and actual footage,” Latimer said.


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