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True Crime

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mightysparks
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True Crime

#1

Post by mightysparks »

Didn’t really know which forum this would fit best.. but anyone else into true crime? What are your favourite documentaries, shows, podcasts, YouTube channels, books etc? Most memorable cases? How’d your interest get started?

I never had an interest in true crime until this year and I watched a few interesting documentaries like the Ted Bundy tapes, the OJ thing, The Staircase, Making a Murderer etc. and at some point I subscribed to unsolved mysteries and morbid reality on Reddit which I browsed occasionally.

And then about 2 months ago someone posted a link to Jim Can’t Swim, a criminal psychology YouTube channel and specifically, the interrogation of Stephen McDaniel. I then binge watched his entire channel in a couple of days. I usually can’t stand to watch Youtubers (if they show their face or say like and subscribe at the start or their video I refuse to watch them most of the time) so this was a big deal to me. Then I found That Chapter and binge watched that over a few weeks. Now I’m sorta out of stuff and digging around for new fun things. I find too many channels and podcasts annoying (Criminally Listed has such a painful voice and all the female ones are awful) but I need moooorreeee.

I found the Chris Watts stuff pretty interesting. The body cam footage was hilarious, dude was an idiot. The recent Netflix doc didn’t add a lot to what I’d seen on JCS, but I liked seeing a side of the victims and the stuff leading up to it.

I’ve recently been obsessed with the Pamela Smart trial which is goddamn insane. I’m making my way through the trial videos on Court TV.

Can’t think of any others by name/off the top of my head but I find them all pretty interesting in the unique set of circumstances and individuals that led to the crime.

Anyway, your turn :turned:
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#2

Post by OldAle1 »

It's been an interest for me since high school at least - but it's never been a top interest. In HS I got fascinated by Jack the Ripper and read 2-3 books on him and wrote a long paper, and that sort of inculcated a fascination with unsolved crimes, particularly unsolved serial killings. I've continued to read up on the Ripper occasionally over the years and I've tried to see the films about him, though there are quite a few and like I said, it hasn't been a top interest or priority, just something always there in the background. I've wanted to read Devil in the White City for years because H.H. Holmes is just as fascinating, and it ties in with another interest for me (Chicago) but despite having the book for over a decade I haven't gotten to it. But I'm also fascinated with the Zodiac killings - I think I've watched Fincher's film 3 times though it's not really a favorite and other similar cases. I love Bong's Memories of Murder and have meant to read up on that case.

There was a true crime website up for a while several years ago, I don't remember the name now and it's either gone away or mutated, because the last time I do remember finding it it was different and not free - years ago though they had book-length articles, several dozen of them, that you could read for free. Pretty sure I read at least two whole book-length accounts there, I think one was about the Green River killer.

Being from Wisconsin/Illinois may be part of it in my case - I mean, Ed Gein, Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, that's a lot of of top-tier front-page psychos for one part of the country, particularly "flyover" country. Gacy was big news when I lived in Chicago and of course Gein is as responsible as any real-life killer for the slasher movie given that Psycho is loosely based on him. And I worked at a law school when the OJ thing was going on so you can imagine how much that permeated the culture around me. Also I have a murderer in my family and his case was big news 30 years or so ago (he's still in prison and likely will be until he dies - he doesn't admit to the crime still though he was caught red-handed and there's enormous evidence).

Haven't watched Making a Murderer and haven't followed that story at all despite it taking place also in Wisconsin (we're just a magnet for evil), and the fact that Steven Avery at one time anyway was in the same prison my cousin is in. Hard for me to make myself watch TV or web series in general but I should get to that one sometime.

I've also watched the occasional episode of American Greed - usually when in a hotel room and the Wi-Fi isn't good and there's nothing else on TV, but white-collar crime is rarely all that interesting (except when it applies to people in, say, The White House - if somebody manages to put together a really comprehensive book on all the crimes committed by our current "leader" before he ever ran for office, I'll probably read it).
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#3

Post by mightysparks »

Devil in the White City has been on my 'to read' list for a long time, but now that I'm actually interested in true crime it's moved up the list a bit. I'm also really interested in In Cold Blood. Serial killers don't interest me that much (oddly?), though I have been reading about Jack the Ripper and Albert Fish lately and they're pretty interesting cases (and I've always thought Ted Bundy was an interesting guy). Should probably read up a bit on Gein, Dahmer and Gacy as I only know the very basics about them.

