Not Just Any Victim

Bruce Von Stiers

In 1975, New York City was in the midst of a financial crisis and an unprecedented crime wave. The mayor sliced city budgets after which the police and fire unions put out a pamphlet labeling the city as “fear city.” The same year, a thriller novel came out called Looking For Mr. Goodbar. It was about a woman who bar hopped, picking up men, and ended up paying the ultimate price for it.

There is a new short film that kind of in some ways echoes the tone of Looking For Mr. Goodbar. The title of the film is Victim No. 6. The film is also set in New York City in 1975.

The production companies behind the film are Black Dog Pictures and SOS Productions. Nancy Menagh was the writer and director for the film. Some of Nancy's previous work includes the short film As It Seems.

The film stars Heather Brittain O'Scanlon as Donna. Heather has starred in numerous short film including Lunch Thief and Wicked Image.

The film opens with a woman, Donna, lighting a cigarette. She is at a newsstand, glancing at a newspaper. The paper has a picture of a young woman with the headline The City Slasher. Apparently there is a serial killer on the loose in the city.

Donna is startled by her friend Judy. They talk about how awful the murder and Judy thinks it might not be a good idea to go out. But Donna persists. Judy is played by Rachel Farrar whose work includes being a stand-in on the television show, Rise, and being Zoe's Kazan's stand-in of the film, The Big Sick.

But is going to a bar a really good idea? Probably not, but the two of them do it anyway. Once at the bar, Judy sees someone she's been kind of dating. Then she moves off to be with him. While watching the cash register for her bartender friend, Robby, Donna is approached by a leisure suited guy. Were leisure suits ever really cool? I don't know, but this guy was sleazy. He seemed to think he was all that, and his name was Bruce. Now, most of us guys named Bruce are pretty decent, but this one was definitely a sleezeball.

So, about this time in the film, you've got to be thinking, who is this so called victim of the film's title. Will it be Donna, or maybe Judy? Or someone else entirely?

As for me, I figured there was going to be some kind of twist in the film. Were either Donna or Judy going to get hacked up? Was Donna trying to get herself set up as a victim? Was this somehow a kind of vigilante thing, where the serial killer gets bested?

Donna is saved from the clutches of Bruce by a stranger, Mark. They hit it off and then decide to go somewhere else. They end up going to Donna's apartment. But what happens then is not quite what we might think it would.

The twist, when it came, kind of made me think of those old Alfred Hitchcock stories. The story usually built up and then, when you least expected it, there was a delicious plot twist. That's how I felt about this film. It was a good story and then, just when you thought you knew was going to happen, well, it was something else.

Bruce was played by Craig Mungavin, who was in the film Laurence. Robby was played by Brian Richard O'Connor. Michael Sean Cirelli was the guy, Tim, that Judy went off with. And Mark was played by Russ Russo, who has been in films such as Bad Frank.

One of the cool things about the film was the music. Three songs from the group Bosco and Peck were featured in the film. When Donna and Judy enter the bar, there is a cool hard rock song playing. The song was Stop Wait Listen by the ‘70's band, Circus. And at the end of the film there was the great Ides of March classic, Vehicle.

I really liked Victim No. 6. The acting was excellent, the plot has a delicious twist and the music was great.

Victim No. is being shown at various film festivals. It will be featured at the Garden State Film Festival at the end of March. 2021.

To find out more about Victim No. 6, you can visit the SOS Productions web site at . There is also a Facebook page for the film. It can be found at

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© 2021 Bruce E Von Stiers