Yesterday was werewolf day. Today, let's talk about a kind of related monster movie...serial killer films. I don't know about you, but they've always scared the crap out of me--generally because they tend to target women. There are a lot of films that I've enjoyed in this genre. Therefore, I'm going to spread this one out over a couple of days. So, off we go to the first part...
Let's talk about... Citizen X (1995.)
It's a fictitious accounting of an actual event. (If you want a factual treatment, read The Killer Department by Robert Cullen. I did. It's quite powerful. There's also Comrade Chikatilo: The Psychopathology of Russia's Notorious Serial Killer which is on my To Read List.) There are two films on the subject. I prefer the older of the two, Citizen X, to the newer, Child 44, both are Hollywood versions, but the second is far less coherent, and therefore, less effective. (Obviously, I've done some research on this subject--mainly because I loosely based a character in my next novel, Blackthorne, upon the killer, Andrei Chikatilo.) Citizen X is one of my favorites because it does a brilliant job of character development via plot. Stephen Rea's Lt. Viktor Burakov and Donald Sutherland's Col. Mikhail Fetisov are a great 'buddy cop' team. Burakov is an overworked detective who is working a case that is next to impossible to solve because the state will not recognize that it happened/is happening. Serial killers are a 'capitalist disease' and thus, not possible in Soviet Russia. Any strides he makes toward catching the killer are met with life-threatening suspicion and resistance from above--until Col. Fetisov is assigned as his superior. Fetisov begins as the stereotypical Party Officer...and then he begins to see what they're up against. It's pretty wonderfully done. And for the record, I see the film as an indictment of any philosophical or political movement held so tightly that it dangerously denies reality--that is, the over-use of denial as a psychological coping mechanism. I love this film, and I could go on and on, but I won't. Just watch it. It's wonderful, if creepy, and it's disturbing as fuck. And now...speaking of disturbing...
Next up, Se7en.
First, I'm going to mention the soundtrack. The opening/ending credits carry one hell of a punch thanks to liberal us of David Bowie and NIN. (The typography/visual design is off the charts great all by itself.) Just watch the opening credits:
I adore Morgan Freedman in this role. He does a great job of portraying a world-weary detective worn down by his job. And Brad Pitt is convincing as the impatient newbie. Most of all, Spacey's character is off the charts fantastic. (You gotta love Kevin Spacey.) The city itself is a character too, and I have a thing for stories that make setting in to characters. My only real problem with this film is that the only woman character is not fleshed out or even anything much beyond the use the plot has for her as 'hapless wife.' That annoys the shit out of me. Still, I can forgive it because it works on a symbolic level. (She represents Pitt's sense of hope for humanity when you think about it.) Nonetheless, Se7en is quite powerful. If you haven't seen it, do, but prepare yourself for some deeply sickening shit. This is not your 'feel good' film.
 Side note: I once invited a date over for dinner and a movie. It was early on in my goth days and he was a goth. I wanted to impress him. So, I served my kick-ass marinara sauce. (It's one of the things I make from scratch and can cook really well.) As it turns out, I hadn't exactly thought that one through. ;)
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.