For some reason I also have very little interest in the Claremont Serial Killer case which is probably the biggest serial killer thing that happened in Perth during my lifetime (the 90s, when I was a kid, but ya know), and his step-daughter moved in with us after he was arrested. And we went to their house, which still had police tape on it, to bring back their fridge and some furniture. Definitely a weird experience (the whole house was trashed, except for his bedroom which had been cleared out), but for some reason the whole thing is just meh to me. Maybe too close to it.

Making a Murderer is good for the first few episodes and then drags on but it's still not a bad watch. And yeah white-collar crime sounds super boring. Also forgot to mention Mommy Dead and Dearest which was a pretty great true crime documentary (thanks to maxwelldeux).
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#4

Post by OldAle1 »

mightysparks wrote: October 13th, 2020, 2:00 pm Devil in the White City has been on my 'to read' list for a long time, but now that I'm actually interested in true crime it's moved up the list a bit. I'm also really interested in In Cold Blood. Serial killers don't interest me that much (oddly?), though I have been reading about Jack the Ripper and Albert Fish lately and they're pretty interesting cases (and I've always thought Ted Bundy was an interesting guy). Should probably read up a bit on Gein, Dahmer and Gacy as I only know the very basics about them.

For some reason I also have very little interest in the Claremont Serial Killer case which is probably the biggest serial killer thing that happened in Perth during my lifetime (the 90s, when I was a kid, but ya know), and his step-daughter moved in with us after he was arrested. And we went to their house, which still had police tape on it, to bring back their fridge and some furniture. Definitely a weird experience (the whole house was trashed, except for his bedroom which had been cleared out), but for some reason the whole thing is just meh to me. Maybe too close to it.

Making a Murderer is good for the first few episodes and then drags on but it's still not a bad watch. And yeah white-collar crime sounds super boring. Also forgot to mention Mommy Dead and Dearest which was a pretty great true crime documentary (thanks to maxwelldeux).
Interesting that you've got a real-life murder connection as well. I wonder how many of us do? I first played Dungeons and Dragons - which became a passion in my college years and for a few afterwards - with my cousin the murderer; my main other memories of him are that he always got better and more toys than my brother and I did for Christmas though his parents weren't any wealthier - just spoiled. And that when he killed his mom and tried to kill his dad, they found a bunch of weed and heavy metal music in his room. He probably played violent video games also!!!

Jack the Ripper really seems to have made a huge cultural impression - I suppose most of our overall cultural fascination with serial killers stems from the case, and in particular from it not being solved. I think that's the key. Holmes' murders happened around the same time, also in a large city in an English-speaking country, and they are just as sensational - but we know who he was, and he was caught and executed. The Ripper is free to be imagined any way, as is the Zodiac killer, but the murderers we know aren't quite as interesting.
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#5

Post by maxwelldeux »

@OldAle1: Have you seen this book? Patricia Cornwell "solves" the case of Jack the Ripper. It's reasonably convincing to a layperson, but I'm not as interested in Jack the Ripper, so I never delved deeper beyond that. Interesting read and explication of cold case forensic techniques, if nothing else.

@mighty: In response to your question, yes - love True Crime. And if you liked Mommy Dead and Dearest, check out the rest of Erin Lee Carr's stuff - she's tackling tough true-crime cases in a very interesting and nuanced way.

And for a more general response...

I love this stuff. I've always been interested in it. My parents were into it, which is probably why I am as well (seriously... don't show your kids the Unsolved Mysteries episode that took place in your hometown). And a bit like OldAle, a lot of my interest stems from home. Green River Killer and Ted Bundy were from WA, and there was a slightly less prolific serial killer from my hometown. Plus, it seemed like every single time I turned on a random COPS episode or random TV doc about a crime while in grad school, it was set in good ol' Spokane, WA.

