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DVD Review

DVD cover

Serial Killers: The Real Life Hannibal Lecters


Stax Entertainment
RRP: £5.99
Certificate: 18
Available 07 June 2010

The world’s fascination with serial killers has spawned hundreds of fictional madmen in novels and feature films such as The Silence of the Lambs, Seven, Kiss the Girls and The Bone Collector. None are more notorious than Thomas Harris’ diabolical creation Dr Hannibal Lecter. However, before Lecter, there were a select group of real life monsters that terrorized our neighbourhoods: Ted Bundy, Albert Fish, Jeffrey Dahmer, Andrei Chikatilo and John Wayne Gacy. Between them, they claimed over 150 lives...

Serial Killers: The Real Life Hannibal Lecters is yet another look at the world of the serial killer. I have to admit to not being even remotely interested in learning why sick individuals go on killing sprees. And, in fact it would seem that even the experts admit that there's still no real explanation of why some people go out and kill innocent individuals.

Like most women (that's not intended as a sexist remark) my other half has a macabre interest in serial killers. Before I reviewed this I chatted with her about why it is that filmmakers think it's fine to make public stars out of these criminals, yet pedophiles never get the same treatment. Understandably most people would be outraged if there was a documentary about pedophile murderers, but those same people would probably find a look into the mind of serial killers fascinating. I'm afraid it's something I'll probably never fully understand.

The DVD lasts for about an hour. I've no idea when this was originally broadcast, but I'm assuming that maybe it was first shown back when The Silence of the Lambs was released theatrically - otherwise the "Hannibal Lecter" tag on the title seems a little pointless. And, in fact, one expert says Lecter is not a very believable character - basically Lecter doesn't fit the profile of a serial killer.

This is an incredibly shallow look at three serial killers (not the five the DVD cover would have you believe). There's no real in depth analysis of their way of operating or a run down of their victims followed by a time line. No what we get is a very brief background to them, followed by a look at the fact they were cannibals, and then a brief explanation of how they were caught and eventually died.

Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy are only really mentioned briefly, and there's no real look at their crimes. So, mentioning them on the DVD cover (especially Bundy) is more than a little misleading).

This is more a DVD release for someone who hasn't really shown any interest in serial killers before and is intrigued as to what it's all about. The experts give their accounts of how the killers got away with their crimes for so long, as well as examining their backgrounds.

On the whole I found this release a little disappointing. The only aspect I found interesting was the fact that the experts tell us that serial killers are not the way the media portrays them. You'd never suspect one and most of them are charming and appear normal.


Darren Rea

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