Zodiac is a 2007 American mystery-thriller film directed by David Fincher. The screenplay by James Vanderbilt is based on the 1986 non-fiction book of the same name by Robert Graysmith (played by Jake Gyllenhaal in the movie).

Graysmith’s book tells the true story of a serial killer who terrified the San Francisco Bay Area in the late ’60s and early ’70s.


I’m not a fan of serial killer movies. In the lyrics to ‘PASSABLE’ by The Fall, the inimitable Mark E Smith tells us:

“Serial killers were always a bore in my book.”

Mark was right, of course, even if he did go on to pen the lyrics of “What About Us”, which is a song about a Doctor Harold Shipman who killed at least 15 of his patients (incidentally, Shipman was, at one time, my mother’s G.P.).

Unlike Mark E Smith, Zodiac was boring, barely “passable”, and only of interest for its many typewriter sightings …


… especially those at the San Francisco Chronicle …


… a newspaper room initially equipped with mostly beige IBM Selectric 72s, as used by journalist Paul Avery (Robert Downie Jnr)  …



Paul Avery eventually leaves The Chronicle, and the “Baby” IBM machines of old are replaced with grown-up Selectric IIs…


The San Francisco Police Department, meanwhile, use whatever typewriters they can lay their hands on …


A Smith Corona here …


An Olivetti there…


A “forensics” Royal …


Any IBM machines that happen to be around, are there purely for decoration …


Unless, as I suspect, the wedge used by Detective Dave Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) is an IBM machine …

 Zodiac movie image Mark Ruffalo

Now that’s much more intriguing than the hunt for a serial killer.


Silence of the Lambs1? No thanks.


(1 Oddly enough The Fall’s “Hip Priest” (from their 1982 album “Hex Enduction Hour”) was
used to score the climactic basement scene as Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) finally tracks down the killer, and is included on the movie soundtrack.)