More recently, I've been really digging watching docs/docuseries on crimes where I remember the media coverage. Because I remember the case from the impressions left to me by the media, I find it fascinating to dig into the story and learn more about what happens. OJ: Made in America might be the best example I've seen of that, Conversations with a Killer, Lorena, The Murder of Laci Peterson, 30 for 30: Fantastic Lies, Beware the Slenderman, Amanda Knox, and Waco: Rules of Engagement are some of the better ones I've seen. Even shittier ones like about Casey Anthony or Chandra Levy or Madeleine McAnne are interesting to me.

Side note and trigger warning and, well, spoiler:
Spoiler
I generally consider 30 for 30: Fantastic Lies to be a spiritual sequel to The Staircase. Fantastic Lies is about the Duke Lacrosse Rape case, where many players on the lacrosse team were accused of rape of a stripper they invited to their frat. Long story short, the case entirely fell apart under scrutiny, but the lead prosecutor here was one of the prosecutors on the Staircase case. And every prosecutorial misconduct accusation that was levied during Staircase was proven in Fantastic Lies so completely that the prosecutor went to prison and was disbarred.
I do like white collar crime stuff, too, if done well, but mostly because I don't understand it and aspire to be rich enough one day that white collar crime would be reasonably lucrative for me. :P Abacus: Small Enough to Jail was a nice doc about what the banks were doing in the 2008 financial crisis and Dirty Money is a great Netflix docuseries about financial crimes. Really, I like these because I learn about new crimes I didn't know much about.

Others that I've seen that are at least softly recommended:
Tiger King. The popularity is WAY overblown and the central mystery isn't all that great, but if you can ignore the hype, it's an entertaining look at animal crimes. At least the first 6 episodes are interesting. The last two wrap things up and are anticlimactic.
I Love You, Now Die. Another Erin Lee Carr film about the girl who was arrested for texting her boyfriend to kill himself.
The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez. A lighthearted doc about horrific child abuse and murder. Not only the crime, but the systems in place that allow it to happen.
Who Killed Malcolm X? A much better experience if you're into the history of the civil rights movement (mostly in the US).
Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez. The intersection of football, head trauma, and a normal murder.
Time: The Kalief Browder Story. More on the social justice than the crime itself, about a kid kept in jail because he couldn't make bail after being arrested for snatching a purse.
The Golden State Killer: It's Not Over. Probably the worst-timed unsolved crime doc you'll see, about an unsolved serial rape/murder killer from California. Solved just a couple months after this doc came out.
Don't F**k with Cats. Just don't. The internet will hunt you down.
Evil Genius. As a doc, it's so-so, but this is probably the most bizarre case I've ever seen. So screwy.
The Keepers. A nun is murdered... might the Church cover something up?!?
Tower. Doc is more interesting than the crime, but holy hell is it an amazing film.
Dear Zachary. Obviously.
Leaving Neverland. Michael Jackson liked to stare at kids' buttholes? Dave Chappelle spoiled that one...
At the Heart of Gold. The Larry Nassar gymnastics abuse case. Has a very satisfying ending.
The Central Park Five. Again, more about the broken US criminal justice system, but damn...
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#6

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Hate Dear Zachary, and didn’t think of Tower as true crime but I guess it is. Love Tower. I tried watching The Trials of Gabriel Hernandez at some point this year and got bored within 5 minutes but my interest in true crime has skyrocketed since then so I’d probably get through it now... and definitely interested in more of Erin Lee Carr’s stuff, Mommy Dead and Dearest has a gripping story but her treatment of it made it into a great film as well. I agree that Tiger King was not as good as all the hype. I usually avoid all hype but that one managed to reach me and it put me off until my interest in these things began growing.

Guess I’ll be making my way through most of these over the summer holidays :rolleyes: it’s so addictive. My boyfriend thinks my obsession is funny but he doesn’t really like the stuff, it makes him sad and he doesn’t like gory things, but I get so excited about what I’ve seen and have to share it with him.
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#7

Post by blocho »

In response to some of the previous comments ...

