Directed by John Borowski
Macabre ~ Metal Band
Rick Stanton ~ Collector
David Van Gough ~ Artist
The Crawlspace Brothers ~ Folk style Musicians
Joe Coleman ~ Artist & Collector
Amanda Morden ~ Dahmer Tours
Hart D Fisher ~ Writer & artist (Unauthorized Jeffery Dahmer comic), Director, Actor, & entrepreneur
Matthew Aaron ~ Artist & Collector
Sam Hanes ~ Artist
(and many others)
Serial Killer Culture is a documentary that examines and tries to explain artists and collectors fascination with serial killers. Here's John Borowski's own words on the reasoning behind the documentary as taken from his Indiegogo campaign that helped fund this film back in 2013. "The intention is to shed light on why artists, collectors and the public are fascinated by serial killers, murder, crime, and death. The film also highlights the historical importance of archiving true crime artifacts and literature so that future generations may learn about true crime history".
Some of you may not be aware that my second favorite film genre is probable documentary, I'm a bit of an all around geek so if I can combine learning something new with watching a film I am a damn happy camper! I'm even more excited when I can combine my fascination with the psychology of real life crime and or horror culture into that documentary genre. I have watched many documentaries over the years and it turns out John Borowski is the man behind several of my favorites from the last few years (Carl Panzram, and H. H. Holmes). I am eager to see his film Albert Fish:In Sin He Found Salvation, which somehow I have so far missed...
Once I realized who was behind Serial Killer Culture I pretty much knew I was in for a interesting watch. John is a man who knows how to provide compelling stories that flow with information like a stream of water. The pace is even, the material is fascinating for anyone with a penchant for the macabre reality of real life horrors. Visually the film offers glimpses into to some very private collections of serial killer memorabilia including pieces like Pogo the Clown Paintings by Gacy, various drawings and writings by many of the most infamous killers of the last 100 years, as well as artifacts and pictures from crimes scenes through history, and much more.
Collectors represent just a layer of the film, there are also the countless artists and musicians who have found inspiration from the atrocities committed by serial killers through time. They express they fascination through differing mediums ranging from folk music, to hard core metal, paintings, publications, all to appease both their own interest and the commercial market. Murder is a marketable business with entrepreneurs at every corner, selling tickets for tours, or museum entrance along with everything else. Everything however comes to the same end result, a product based on death sold to an ever growing crowd.
Cynical as I may sound do not get me wrong, I too, like many am deeply fascinated by ALL of it, the psychology of the person committing the crime to the man who willingly sends John Wayne Gacy a picture of his son, (used for a portrait because the convicted killer wants to offer up a gift for the boys 2nd birthday, I mean who the hell does that and why?) and everything in between.
I am just as guilty as anyone else of helping to spur the market, case in point I watched the film right (several times already I might add)?!
Anyone interested in Serial Killer history or the sub culture that has formed around it over the years will be very happy with this one, though I think its appeal is much broader than those with a fascination in the morbid. The art, both made and inspired by these men (and women) and their horrific acts are really quite spectacular pieces sometimes. Whether you are a fan of the macabre or not you may find some unexpected beauty and deep emotional reactions, which after all is what art is truly supposed to be, not just something beautiful per se but something that invokes a deep emotional reaction, be it one of serenity or apprehension... On top of that Serial Killer Culture is a well made documentary of historical relevance that should be viewed as such, whether you want to admit it or not these men and their act as as well as those documenting and preserving the the artifacts all have a place in our history albeit not a pretty one.
Serial Killer Culture doesn't necessarily do what it set out to, in that it doesn't really explain why we are fascinated, but I'm not convinced any film ever could, as the reason is often times very personal to each individual. The film does however deliver! Extremely well edited the film and story run cohesively from interview to interview in a manner that feels almost conversational with each segment leading into the next in a very natural way. Serial Killer Culture offers up some interesting information that will leave you reflecting on the individual stories and questioning the "Serial Killer Culture" we live in for years to come! Bravo John another job well done, I will be hoping to add this along with your other documentaries to my collection in the future!