Some thoughts on romantic serial killers

  • Been thinking about Natural Born Killers. It was considered so edgy at the time, but even then I felt meh towards it. It was too forced into stylish excess, it didn’t have substance beyond the exploitative cinema heart beating at its core.
  • The problem with NBK, as well as American Psycho (both book and movie) is that the killers are treated like objects- as fetishized ideas on what we think they should be like. They are outside any actual reality of serial killers.
  • I wonder about cases like Charlie Starkweather and Caril Fugate, and maybe even Bonnie and Clyde and that sort of thing. It’s interesting- cinema always seems to portray these serial killing couples as a sort of psychotic Romeo and Juliet. That murder seems to be the only way of expressing their love
  • Which feels like cardboard to me, it feels like weak motivation. Also it is shown that not only do they enjoy the killings in these films/books, but they seem to relish in them. They get perverted madness- a gleeful jumping up and down and ecstatic love of murder.
  • Which also feels somewhat fake to me. It’s the 1970’s horror movie impression of a killer. It’s cardboard.
  • I think it would be more interesting to show a complicated, complex, deep character portrait of a couple doing a killing spree. Also, make both of them voluntary, not one forcing the other to participate. Also, making them both complex characters, not just stark cardboard cutouts.
  • The killing sprees of Columbine, etc, do not fit any normal serial killer profile. They aren’t serial killers in the strictest sense, they go on a spree because of a trigger up to a point and the spree is one giant blood bath. It’s not about acting out a ritual over and over again. It’s about a sheer mental breakdown, societal breakdown. Something changes. Chaos lets loose inside.
  • I think couple killing sprees are more like this. Less like serial killers (who kill for ritual pleasure), less like cartoon 70’s slasher badguys (either manically enjoying murder or being stone cold robotic incarnation of unspeaking evil) but rather like people on their last rope, people that have been cornered and have no way out to escape.
  • I think spree killing is different than serial killing in that spree killing shares the same psychological stress/stress release desire as people that are suicidal. It’s  a pressure that builds and the only way out, the only way to stop the pain is to create a massive, life altering change. With suicidals it’s killing the self to stop the pain. Logic doesn’t enter, the pain is overwhelming. With Serial Killers it’s killing others, killing the people who are causing you stress/pain/powerlessness as a means to escape.
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