- I've read both In Cold Blood and Devil in the White City, and I recommend both. The former more than the latter. In Cold Blood has a more literary quality (it began as a serial in New Yorker), while Devil in the White City is a polished work of popular history. I'm kind of surprised it hasn't been adapted to the screen yet. The story behind the writing of In Cold Blood, as we know from Infamous and Capote, is almost as interesting as the murder story it tells.

- Back when I was a reporter at a small newspaper in 2006, I wrote an article related to the Duke lacrosse (non-)rape case. Three people associated with the local college in my area (which was also my alma mater) had some small measure of involvement in the Duke case. The college president was serving on an advisory board at Duke to recommend changes stemming from the case. A visiting professor from Duke was one of the so-called "Gang of 88" who encouraged public anger at the accused. And KC Johnson, who did more than almost anyone to publicize the misconduct of the prosecutor, had been a former professor.

- Another small connection from my college days. I took a social psychology class with a professor, Saul Kassin, who was an interview subject in the Central Park Five documentary. Kassin specializes in false confessions.
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#8

Post by maxwelldeux »

mightysparks wrote: October 14th, 2020, 1:38 am Hate Dear Zachary, and didn’t think of Tower as true crime but I guess it is. Love Tower. I tried watching The Trials of Gabriel Hernandez at some point this year and got bored within 5 minutes but my interest in true crime has skyrocketed since then so I’d probably get through it now... and definitely interested in more of Erin Lee Carr’s stuff, Mommy Dead and Dearest has a gripping story but her treatment of it made it into a great film as well. I agree that Tiger King was not as good as all the hype. I usually avoid all hype but that one managed to reach me and it put me off until my interest in these things began growing.

Guess I’ll be making my way through most of these over the summer holidays :rolleyes: it’s so addictive. My boyfriend thinks my obsession is funny but he doesn’t really like the stuff, it makes him sad and he doesn’t like gory things, but I get so excited about what I’ve seen and have to share it with him.
Yeah, I kinda remembered you didn't like Dear Zachary, but I had to mention it. :P Trials of Gabriel Hernandez is tough - the subject material is super awful, so you have to take it in small doses. You may get less out of it since you're not from the USA and have a different perspective on that justice system, but then again, you may like it. And yeah... I put off Tiger King a long time because of the hype and cultural obsession, but I did give it a shot and was surprised at how much it pulled me in - the first 6 episodes made me say "WTF?!?" louder and louder after each one, though the final two brought me back to banal reality; fair overall, but not the phenomenon it ended up as.

Oh yeah - and Documentary challenge in December, so I will (hopefully) have more recs then... :banana: :banana: :banana:
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#9

Post by maxwelldeux »

blocho wrote: October 14th, 2020, 2:47 am - Back when I was a reporter at a small newspaper in 2006, I wrote an article related to the Duke lacrosse (non-)rape case. Three people associated with the local college in my area (which was also my alma mater) had some small measure of involvement in the Duke case. The college president was serving on an advisory board at Duke to recommend changes stemming from the case. A visiting professor from Duke was one of the so-called "Gang of 88" who encouraged public anger at the accused. And KC Johnson, who did more than almost anyone to publicize the misconduct of the prosecutor, had been a former professor.
That is crazy... I've spent time in the area, but no close connections like that. But yeah - I literally tuned into the doc on ESPN because I knew the case, knew the Duke kids were guilty, but wanted to know more about what actually happened. So crazy. Nearly all my opinion came from ESPN coverage at the time, so it was especially poignant to see this documentary from that perspective.
blocho wrote: October 14th, 2020, 2:47 am - Another small connection from my college days. I took a social psychology class with a professor, Saul Kassin, who was an interview subject in the Central Park Five documentary. Kassin specializes in false confessions.
That's cool - I've watched enough false confession docs and seen enough evidence that I think it's an underappreciated phenomenon. Pretty cool you had a prof that was into that!
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#10

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Saving the proper documentaries for later so to satiate my cravings recently I’ve been watching Cold Case Files (already finished) and Forensic Files on Netflix. They’re both cheesy with dramatic pauses and ad breaks and re-enactments but I neeeed crime. There were a few good episodes and some interesting cases though. I like seeing how all the little puzzle pieces come together but I can tell a lot of stuff in these shows is exaggerated and other things are left out. I’ve looked up a few of the cases to find a completely different version of the story because of the editing soo I’m taking them all with a grain of salt.
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#11

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I am loving the new unsolved mysteries! It was one of my favorite shows as a kid
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#12

Post by maxwelldeux »

blueboybob wrote: October 20th, 2020, 3:21 pm I am loving the new unsolved mysteries! It was one of my favorite shows as a kid
I watched S1 and really liked it, but I'm desperately trying to save S2 for December. I can't wait!

But not as a kid - that show terrified me as a kid.
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#13

Post by mightysparks »

Watched Evil Genius recently. Hadn’t heard anything about it before and it set everything up really well but I ended up being just ok overall.

I have been quite interested in child survivors/911 calls/testimonies and they are frustratingly hard to find. I’m not one of those people who think things against children are worse than anyone else, but there is something really interesting in the way they deal with and report trauma. There was a 911 call by a child who was shot in bowling alley massacre which first sparked my interest. Then tonight I was reading about Diane Downs and read the testimony transcript for her surviving daughter. The lack of material led me to familicides so I’m watching a bit about those. When I was 7, some friends of mine were gassed in a car by their dad (who also died) as a sort of ‘well if I can’t have them neither can you’ scenario and I find it very interesting. Annoyed there isn’t a lot of material on either of these things.
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#14

Post by Mario Gaborović »

Bailey Sarian anyone? - basically she does her makeup while talking about real crime stories.

I always loved to read about the history of crime but when a charismatic and funny lady tells it, it's even better. :banana:
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#15

Post by Coryn »

Jcs criminal psychology is a great channel to watch.
It focuses on what happens in the interrogation room, really interesting to watch.
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#16

Post by Mario Gaborović »

Coryn wrote: January 22nd, 2021, 6:44 pm Jcs criminal psychology is a great channel to watch.
It focuses on what happens in the interrogation room, really interesting to watch.
You being from Belgium, I must tell you in order not to forget... How come that there still ain't a movie about Dutroux case? That would make a great blockbuster; I can see no less than Oscar nomination there, especially with the Dardenne brothers as directors.
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#17

Post by AdamH »

Love true crime but definitely do not love Dear Zachary :down:
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#18

Post by Coryn »

Mario Gaborović wrote: January 22nd, 2021, 6:53 pm
Coryn wrote: January 22nd, 2021, 6:44 pm Jcs criminal psychology is a great channel to watch.
It focuses on what happens in the interrogation room, really interesting to watch.
You being from Belgium, I must tell you in order not to forget... How come that there still ain't a movie about Dutroux case? That would make a great blockbuster; I can see no less than Oscar nomination there, especially with the Dardenne brothers as directors.
Possibly because of the immense shock the case brought with it. You need to know that back when this happened, Belgians wouldnt even think someone would possible be able to do what Dutroux did. USA and Russia had their child rapists and serial killer but for us 'simple' Belgians this was something that couldn't happen to us.

I cant see it happen as long as the parents and Dutroux himself is still alive. To be fair I don't think even the director would be safe if he was to make a movie on this case.

For a lot of people here it's still top painful to talk about because it also changed the way of living. Especially for children.
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#19

Post by Mario Gaborović »

Coryn wrote: January 22nd, 2021, 7:19 pm
Mario Gaborović wrote: January 22nd, 2021, 6:53 pm
Coryn wrote: January 22nd, 2021, 6:44 pm Jcs criminal psychology is a great channel to watch.
It focuses on what happens in the interrogation room, really interesting to watch.
You being from Belgium, I must tell you in order not to forget... How come that there still ain't a movie about Dutroux case? That would make a great blockbuster; I can see no less than Oscar nomination there, especially with the Dardenne brothers as directors.
Possibly because of the immense shock the case brought with it. You need to know that back when this happened, Belgians wouldnt even think someone would possible be able to do what Dutroux did. USA and Russia had their child rapists and serial killer but for us 'simple' Belgians this was something that couldn't happen to us.

