Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Psycho Killer

Better run run run run run run run awaaaaay . . .

I was a bit dubious about going to see David Fincher's Zodiac, afraid it would be just another slasher pic, but it turned out to be a smart and provocative study of obsession -- that of the eponymous serial killer himself, as well as those who pursue him, with exceptional performances from Jake Gyllenhaal as Robert Graysmith, a San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist whose peripheral involvement in the case ultimately leads him to write the books on which the movie is based (whether Graysmith's theories are reasonable, I gladly leave to others to decide), Robert Downey Jr. as Paul Avery, a reporter on the Chronicle whose descent into drugs and drink never quite erases his mordant intelligence, and Mark Ruffalo as Detective David Toschi, the lead investigator on the case. All these men become sucked into the dark vortex that spins around the enigmatic figure of Zodiac -- whose identity has never been established, despite the movie's attempts to finger a particular suspect.

This got me thinking about serial killers, whom I'd really only known about through films like Silence of the Lambs and Neil Gaiman's Sandman comics, wherein the famous "Cereal Convention" takes place, featuring one of Gaiman's most frightening creations, The Corinthian, and also one of his most noble, Fiddler's Green.

A cursory search led me to H.H. Holmes -- and if you don't know anything about this truly terrifying individual, the subject of Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City, I commend him to your study. The book, incidentally, is in development as a movie directed by James Cameron's ex, Kathryn Bigelow.

No comments: