It was a balmy summer night in Vallejo, California when the Zodiac first struck. It was like something from a horror movie: Betty Lou Jensen and David Faraday drove out to Lake Herman Road, a well-known lovers’ lane. It was the last anyone saw of them. That horrific event, and the ones that proceeded it, are the inspiration for Robert Graysmith’s investigative journalism novel, and in turn, David Fincher’s movie of the same name.

It was 2007 when "Zodiac" came out, and I was just old enough to get into the screening. Some of the stuff in that movie, from the opening murders to the subsequent near-kills, would stay with me for years after.

"Zodiac" is everything a crime thriller should be: thrilling, scary, enigmatic, but most of all it draws you into the mystery surrounding the events, and you start to feel like Graysmith himself -- completely consumed by the case.

The most likely suspect

Although the zodiac killer has become a kind of joke, with people like Ted Cruz being mockingly accused of being the killer, there are a lot of people who believe, based on evidence that is pretty much entirely circumstantial evidence, that Arthur Leigh Allen was the Zodiac killer, and one of those people is Robert Graysmith. During his research on the novel, Graysmith often received phone calls from a mysterious person who breathed heavily for a few seconds, then hung up.

While Allen was imprisoned for sexual misconduct, the calls stopped, then started up again after the date he was released.

But that isn’t the only thing: Allen owned a Zodiac-branded watch, one whose logo was very similar to that of the Zodiac killer himself. In searches of Allen’s apartment, the police found a lot of potentially incriminating evidence: a typewriter of the same brand that was used to write letters to various newspapers, including the San Francisco Chronicle.

Allen lived very close to one of the victims, and to an area where one of the killings took place.

That’s the most disturbing thing about the film -- the knowledge that it’s possible for people like the Zodiac killer to evade the law, and carry on doing what they do. Usually in serial killer movies, they’re shown as people who are unable to control themselves, but the Zodiac was nothing if not collected -- his murders were carefully planned, and he’s a man who knew exactly how to manipulate a police investigation.

David Fincher draws you into a world in which the Zodiac exists so effectively, that you can imagine exactly what it was like to be alive during those years, to understand the hysteria and fear surrounding the case.

Why should you get it?

"Zodiac" is one of my favorite movies of all-time, and unquestionably Fincher’s best piece of work to date. If you haven’t seen it, I’d highly recommend the director’s cut Blu-Ray, which includes around ten minutes of extra footage, and a documentary giving a step-by-step account of the Zodiac killer investigation, which is just as chilling as the film itself. Check out the trailer: