“Serial killers are everywhere! Well, perhaps not in our neighborhood, but on our television screens, at the movie theatres, and in rows and rows of books at our local Borders or Barnes and Noble Booksellers.” – Pat Brown
Serial killers have held a place in popular culture for some time. They and their fictional counterparts can be found in mainstream movies, books, television shows, and music. And by way of sensationalism, these real life monsters reached a somewhat mythical status, that makes them not unlike the boogeyman.
In John Borowski’s documentary film, Serial Killer Culture, the viewer is provided a glimpse of a subculture that also focuses on these same true life killers from a more real and visceral artistic, historic, and cultural perspective. While I enjoyed John’s documentary, I could see he had only scratched the surface and I hoped at least a second installment was in the works.
On March 1st, John continued forth on the journey he began with his documentary by releasing his new six episode series, Serial Killer Culture TV. I have to admit I was disappointed when I finished the final episode…disappointed that there were only six of them! I pressed play on the first episode and at the conclusion of episode six, I found my self lamenting at the television, “Oh, uhn-uh! C’mon John, I need more episodes!” Thankfully, John has indicated that he has enough footage in the can to potentially make and release more future episodes. HUZZAH!
Now remember, these episodes, much like the preceding documentary film, maintain focus primarily on the cultural elements that have arisen from this segment of true crime. There may be some retelling of some killers’ criminal histories, but it’s incidental and may only serve to provide context. Frankly, these cultural phenomena are absolutely as fascinating to learn about as the criminals and their acts, which have acted as the catalyst.
Two episodes literally get inside the heads of two serial killers – Peter Kurten and John Wayne Gacy. Another highlights Bill Shafer‘s Hyaena Gallery, which is a gallery that displays art inspired by and also created by serial killers. An episode is dedicated to Laura Johnston Kohl, a Jonestown survivor, who gives a personal account of her experiences. There is also an episode about a Murder Auction and one about Murder Junkies…Merle Allin and The Murder Junkies, that is.
MY personal favorite of these episodes is the one featuring Hyaena Gallery, because I have an affinity for dark, macabre, and morbidly themed art. My tastes lie more in the area of horror film themed art, as I am a huge fan of artists like Jack Chattox, Nathan Thomas Milliner, Jason Edmiston, Joel Robinson, Vincent Castiglia and the late H.R. Giger. But basically, if it’s a dark or creepy picture of some sort, I would probably want to hang it on my wall.
The episodes are well produced and edited smoothly so that their pace does not allow the subject matter to stagnate or become stale. Ed Gilliland provides the narration for the each of episodes and does a fantastic job of it. I prefer Gilliland’s style of narration over the cheesy and inordinately creepy style one would expect from a trashy death exploitation film like Traces of Death. John Borowski has a definite vision of what he wishes to present, and acting as producer, director, cinematographer, and editor of the series allows him to maintain proper creative control over said vision. I would also like to give credit where credit is due, to the creator of the music for the series, DC McAuliffe
Let’s face it…everybody, whether they’ll admit it or not, has some sort of morbid fascination. If yours just so happen to involve true crime, and more specifically serial killers – this is definitely a series to check out. It’s informative and entertaining, and you don’t need to have seen the documentary Serial Killer Culture beforehand. But why would you want to deprive yourselves? The first season of Serial Killer Culture TV is currently available to stream on Amazon or you can also purchase the series and any of John’s other films on DVD at his official website. So away with you, my Little Monsters, scurry away, flee! Do yourselves a favor and check out this series. 8 ½ / 10