‘Myth of the Zodiac Killer’ Shatters 50-Year-Old Theories – but Were Minds Changed? [Exclusive]

For more than five decades, true crime theorists have clung to the notion that the grisly San Francisco Bay Area murders were diabolically executed by one man who became known as the Zodiac Killer.

The chilling, cryptic letters sent to area newspapers with the demand to be published to the string of five murders spanning from 1968 through 1969; the cold case of a serial killer who preyed on young people became an obsession for some theorists, even to this day.

But what if everyone was wrong about the Zodiac Killer? And the string of murders wasn’t random causation but was individually motivated by different killers.

What if the Zodiac, ghoulishly depicted behind the coded letters was actually not the killer at all? But a troll who latched onto news of the murders and strung them together to appear as though they were the work of a single madman?

Why did filmmakers make ‘Myth of the Zodiac Killer’?

The two-part Peacock docuseries, Myth of the Zodiac Killer explores a theory that each murder wasn’t necessarily connected. Nor were they done by a single individual. And the letters were not written by the killer or killers, but by someone who created this elaborate concept of a monster lurking in the darkness, waiting to strike at random – which ultimately distracted officials and the public as to who really killed those five people.

Myth of the Zodiac Killer Key Art |Peacock

Myth of the Zodiac Killer Director Andrew Nock also held the belief that the Zodiac was an individual. He dove into the available literature, which informed his opinion of him.

“Like most people, that was my initial gateway into it. But when I started digging, I was just very fascinated that there are so many theories,” he told Showbiz Cheat Sheet. “So many different aspects and there’s something that really made me want to make this kind of documentary.”

‘Myth of the Zodiac Killer’ isn’t about solving the case

“It wasn’t really about solving the case. But it was really about this community of Zodiac theorists, thousands of them all over the world. Very intense,” he continued. “And they said they’re right. And everyone else is wrong. They’re not very charitable towards one another.”

“They’re just entrenched in their ideas that there’s this one person. And there are so many different suspects. What was fascinating was the one thing that they all seemed to agree on was they all disliked this one guy in the Midwest. Who has a really dodgy taste in shirts as a community college English professor. And that’s what really drew me to this. Because, wow they all dislike each other, but they all agree that they really dislike this one guy. Because he’s kind of loud and brash. And he has this theory that completely flies in the face of everyone else’s theory. And I thought that was fascinating.”

Theories cling to Zodiac theories

That “brash” Midwestern professor is Thomas Henry Horan, who doesn’t believe in the single killer theory. Following police documentation, which included forensic and eyewitness accounts, Horan believes there is a motive behind the individual murders. And that the letters are completely separate.

Zodiac theorists in the documentary aren’t impressed with Horan’s theories and still push back on his claims of multiple killers. Nock followed some of the Zodiac forums and found that people continue to cling to the notion of one, cold-blooded, diabolical serial killer.

“Before and after the documentary, the majority of the Zodiac community believe that this was a lone criminal mastermind. A supervillain in a crazy superhero costume,” he said. “Who is he just so smart that he’s evaded authorities for about 50 years.”

“When we mapped it out using the actual police reports and the measurements that we believe are as accurate as they could be, it does seem like someone would have stepped out the passenger seat of the car to fire that shot,” he shared.

Nock and Horan recreated the first murder in the docuseries. Evidence points to a shot being fired from outside the passenger door of the killer’s car. This leans into the theory of two shooters in the first murder.

Viewer reaction has been mixed

Despite some of the factual evidence in the police reports, some theories won’t give up their theory of who the Zodiac is.

“They don’t want to give up the ghost,” he said. “They want to have the supervillain. And that’s what they were kind of upset about, was that it kind of bashed their fantasies. And so even today he just seems like this antihero that people are hanging onto for some strange reason. The fact that these crimes are separate consequences just isn’t so appealing, I guess, to them.”

In the end, Nock’s docuseries did what it intended to do: foster conversation. “The reaction has been mixed but in a good way,” he said. “There are people who say hey I don’t agree with everything you are saying. But there are some good points here that we hadn’t considered before.”

Andrew Nock believes the Zodiac hood will be found someday

Viewers are also intrigued by some on-camera interviews with eyewitnesses and family members who had never spoken out before. “Some theorists are saying that they won’t listen to anything Horan has to say. But then others are saying there’s a lot of good information to take away,” he said.

Andrew Nock wears sunglasses
Andrew Nock| Peacock

“My hope is that someday there’ll be a yard sale in Napa County. And one of these days someone’s gonna find an old trunk and in it will be the Zodiac hood,” he said. “Because whoever took the time to sew this, is going to cherish this thing, which is what a forensic psychologist told me.”

“And I think one of these days, it’s gonna show up,” he said.

Myth of the Zodiac Killer part one and two are currently streaming on Peacock.

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