Monthly Archives: June 2010

Internet suicide

An Internet suicide pact or cybersuicide pact is a suicide pact made between individuals who meet on the Internet.

Although the majority of such internet-related suicide pacts have occurred in Japan[1][2][3], similar incidents have also been reported from other countries including China, South Korea, Germany, Australia, Norway, the United Kingdom[4], Canada, the United States, and Sweden[citation needed].

The first known Internet-related suicide pact occurred in Japan in October 2000, with a later February 2003 incident, involving a young man and two young women, that “became a landmark incident of Internet suicide pacts in Japan due to heavy media coverage”. [5]

Despite the alarmed response of the media, however, Internet-connected suicide pacts are still relatively rare[citation needed]. Even in Japan, where most of such pacts have occurred, they still represent only 2% of all group suicide-pacts, and less than 0.01% of all suicides combined. However, they do seem to be on the increase in that country: 34 deaths from such pacts occurred in 2003; at least 50 are estimated to have occurred in 2004; and 91 occurred in 2005. [6][7][8] One notable example would be Hiroshi Maeue, who on March 28, 2007, was sentenced to death by hanging, alleged to have murdered three participants in a suicide pact. [9]

An article published in the British Medical Journal in December 2004, by Dr Sundararajan Rajagopal, Consultant Psychiatrist from St. Thomas’ Hospital in London, highlighted the emergence of the relatively new phenomenon of cybersuicide pacts, addressing it from a psychiatric perspective.[10] Dr Rajagopal commented “The recent suicide pacts in Japan might just be isolated events in a country that has even previously been shown to have the highest rate of suicide pacts. Alternatively, they might herald a new disturbing trend in suicide pacts, with more such incidents, involving strangers meeting over the Internet, becoming increasingly common[citation needed]. If the latter is the case then the epidemiology of suicide pacts is likely to change, with more young people living on their own, who may have committed suicide alone, joining with like-minded suicidal persons to die together”.

[edit] Compared to traditional suicide pacts

An article published by the Canterbury Suicide Project[11] makes some notable comparisons between the nature of “traditional” suicide pacts and more recent Internet-related suicide pacts (or, as described in the article, “cyber-based suicide pacts”). It points out that, traditionally, suicide pacts have been extremely rare; usually involve older individuals (50–60 years old) and very few adolescents; and tend to be between individuals with family or marriage-type relationships and differing, but complementary, psychiatric pathologies. On the other hand, the growing number of Internet-related suicide pacts are almost the exact opposite: they involve young people almost exclusively; tend to be between complete strangers or individuals with platonic friendship-type relationships; and the common characteristic between them would seem to be clinical depression.

The article also points out that the trend of Internet-related suicide pacts is changing the way that mental-health workers need to deal with depressed and/or suicidal youngsters, advising that it is “prudent for clinicians to ask routinely if young people have been accessing Internet sites, obtaining suicide information from such sites, and talking in suicide chat rooms”