I cant see it happen as long as the parents and Dutroux himself is still alive. To be fair I don't think even the director would be safe if he was to make a movie on this case.

For a lot of people here it's still top painful to talk about because it also changed the way of living. Especially for children.
I understand. But if confronted with Dardennes, in my place wouldn't hesitate to at least ASK them for possibility of making it. At least to hear the answer and pull back if they disagree. Who knows, maybe they never even thought of it. :shrug:

I think the best film material offers Bela Kiss. It screams for the perfect movie-ending him going down the stairs in New York - reportedly the very last sight of him EVER. Just like it really happened. Not to mention those tin drums, high-profile life (they call it socialite nowadays), and then the Foreign Legion episode. :cowbow:
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#20

Post by Coryn »

Dardennes would be perfect indeed. That movie would be heartbreaking
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#21

Post by mightysparks »

This doesn’t really count as true crime but sometimes is kinda... I’ve been finding 911 Calls by children really interesting. I usually hate all things children related, but I find the way they make sense of the confusing situations fascinating and sad.
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#22

Post by Mario Gaborović »

mightysparks wrote: February 2nd, 2021, 12:20 pm This doesn’t really count as true crime but sometimes is kinda... I’ve been finding 911 Calls by children really interesting. I usually hate all things children related, but I find the way they make sense of the confusing situations fascinating and sad.
I amuse myself by Paul Michael Stephani calls. :D
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#23

Post by maxwelldeux »

Crimes in LA: A Tale of Two Docuseries

Netflix has a couple new docuseries out, both set in LA. One is Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer, which is all about the Night Stalker, AKA Richard Ramirez, a well-known (at least in the US) serial killer from the 1980s. The other is Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel, which is about the disappearance of a young woman from this hotel. Interestingly, there is a connection between the two, as Richard Ramirez actually called the Cecil Hotel his home at one point. But the similarities end there.

Night Stalker does just about everything right for a true crime docuseries. It's explained well, interviews with great people, awesome tension build, fantastic pacing and climax control (by which I mean that each episode ends on a bit of a climax that makes you want more). I had heard of him before, but didn't know a lot - his crimes were just a bit before my time, so this was almost all new to me. it was so interesting and detailed, I watched it myself, then got Wife to start watching it with me a couple days later as I rewatched it. Tons of info and a fascinating,yet brutal case.

And then there's Cecil. This is about a woman, Elisa Lam, who disappeared from the Cecil Hotel. She was later found in a water tank on the roof. You have a) a doc about a young woman who vanished and what happened to her, b) a doc about "internet sleuths" and their quest to find answers, and c) a doc about the devastating effects of mental illness. If it focused on one of these, it could have been interesting and engaging. But by trying to focus on all of them (as well as several other tangents, all in 4 episodes), it ends up being a muddled mess and one of the worst true crime docuseries I've seen.
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mightysparks
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#24

Post by mightysparks »

The true crime sub has done nothing but complain about the Elisa Lam documentary because of the internet sleuths part of it, and I’ve seen enough on her death to not really need an entire series on it... I was ignoring Night Stalker because it didn’t seem they interesting but you’ve convinced me to watch it at some point.
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#25

Post by blocho »

So, I actually stayed several nights at the Cecil Hotel. This was back in 2011, about a year and a half before the water tank murder. I was moving to LA and needed a place to stay for a bit while I found an apartment (or rather, until my buddy in LA got back from an out-of-town trip and could host me while I nailed down an apartment). I knew nothing about the Cecil's grisly history, and I wanted a cheap place to stay. And the Cecil was fine. Clean, comfortable enough, certainly cheap. I have to admit the place was a bit eerie just because it was so huge and so poorly populated. I'm not sure anyone else was staying on my floor.

Anyway, I haven't consumed much true crime, but what I have in the past couple of years has made me a bit dubious of the genre's revival. I read a recent article about the new Cecil series that mentions some of my misgivings.
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#26

Post by maxwelldeux »

Night Stalker is solid - I actually pointed to my wife the three times I cried during the finale. Horrifying crimes, but a satisfying conclusion.

