Mindhunter Probes America’s Obsession With Serial Killers


One of the welcome moments of comedy in Mindhunter, David Fincher’s new Netflix series about FBI profilers, follows a prison visit. Agent Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) is interviewing Edmund Kemper, a real-life serial killer (played by Cameron Britton) who was named “the co-ed killer” after he abducted and murdered a series of female college students in California. Kemper calmly notes the contrast between his regular life and his hobby of dismembering his victims and having sex with their severed heads, which he describes as his “oeuvre.” Ford’s partner, Bill Tench (Holt McCallany), is appalled by the choice of word. “His ‘oeuvre’?” he asks. “What the fuck, he’s Stanley Kubrick?”

You could argue, though, that the ritual murderers of the 1970s had a more profound impact on American culture than even the visionary director. Times are lean now for serial killers. After peaking in the 1970s and ’80s, when as many as 700 were operating nationally and their exploits were a tabloid obsession, they’ve plummeted in number since 2000. But crime storytelling is more enthralled with them than ever, as my colleague Julie Beck reported in 2014. More recently, shows like Hannibal and Dexter have even presented serial killers as complicated antiheroes—murderers whose impulses enforce a dark kind of justice on a rotten world. (See also: Netflix’s upcoming Marvel show The Punisher.)

Mindhunter goes right back to the grisly Golden Age: It’s set in 1977, after the summer of love had curdled into the Summer of Sam, as the FBI was struggling to comprehend a new wave of depraved killers. “If we’re looking for a motive, we suddenly find there is none,” Ford tells a class of rookies. “It’s a void. It’s a black hole.” How can agents stop crimes being committed when they don’t understand why they’re happening? …read more

Source:: <a href=https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/10/mindhunter-review-netflix/542781/?utm_source=feed target="_blank" title="Mindhunter Probes America’s Obsession With Serial Killers” >The Atlantic – Culture

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