DATELINE: MOVIE MASHUP
Crime Documentarian John Borowski
When we discovered that crime documentarian John Borowski had a new film, we were absolutely intrigued.
His latest effort takes a larger view of the grotesque subject that obsesses so many people: Murderabilia, collecting like archaeologists, the objets d’art of notorious killers. Look for Serial Killer Culture to either whet your appetite for murderer’s row or satisfy your bloodlust.
Yes, there is a large industry of collectibles being bought, sold, and traded. From the art of John Wayne Gacy to the roller skates of Ed Gein, there is a demanding market for American cultural icons of death and horror.
Borowski lets his subjects defend themselves—and they are a highly defensive troupe of people who have become penpals with the Manson killers, Richard Ramirez, and other bone-chilling names associated with the worst crimes of the past 100 years.
The director’s point is well-taken: this form of American culture can be traced back to the violent lives of Billy the Kid and Jesse James whose history has become ingrained into everyday culture. Perhaps the notion that Jeffrey Dahmer will outshine Jack the Ripper in lore boggles the mind.
The film takes us to a throwback Dime Museum, a venue thought lost with P.T. Barnum’s freakish showplace. We are treated to Milwaukee’s notorious Dahmer tour, and we see the creepy humor of John Wayne Gacy close up.
Borowski has given us chronicles of famous killers like Carl Panzram and H.H. Holmes, but perhaps his examination of the artifacts of the bloodiest killers of American history is the piece de resistance. Can a look at Aaron Hernandez be far behind?
We are not sure what bloody footprints he may track next, but sign us up as a devotee.