The Elisa Lam docuseries is... awful. Imagine (I have a hard time coming up with international metaphors) a doc on 9/11 where where 30% of it was devoted to "no planes hit the pentagon." Or a doc where 30% was about how Stanley Kubrik faked the moon landing. Like if you want to focus on the conspiracy, FOCUS on it. If not, ignore it. The compromise is the worst possible option.

Not to mention...
Spoiler
The entire tension regarding the "internet sleuths" was about how the water tank's lid was closed when she was found... except it wasn't. Which was known when the doc was made, but hidden to manipulate the drama. And it was treated like a subtle point when it was blindingly stupidly obvious that was a major issue.
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#27

Post by Mario Gaborović »

I don't see the Elisa Lam case particularly interesting to watch even a feature about it, let alone docuseries. Knowing already for Anatoliy Moskvin, Adam Lanza, Bela Kiss, Dennis Nilsen, you name it...

From recent events I loved Grant Amato case. That guy must be the ultimate, unmatched loser of all times. Also Joel De Guy Jr. :D
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#28

Post by mightysparks »

Lately I've been interested in non-murder true crime if anyone has good suggestions. Also been listening to the Swindled podcast.

In the last week I've watched:
- The Tinder Swindler
- The Puppet Master
- Fyre
- Made You Look
- How to Fix a Drug Scandal
- This is a Robbery
- Athlete A

Also seen stuff in the past like Catfish, Tickled, The Imposter, Forbidden Lies etc. Looking for any documentaries along those lines.
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#29

Post by matthewscott8 »

My mum was fascinated by serial killers so there was often programs about them on our tv when I was a teenager. She is a very nice lady, and I think that's part of the fascination, it means the crimes come off as being that much more unimaginably bad.

On the subject of fame and solved vs unsolved, I think sometimes murders go under dramatised when they don't support a cultural self image. Arguably one of if not the most prolific serial killers in history is Amelia Dyer, from my city of Bristol. That really doesn't support the city's self image and so you don't get Dyer tours like you get Ripper tours in London, and you never find her on lists of most prolific, partly because so many of the victims are nameless babies. Most people I've ever mentioned Dyer to in Bristol don't even know who she is.

These sorts of sociological peccadiloes are what I find interesting about murders. Like how with the Boston Strangler case the police wasted so much time by just rounding up everyone they considered to be weird, oh so you're a transvestite, cuffs on, you're a likely suspect for sure! They're often very telling about society. They also show how much hidden rage and feelings of injustice there are. Like some guy who everyone thinks is doing well, he wakes up one day and blows away his whole family then takes off his own head. It's indicative of just how much we lie to ourselves, how much of a facade there is.

My own connection with true crime is a bit more tenuous though interesting enough to mention in the light of some of the prejudice stuff I mentioned.

There was a murder in Bristol that made it big on the national news, doubt it went international though. A lady called Jo Yeates was murdered, and she was young, blonde, pretty and professional, and so of course the media wanted to blanket cover it. I remember it very clearly, her walk home to work was pretty much the same as mine, she literally walked along my back street in Clifton as well, my walk home was pretty much a subset of hers. It wasn't clear whether she mighn't have been snatched off the street, so people got quite paranoid and started jogging in groups and not going out alone. What I do remember is people looking at me strangely a lot, especially at work, like, he's weird, he's austistic, maybe... A party I had planned in my flatshare at the time fizzled out and didn't happen.

Then something happened that is still, to this day, running in the news, her landlord Christopher Jefferies was arrested because of prejudice and then falsely implicated by the real killer (Vincent Tabak). The police went for him and the press went for him (the press misconduct and inquiries surrounding this are still running to this day). There was a very widely seen movie made about it "The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies" (2014). I actually knew the guy, and everyone that knew him knew that he was a sweet man who was passionate about Christina Rossetti's poems. But he was an eccentric, single and had a funny look, so the press and cops went for him.