Frankford Slasher

Frankford Slasher
Train Yard Murder
Stacked Railroad Ties
The corpse lay between the rows of stacked railroad ties at the SEPTA train yard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at Penn and Bridge Streets in the lower northeast section of the city known as Frankford.  Transit workers found the dead woman around 8:30 A.M. on the morning of August 26, 1985, but it was not clear who she was.  (In both of his books, Michael Newton says it was August 28, but the Philadelphia Inquirer sets the incident two days earlier.)
Penn & Bridge Streets, body discovered
The victim was nude from the waist down, according to Newton, and she had been posed in a sexually provocative position, with her legs open and her blouse pulled up to expose her breasts.
By the next day, August 27, investigators had identified the victim to the Philadelphia Inquirer: Helen Patent, who lived in Parkland, Pennsylvania, a town in nearby Bucks County.  She was 52 when she died, and while it was clear to the police that she had been stabbed many times, it took an autopsy to determine the official cause and manner of death.  Helen Patent had been sexually assaulted and had died from 47 stab wounds to her head and chest (Newton contends that the number of stab wounds was actually 19).  She had also been stabbed in the right arm, and one vicious and deep slash across her abdomen had exposed the internal organs.
Creating a time line of her final hours, detectives determined that Patent was last seen at her home on August 19, as reported by Kermit Patent, her former husband.  Kermit Patent identified the body and affirmed that the murdered woman was Helen.  Despite the fact that they were no longer married, they lived together in their Bucks County home, although Patent claimed that his wife had left the week before without mentioning where she was going.  That was not unusual, as they lived separate lives.   (In fact, those who knew her around the Frankford area were surprised to learn that she had a home outside the city.)
There was no immediate motive, but she may have been killed simply to keep her quiet .   According to reports, Patent frequented the bars in the area and might easily have met a stranger and been raped and murdered.  The newspapers did not discuss the possibility of prostitution, but as more such incidents unfolded, this was considered a possibility.  Over the next year and a half, three more victims were linked to Patent’s killer, and the local newspaper would devise a name for this mysterious fiend: the Frankford Slasher.
Hit and Miss
1400 block of Ritner Street, near Methodist Hospital, where Anna Carrolls body was discovered
Early in 1986, on January 3, the next stabbing victim was found.  Anna Carroll, 68, lived in another Philadelphia neighborhood, on the 1400 block of Ritner Street.  The door to her apartment was standing open on that cold winter day, and she was found lying on the floor of the bedroom.  As Newton notes, she was nude from the waist down, and she had been stabbed only six times in the back, with one gaping postmortem wound going from breastbone to groin, as if the killer intended to gut the body.   A kitchen knife had been left in her.
While this scene was ten miles from where Helen Patent had been found, the brief time that had elapsed between the incidents and the similarity of the condition of the bodies, as well as the incidents’ timing — both had occurred during the night —made authorities consider the possibility of a predator common to both victims.   But they did not actively investigate them as such.
Anna Carroll, too, had been seen in Frankford’s area bars, as noted in the Philadelphia Inquirer, as had the next victim, who turned up murdered nearly a year later, on Christmas Day, when neighbors found her door open.  In fact, all three had been seen at “Goldie’s,” as the Golden Bar was known, situated at the 5200 block on Frankford Avenue.    It was near the elevated train terminal.  Susan Olszef, 64, was also found in her apartment and had also been stabbed six times in the back.  She lived on Richmond Street, which was closer to the scene of the first murder by seven miles.
The 5200 block of Frankford Street, “Goldies” Bar
Frankford began as a town older even than Philadelphia, writes Linda Loyd in the Inquirer, and was famous as the winter headquarters for traveling circuses.  The neighborhood supported a symphony orchestra and a football team, which eventually became the Philadelphia Eagles.  The El (elevated train) arrived in 1922, bringing prosperity and industry as the larger city subsumed the town, but by 1980, the place was a crime-ridden slum populated by prostitutes, junkies, and independent businesses struggling to survive.  Newton mentions that Sylvester Stallone selected this rundown area as a setting for his film, Rocky.  Frankford Avenue, once known as the King’s Highway, comprised a 13-block strip of diverse storefronts that sat in the El’s shadow.   Commuters disembarked at the busy station but scattered quickly to their homes.
Among the problems that hindered the murder investigation was the fact that many people were drawn to the Frankford Street area because of its nightlife.  One can grab a doughnut or newspaper, or buy a drink at any time, and that made it a busy area.  An anonymous murder could be committed easily.  Another problem was that the police did not yet accept the three murders were linked, because they had occurred in different areas of the city.  They had no hard leads after three killings, but they were about to get another nasty surprise.
By 7:30 A.M. on January 8, 1987, the fourth victim had turned up
City of Brotherly Love?
Jeanne Durkins body, discovered west of Frankford Ave.
Jeanne Durkin lived on the streets, mostly in the doorway of an abandoned bakery two buildings away from Goldie’s.  She was 28 and a potentially easy victim for rape or murder.  Her body was found by a restaurant employee beneath a storage truck (according to Newton, however, she was found beneath a fruit and vegetable stand) on a Pratt Street lot west of Frankford Avenue owned by a fruit vendor, and she had been stabbed in the chest, buttocks, and back 74 times.  This was one block from where Helen Patent had been killed.  Lying in a pool of blood, Durkin was nude from the waist down, and her legs were spread.   Blood was spattered against a fence and the side of the truck.   An autopsy indicated that she had been sexually assaulted.
