DVD Review

“The Serial Killers”

By Marcus Pan

The Serial KillersThree DVDs, six and a half hours, of death and perversion is enough for just about anybody methinks. On Dark Sky Films’ 2005 release of The Serial Killers, we have thirteen episodes of biographies, discussion and interviews with men and women that have struck fear into the hearts of millions during their heyday. Going as far back as The Lipstick Killer (William Heirens), one of the USA’s first, and occasionally looking at items such as the true story of The Amityville Horror (Ronald DeFeo Jr.), The Serial Killers 3 disc box set will satisfy your murderous cravings.

Well made and produced and some of the best documentaries of any genre, the discs cover many aspects of all of the serial and mass murderer’s rampages. As good as law enforcement could piece together from confessions and evidence, the makers didn’t concentrate on any one point of view. Local law enforcement officers, prosecutors, victims and their families are given equal screen time. The killers themselves are usually interviewed directly for heady insight into the minds of the deranged.

This isn’t your Silence of the Lambs standard fare stuff. The crimes discussed and shown are real. It’s enough for anybody, really, who has even a cursory interest into psychology, law enforcement, forensics and criminal behavior. The Lethal Lovers duo (Catherine May Wood & Gwendolyn Graham), The Hillside Strangler (Kenneth Bianchi) and the notorious Lady Killer (Theodore Robert Bundy) are here. We stay in the recent few decades of the past in order to show us a full storyline instead of delving too far into the current where stories are still being developed and change as each yelp of the fucked up minds of today’s killers run awry. And many of the murderers here I have only known about cursorily. This will give you an in-depth look at some of the more obscure serial killers of our country.

The soundtrack of the series is an eerie combination of jazz fusion and spookiness, giving the production as a whole a slick sound and feel. Videography is top notch and direction is superb. The killers themselves are near remorseless, and just seeing them on screen knowing what they have done as it is explained to you step by step, in gory brutal detail, is haunting. Equally scary is the statistics stated at the beginning of each episode – that there are as many as two hundred serial killers still plying their trade in the world at large. I find it interesting that just about all of the convicted murderers never accept what they’ve done – they always refer to their victims in the third person. “Yes, she was killed.” Not, “Yes, I killed her/him.”

The success of such films as Silence of the Lambs and its prequel/sequels, Seven and television shows like The X-Files, CSI, and 24 is a country-wide (and worldwide) fascination with the macabre. Wanting to see either things that you don’t have the balls to do – or just can’t accept having being done. It’s this that makes DVDs like The Serial Killers fascinating. What if you were raised by a whore mother like Henry Lee Lucas? What if your young life was as unfulfilling and rife with money problems as Lipstick Killer William Heirens? Would you snap just as boldly and all-encompassingly as these men? Could you be a part of a Lethal Lover duo if your life was just as fucked up?

Motivations of these men and women range from the grotesquely insane to the perversely sexual and everything in between…vengeance, hatred, fear. All of what made Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal dark, twisted and evil makes The Serial Killers tenfold as dark because, here, it’s real. It’s not Hollywood made up story time – actual crimes, actual victims, actual derangement. If you thought a Hollywood thriller was frightening, give this a shot – and know it can happen to you.

Contact Information:
Dark Sky Films
Post: MPI Media Group, 16101 S 108th Ave., Orland Park, IL, 60467, USA

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