My suscpicion is that Dyer didn't fit very well into a lot of the feminist narratives being popularized in the city at the same time as the case was being written about again. Often serial killers are culturally inconvenient, Richard Ramirez was very inconvenient for the latinx community, people had always felt that serial killing was some sort of perversion due to "whiteness", and his prosecution snapped that narrative and put pressure on a community already subject to prejudice.

Andrei Chikatilo was another interesting case, the Russian authorities refused to admit that the worker's paradise had the serpent of serial killing in it so the investigation of the case was under resourced, and also they were not allowed to sufficiently scrutinise party members as there was no way a party member could be responsible. Many died as a result.

My interest in short has been that I've often felt as an autistic person that allistic culture is founded on mass lying, and serial killers, are very inconvenient phenomena that often shine a light on this in interesting ways. I could also mention what it shows about society when they become popular (for example Ted Bundy and the Unabomber), and I've also watched in amazement as the US doggedly tries to ignore any learnings from the school shootings epidemic, with all the conversations based around gun control only, nothing about what kind of society breeds kids who are so nihilistic and frustrated that blamming becomes the only answer.

I'll answer the question directly though, my only active intrest in true crime is I have been watching almost all of the Our Thing youtube episodes. Basically Sammy The Bull Gravano, the old underboss of the Gambino crime family, who orchestrated the murder of boss of all bosses Paul Castellano, and was an active participant in two major mafia wars, is somehow alive, immune from prosecution and tells all the details of all his crimes on YouTube. The thing that fascinates me here is that major criminal figures usually just lie to themselves and everyone else, or just are silent. There's no podcast of Giuliani or Hermann Goerring, or Atila the Hun detailing all they got up to in a self aware way. They usually go with "I didn't do it", "I was following orders", "it was someone else's responsibility", whatever. Sammy just sits there and tells it all, he's an amazing storyteller, and he doesn't shy away from anything. In an era where macho basically got taken down, he's the one guy left on screens who is still macho, he's an old guy in bad health but definitely still the same macho guy. He has led a life absolutely jam packed with experience, and there's good bad and ugly about it, with no doubt about it that 19 murders is high on the Richter scale of bad.
Last edited by matthewscott8 on May 15th, 2022, 7:28 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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#30

Post by Mario Gaborović »

Hey I've seen the case of Vincent Tabak at some of the podcasts I regularly watch (Coffeehouse Crime, annasolves, That Chapter, Fear Files, Bailey Sarian etc). Can't remember where.

My own location (South Banat district in Serbia) has produced the very first serial killer in the ex-YU territories, the poisoner granny Anujka Di Pištonja. Last year the first book about her life and crimes was released, and I bought two copies. She operated in one of the villages distant about 30km to my town which is the seat of the county.
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#31

Post by matthewscott8 »

I think the most memorable case for me, thinking about it, was the Michael Ryan massacre in Hungerford UK, he killed 17 including himself in a spree killing in 1987. I was 6 when it happened and it just had this nightmarish quality about it, something one's parents could use to scare you, "behave or I'll tell Michael Ryan where you are", back when parents use to do crazy shit like that. I think it was the name too, "Hunger"ford sounded like quite a stark name. Also that so many of the murders were completely at random, and this was well before the contagion of random mass shootings had taken off.

He appears to have suffered from bullying at school as well as adult bullying, and lost his (mediocre) job and his dad at the same time so decided to finish things and take revenge on life. At the time I don't remember any contextualization, it was just like the Devil had come to town. Adult bullying seems to be a common cause of these shootings.

Another example in the UK was Derrick Bird who killed 13 including himself in the 2010 Cumbria shootings, the adult bullying he was on the end of was well documented.

I think as well what is chilling is that as a teenager I completely understood the mentality. I got bullied at school, and by teachers too and my dad (a couple of my teachers ended up in jail for the most serious sexual offences against children, and others simply shouldn't have been anywhere near that profession due to alcoholism and anger problems). I had formed the opinion that the world was an essentially evil place and adult men were amoral. It is very easy from that place to start shooting... if you have access to firearms. I think university was much better because I trusted the academic staff and at 27 I found myself as an adult when I got into a career.
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