The Serial Killer Files, by Harold Schechter
Once she became victim #4, the newspaper began to pressure the police to solve these crimes.  It was clear by now that Philadelphia had a serial killer on the loose.  In fact, between 1985 and 1989, the City of Brotherly Love experienced three separate series of brutal murders.  While the crimes of the Frankford Slasher were being investigated, the police learned from a woman who had escaped about an eccentric man who was holding females prisoner in his house on North Marshall Street.  Harold Schechter tells the story in The Serial Killer Files.  One captive had died from hanging in chains for several days and one had been killed.  The police invaded the home and found three more nearly dead women chained in a filthy basement.  A man named Gary Heidnik had used them as sex slaves.  After his arrest, he admitted to eating pieces of one victim and feeding some to his other prisoners.
Gary Heidnik in custody
Then, on a sweltering August day in 1987, Harrison “Marty” Graham was evicted from his north Philadelphia apartment because of obnoxious odors.  He left, but the smell worsened, so the police went in.  They discovered the decomposing corpses of six women, with the remains of a seventh.  Graham tried to claim that the bodies were there when he moved in, but then confessed to strangling them all during sex.  Despite his insanity plea, a judge convicted him in every case.
Harrison “Marty” Graham
The authorities quickly formed a task force to canvass the Frankford Avenue neighborhood to see if they could find anyone who had witnessed anything related to the victims.  They questioned a female bartender at Goldie’s for several hours because she had seen the women, and even knew that Durkin often came in during the winter to get warm.  They also talked with many other customers, past and present.  The bartender, Dee Hughes, told Thomas Gibbons from the Inquirer that she figured the killer was a customer.  “I honestly believe it was someone that comes in here and got to know them.”  She indicated a man whom she suspected, but could not offer anything that she had actually seen.  Olszef had been in the bar only three days before she was murdered, and she talked to people, but Carroll generally kept to herself and bought her own drinks.
According to the interviews, those who knew the fourth victim did not believe she could have been overwhelmed easily.  At one point, when six policemen had tried to arrest her, she struggled so much that they gave up.  That led investigators to believe that she may have known her attacker, and that he had used cunning, not strength, to get her into a vulnerable position.  A woman named Michelle Martin, who also frequented the Frankford Avenue bars, had argued with Durkin over a blanket just the night before, but nothing more actually tied Martin to the victim.  In and out of mental institutions, Durkin had been living on the streets for the past five years.  She was savvy and independent.  Some people felt the same about Helen Patent, believing she would never have gone with a stranger to the train yard.   Police were stumped.
On January 20, fifty people from the neighborhood brought candles to the El to pray for the victims and alert the killer that they were on the lookout for him.  Many wept for the street woman, the mother of four, who had been a part of their community.  Among them was a man who had hoped to marry her by summer.  In Israel, two trees were planted in her memory.
By January 1988, as recorded in the papers, the police had tentatively decided that the killings might not be related, despite the similar circumstances.  But over the next year, they had to rethink this position.
As reported by Robert Terry and Thomas Gibbons in the Inquirer, Margaret Vaughan, 66, was found lying in the foyer of an apartment building in the 4900 block of Penn Street.  She had once lived in an apartment there but had been evicted that same day for nonpayment of rent.  Stabbed 29 times, Newton writes, she had been killed just three blocks from where Jeanne Durkin was found earlier in the year.
Police sketch of suspect
A barmaid recalled that Vaughan had been in the bar the evening before her death with a Caucasian man with a round face who walked with a limp and wore glasses.  They had been drinking together.  The witness was able to provide enough details for a police artist to make a sketch, which was distributed around town.  Yet no one came forward to identify him.
Theresa Sciortino was discovered in her apartment on Arrott St.
Then on January 19, 1989, Theresa Sciortino, age 30, was found in her apartment, stabbed twenty-five times.   She lived alone in her Arrott Street apartment, three blocks from the fifth victim and a block and a half from Frankford Avenue.  Like Durkin, she, too, had been in several psychiatric institutions and was currently an outpatient under treatment.  When she was discovered, she wore only a pair of white socks, and she had been left in a pool of blood on her kitchen floor, lying face-up.  Again, the attacker had used a sharp knife to slash her twenty-five times in the face, arms, and chest, and had also used a three-foot piece of wood to sexually assault her.  He placed the bloodstained weapon leaning against the sink, and according to Newton, left a bloody footprint behind.  A neighbor had heard a struggle the evening before, along with a loud thump, as if a large object had been thrown to the floor.  Detectives confirmed that the condition of the apartment indicated that an intense struggle had occurred there, moving from one room to another. Blood was spattered everywhere.
Sciortino, like the other victims, had frequented the Frankford Avenue
One More
