“Killer Legends,” or, Why This Adult Sleeps With the Lights On

Killer Legends
A Film by Joshua Zeman
Gulp Productions, Storyville Entertainment, and Chiller
NR, 2014

People of the Internet, I have returned!

I have been summoned back from the netherworld of midterm writing assignments by the terrifying news of…a clown crime wave?

Seriously, put the clown masks and makeup away. People are getting scared and it’s only a matter of time before someone overreacts and you get hurt. I don’t care if it’s
Halloween.

Speaking of Halloween, I had planned to review this gem from Netflix closer to the holiday. It is perfect for a post-trick o’ treating movie night. Just make sure the kids are in bed. And throw away all the powdered candy.

Killer Legends is part scary story, part crime show, all terrifying. Filmmaker Joshua Zeman, whose other documentary Cropsey I will be reviewing later in the month, and researcher Rachel Mills investigate the true-crime origins of four urban legends.

These include: the man with a hook who terrorizes young lovers; the sadist who poisons Halloween candy; every babysitter’s nightmare; and, so timely, killer clowns. Two of these stories take the team to Texas; I am not sure if i am proud of my home state’s contribution to American folklore or ashamed our crimes are so notorious.

The film is gripping and genuinely terrifying; if any accusation of corniness can be made, it is because Zeman and Mills recount the legends in a way that could put any campfire storyteller out of business.

The use of slow-motion, black-and-white, and fade-outs is masterful. I watched the opening credits without the haunting score and still felt the urge to turn on more lights.

Trust me, sleep with the lights on.

5/5 Stars:  Thrilling, informative, and artistic.
5/5 ‘Fraidy cats: Watched it fives times. Still terrified.
3/5 Ick-Factor: Autopsy and crime-scene photos.

 

 

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