Killer Legends (2014)

things that go bump in the night

My academic intentions went something like this: I wanted to be an epidemiologist and work with the Plague (no, really), I wanted to be a folklorist, I ended up a sociologist.

I would have been a folklorist and worked  with urban legends, except that I realized that I had absolutely no interest in the types of anthropology that you have to do in order to finish your degree, but I was actually deeply interested in most aspects of sociology that you have to finish in order to get a BA.

In other words, I have a deep interest in the back stories to urban legends.

And this documentary is actually fairly creepy.

By the same production team that released Cropsy, the documentary takes the same premise-talking to the people involved with true crimes that inspired wider urban legends or provided new life to old legends-and looks at wider American culture. Where Cropsy was interested in local, New York legends, this documentary looks at legends from around America including killer clowns in the Midwest and the Phantom Killings in Texarkana.

While this can be a dry documentary style for people who aren’t as interested in the theoretical elements of these legends (a sociologist! They actually talked to a sociologist over an anthropologist for once! Team Soc!), the way that the documentary is shot including the score choice makes this an actually fairly dark, creepy watch.

This is the type of documentary that I probably would have seen in college but probably not before-there’s a fair amount of crime scene photography, including postmortem photography. Some of the discussions run to the slightly graphic and it doesn’t shy away from some of the nastier social forces involved in the crimes (at least one the crimes is bluntly related to race relations, and is stated in a way that’s not made more politically correct. It is however coming from a primary source).

This is probably a documentary for older viewers, but it’s also one of the better true crime documentaries that I’ve seen for awhile-and the UL angle is definitely entertaining.



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