Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

'Movies Made Me Murder'

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A number of other movies have been spotlighted in murder cases, and for each one, it's a similar story, so we offer a brief list:

Movie Poster: American History X
Movie Poster: American History X

American History X (1998) — Ed Norton stars as an American Neo-Nazi who murders a black man during a rage, but the film takes a clear stand against racial violence of this sort.  Nevertheless, that scene allegedly provoked three Neo-Nazi teenagers in Germany to bludgeon the death a stuttering classmate who was Jewish.  He was forced to bite a pig trough, supposedly because he was considered sub-human, while one of the boys re-enacted the brutal "curb stomping" scene.

Movie Poster: American Psycho
Movie Poster: American Psycho

American Psycho — a controversial film starring Christian Bale about a supremely narcissistic psychopath who kills to relieve pressure from competition and disappointment, it was roundly condemned by critics for its gratuitous violence.  Michael Hernandez spent the evening before he killed his friend, Jaime Gough, reading reviews of this film as well as looking at gory drawings and reading about baby killers in Australia.  He was obsessed with death, says the Sun-Sentinel in Miami. He then stabbed Gough 40 times in a restroom at school.

 

Movie Poster: Nightmare on Elm Street
Movie Poster: Nightmare on Elm Street

Nightmare on Elm Street — Donald Gonzales, 25, was convicted of killing four people on a three-day stabbing rampage in southern England in 2004.  He also tried but failed to kill two others.  He compared his murders to the film, Halloween, and said he aspired to be Freddy Krueger, the fictional killer with knife-like fingers in the Nightmare series.

Movie poster: Memories of Murder
Movie poster: Memories of Murder

Memories of Murder, directed by Bong Jun-ho, was released in South Korea in 2003 and it depicted a decade-long series of unsolved murders in Hwaseong during the 1980s.  The killer is organized and careful, leaving little evidence behind.  He seemed to have a preference for victims wearing red and white, or perhaps just red.  

Yoo Young Cheol
Yoo Young Cheol

A year later in Seoul, it seemed that the film was being re-enacted in another series of murders, and the killer turned out to be Yoo Young-Cheol. But in his rooms were three other movies as well: Public Enemy, Very Bad Things and Normal Life.  The first featured a serial killer who preys on the wealthy.  Yoo was convicted of twenty murders, mostly women and the elderly, but he claimed that he had hoped to kill 100.  He received the death penalty.

Movie Poster: Child's Play
Movie Poster: Child's Play

Child's Play — Four people in England claimed this as an influence in the murder of Suzanne Capper, 16, in 1992.  They had injected her with drugs, tortured her with pliers and set fire to her house.  All the while, they spouted lines from the movie.

Suzanne Capper
Suzanne Capper

 

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