4511 Frankford Ave, Newmans Sea Food
On April 29, 1990, at nearly 2:00 in the morning, a patrol officer discovered the nude body of Carol Dowd, 46, in an alley behind Newman’s Sea Food at 4511 Frankford Avenue.  Her head and face were battered and she had been viciously stabbed 36 times in the face, neck, chest, and back.  In addition, her stomach was cut open, allowing her intestines to spill out through a long wound, and Newton reports that her left nipple was removed.  She also had defensive wounds on her hands, as if she had warded off her attacker.  The officer who found her had been checking the area due to a prior burglary, and it was estimated that Dowd had been murdered some time after midnight and before 1:40 A.M.
Police sketch of suspect
She had resided not far from the scene, and a witness told the police she had seen Dowd walking with an older white man only a few hours before.  Her clothing was found near her body, and her open purse was in the alley, with its contents spilled partly onto the ground.  Because nothing had been taken, robbery was ruled out as a motive (although it would later be reconsidered).
Her brother told reporters that Dowd’s life had been uneventful until the late 1960s, when their brother died and she began hearing voices.  She was then diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and institutionalized.  After being released into a community-based program, she moved into an apartment, where she was raped. Lately, however, she had been living in a community facility where she appeared to be happy.
The police immediately suspected the same killer from the seven previous cases in that area.  They hypothesized that he had followed each of his victims after they left area bars at night, or grabbed them before they got to some destination.  Asking around, they interviewed the employees of the fish market, and Leonard Christopher, who worked there and also lived nearby, told reporters that the store had been burglarized several times recently.  When he had seen the police in the alley that morning, he said, “I just thought they broke in again.”  Either that, he mused, or they were busting someone for drugs or prostitution; both activities were a frequent occurrence in the alley.  When he learned that the police were in fact investigating a murder, he talked with them and admitted that he also had known one of the earlier victims, Margaret Vaughan.
His apparent acquaintance with the area and the victims soon placed him under suspicion.  When asked where he was during the evening before, he claimed he was with his girlfriend, but she told detectives that she had spent the night alone at home.    That inconsistency triggered more intense questioning, and investigators located a witness who had seen Christopher with Dowd in a bar on the same night that she had been killed.  A prostitute who had initially lied finally admitted that she, too, had seen them together outside the bar, while another placed him coming out of the alley by the fish store.  She said that he had been sweating and had a large knife in his belt.
A search of his apartment turned up clothing with blood on it.  Christopher called a friend at the store to tell them that the police suspected him.  That person, who remained anonymous, told the newspaper that their boss had told Christopher to clean up blood in the alley, so of course he had blood on his clothing.  Others who worked with him vouched for his good character and humanitarian nature, feeling that it was wrong to pin the murders on him.  Christopher’s landlord confirmed these positive impressions, saying only that he sometimes made too much noise.
Although he was a black man and not the middle-aged white man seen with other victims, on May 5, Christopher was arrested and arraigned on charges of robbery, abuse of a corpse, murder, and possession of an instrument of a crime.   He was ordered held without bail.  Yet even as he sat in jail, another woman in the Frankford Avenue area was about to receive the same treatment as the other victims.
On June 20, Leonard Christopher was ordered to stand trial for the Dowd murder, since the evidence was deemed sufficient.  Two women who knew him said they had seen him that night.  One, Emma Leigh, said that he had walked into the alley behind the fish store around 1:00 A.M., and she heard a woman scream.  She left with a man in a car (Newton says a date, the paper indicates it was a client picking her up), so she did not witness any other event.  Linda Washington, the second woman, claimed to have seen Christopher leave the alley carrying his shirt over his arm and sporting a knife in a sheath hanging around his waist.
Christopher’s defense attorney, Jack McMahon, stated that the witnesses had contradicted each other and their testimony would not stand up in court.  Neither would the robbery charge, because Dowd’s purse, while open, still had cash in it.  It might simply have been dropped during the attack.
Defense Attorney Jack McMahon
Despite the fact that the suspect had not been proven guilty, the residents of the Frankford Avenue area were relieved to know that someone had been caught.  They felt certain that their neighborhood could return to normal.  They were wrong.
Christopher, jailed without bond, was safely locked away on September 6, 1990, when Michelle Dehner was found murdered (Newton calls her Michelle Martin, as do later newspaper reports).   She was 30 and lived in a fourth-floor efficiency apartment on Arrott Street, not far from Frankford Avenue.  Once a suspect in the Durkin murder for having fought over a blanket, she was now officially off the suspect list.  She was a victim.
The police, called to the scene that Saturday afternoon, found her lying on the floor.  She had been stabbed 23 times in the chest and stomach.  Once again, it appeared to be the work of the Frankford Slasher.  There was no sign of forced entry, as was the case with the other indoor assaults, and no obvious murder weapon found at the scene or discarded nearby.  This murder scene was only three blocks from where Carol Dowd had been killed, and it was on the same street as the 1989 murder of Theresa Sciortino.
