The Torso Killer

Top Honors, multiple credits

Status: In negotiations, 109 pages

Written by Mike Palmisciano

Attachments: Two “A” list actors reviewing.

The Torso Killer is the true story of a  middle class, duty driven,  NYPD detective and his estranged teen age son who impossibly find closure during the hunt and capture of New York City’s most brutal serial killer; NOT the Son of Sam… the one the City tried to hide.

1980 – New York City; The financial capital of the world, teeters on the brink of economic collapse.  In gritty, dark  streets, cops, firemen and even sanitation workers are murdered in cold blood via fake 911 sniper calls. The crime rate is the highest the City has ever seen and as the Mayor Ed Koch and Police Commissioner Robert J. McGuire, secretly haggle with Disney, one of the largest entertainment conglomerates in the world for the renovation of  the seedy drug laden Times Square, a dozen minority women are hunted and systematically butchered by the most brutal serial killer in New York City history.  Not Son of Sam. The monster they tried to hide.

Terrified of upsetting their deal, the Mayor’s office suppresses the headlines and the Commissioner assigns a middle class, Italian American NYPD Detective to the case. He and his partner, affectionately known as the “Pizza Squad”, without benefit of the FBI or a 200 man task force, track down and capture the sadistic New York Ripper. This is a true crime story; One that has never been told;

And that NYPD detective who cracked the case… is my father.

In the vein of SE7EN, SEA OF LOVE and SUMMER OF SAM, The Torso Killer is a true story that features a middle class everyman battling his job, big city politics and the dissolution of his family as he struggles to hunt down and capture New York City’s most brutal and terrifying real life serial killer; The New York Ripper.

In the modern era of  inhuman “Serial Killers” (John Wayne Gacy, Jeffery Dahmer, The Zodiac etc),  Richard Cottingham (The Torso Killer), is by far the most brutal and enigmatic madman.  Cottingham, a mild mannered computer programmer from a major Insurance Company,  was captured,  convicted and sentenced to 112 years. He was also strongly suspected of kidnapping, raping and butchering at least 13 minority victims before his capture in 1980; leaving behind a trail of grisly, mutilated corpses often removing the heads, hands and feet of his victims before dousing them in gasoline and setting them ablaze.

Tagline: At the brink of chaos, he risked all to serve and protect.

Screenpens is accepting  requests from “A” list directors and Executive Producers interested in this project. Contact us at


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