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DVD Review

DVD cover

I Survived B.T.K.


Starring: Carmen Otero and Charlie Otero
Lions Gate Home Entertainment
RRP: £12.99
Certificate: 18
Available 21 February 2011

Charlie Otero was a teenage child on 15 January 1974 when he returned home from school to find that his parents and two younger family members had been viciously murdered. These were the first victims of the serial killer who would later be known as B.T.K. (Blind, Torture, Kill). Thirty years later, after many more killings during the 1970s and 1980s, a man called Dennis Rader was eventually arrested and convicted of the crimes. He is currently serving several life sentences. This is the story of how Charlie Otero, day by day, attempted to put his life back together...

I fully expected this to be a dramatisation of real life events, but discovered it to be a feature length documentary. After a description of the horrific events of that fateful day in 1974, we begin with Charlie just being released from jail after a three and a half year stretch. According to those closest to him, he was allegedly manipulated to certain actions by his ex-wife. He briefly meets a couple of old friends, before attempting to go on with his life. Charlie has been in a dark place, but he comes across as vengeful and railing at the world, which is normal in my book, considering what he has been through. They are events which will never leave him.

After years of silence, B.T.K. resurfaces, sending a number of correspondences to the police. After a time, and before Charlie Otero can exact his own justice, the perpetrator is arrested. It never fails to amaze me how almost everybody who has unsuspectingly known a serial killer states how nice or harmless they seemed. Charlie and his surviving sister attend a number of preliminary hearings, and we get a sense of just what they have suffered and endured across the years. Matters spiral further when his son is seriously injured in a traffic accident, and doctors have no idea whether or not he will pull through.

There is a sort of closure for Charlie. Rader is convicted and sentenced (although he shows no remorse), and there’s good news concerning his boy. I have no idea why this is a docu-film, as opposed to a TV documentary, but it does incorporate most key points in Charlie’s life leading up to the sentencing of his parent’s murderer. The subject matter means it’s not enjoyable to watch, but it is professionally filmed and edited. You feel naturally pleased that his life is making a very positive turn.


Ty Power

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