Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Naked Massacre (1976)

In 1966 Richard Speck broke into a townhouse in Chicago and systematically murdered the eight young women he found inside.  A ninth woman, whom he somehow missed or lost track of, survived by hiding under a bed.  Her description of a tattoo on his arm (reading "Born for Hell", also an alternate title of this movie) led to his eventual arrest and incarceration.  He would die in prison 25 years later.

I mention all this because - as you might have surmised from the alternate title I mention above - this is a fictionalised account of the murders.  Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it is a fictional film heavily based on the murders.  The events of the movie take place in Belfast, for instance, so it's certainly not meant to be a literal retelling.  The protagonist - because in one of the most distasteful elements of this distasteful film, the murderer is more or less our point of view character - is also recast as a Vietnam veteran.  Or at least that's what he claims to be.  Some of the other stories he tells have inconsistencies, which is possibly a subtle hint that we shouldn't believe the things he says about his past ... or it could just be lousy writing.

Ultimately this is an 85 minute movie that dedicates more than half its running time to graphically depicting pseudo-Speck's abuse and murder of eight women.  It's deeply unpleasant to watch, not the least because it the script seems to have more sympathy for the murderer than his victims.


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