Dehner/Martin was described in the Inquirer as a hard-drinking, paranoid loner, and was even called “Crazy Michelle” by people in the neighborhood.  She was considered somewhat unconventional, sometimes barricading herself into her apartment and other times just tossing things out the window, no matter who might be standing below.  Single and hard-edged, she frequented the same bars where the previous murder victims had often gone.  A large blonde, she was often seen in sloppy sweatshirts and jeans, and spent her time wandering from one bar to the next.  Sometimes she sold soft pretzels on the street, but usually she just drank all day.  Neighbors indicated to reporters that she was not very friendly, and one person said that she did not often bathe.  A day and a half before her death, she had left the bar with a white man (Newton says this was on the evening of September 6, but that’s the day she was found murdered).  In fact, people had seen her bring men home on several occasions.
Now people thought that perhaps the police had arrested the wrong man.  After all, Christopher did not resemble the middle-aged white man seen with two other victims shortly before they were killed, and plenty of people had vouched for him as a decent, friendly sort.  If the police had falsely arrested him, that meant the real killer had been free all this time and had likely struck again.
Pennsylvania, with Philadelphia locator
On October 27, fifty citizens of Philadelphia solemnly marched the rain-soaked streets of Frankford, following the routes they imagined the killer of nine potential victims had taken.  It was windy and cold, but no one seemed to mind.  “Past the fish market,” the newspaper reported, “behind which one body was found butchered with a knife; past a bar that four of the dead had patronized, and along Arrott Street, where the latest victim was found stabbed to death early last month.”  They lit candles, sang hymns, and prayed, creating a tribute to “the women who couldn’t be here.”  They also read from the Bible and spoke out against the violence in their neighborhood.
In fact, homicide detectives patrolled the streets, watching those women who went in and out of the bars who looked like potential victims.  They hoped to get a glimpse of a man who might act or look suspicious.  Having investigated more than fifty men who were seen leaving the bars with women, they had two men under surveillance and leads on a third.  Yet with no clear pattern to the killings in terms of a timeframe or victim type, they were working blind.
They found it surprising that in each and every case, no one had seen a man with blood on him in the streets.  All of the victims had been viciously stabbed.  Their attacker must have had quite a lot of blood on him.  They had a composite picture from witnesses, and while they had received many calls, no one had turned in a person who seemed a viable suspect.  It was the usual: Numerous elderly women had pointed to their SEPTA bus drivers, and neighbors with a grudge had guided police toward someone who made them angry.  Psychics provided empty assistance, and one tip offered witchcraft as a motive.  In fact, a cult did practice in a park close by, so that lead was not entirely discounted.
The best clue investigators had was an identification of the manufacturer of the shoe that had left a footprint at one of the murder scenes.  They did find a man who had similar shoes that were the right size, who knew that victim but ultimately was not linked to the crime (according to Newton, this person was the victim’s boyfriend).
Some people called for Leonard Christopher to be released, but in November, his murder trial began.
The Trial
In the Court of Common Pleas, a jury heard the opening statements on November 29, 1990, shortly after Thanksgiving.  Christopher was dressed in a gray suit and black horn-rimmed glasses, looking, as the papers reported, “studious.”  He seemed a far cry from the demented killer thought to be running around in Frankford, raping and killing women over the past five years.
Assistant District Attorney Judith Rubino
Assistant District Attorney Judith Rubino declared that Christopher was a vicious killer who used a “Rambo-style knife” to slash and kill Carol Dowd in the alley behind the fish market where he worked.  She admitted she had no witnesses to the actual murder, but she had people who saw things on the street. These witnesses would provide sufficient circumstantial evidence to prove the defendant’s guilt.  Christopher was seen with Dowd in the alley, and a witness heard a woman scream.  He was seen leaving the alley, and Dowd was found dead immediately afterward.  He was seen with a knife, and his clothing had blood on it.  In addition, he had lied about his whereabouts that night and had made other peculiar statements about the murder.
Defense attorney Jack McMahon told the jury that Christopher was known as a mild-mannered person, was well-liked and had no history of violence.  He indicated that since the police were under pressure to solve the case, they might have rushed to judgment.
The prosecutor objected to this, and Judge George Ivins cautioned McMahon not to stray from the facts.  McMahon continued with his argument, indicating that there were six cases prior to Dowd’s murder that bore enough similarities to be judged the work of a serial killer, but the prosecutor again objected to this line of reasoning.  Clearly McMahon was going to go for reasonable doubt by talking about the murder that had occurred while Christopher was in jail awaiting trial.
The judge ordered a sidebar, and the attorneys began to shout at each other, but McMahon was allowed to continue his line of reasoning: “Pressure sometimes presents unreliable results.”  McMahon said that the police had relied on evidence that, in stronger cases, would have been discarded, and that had been a mistake.  The witnesses were prostitutes and junkies, with lengthy arrest records each and nine aliases between them.  He could not imagine anyone urging the jury to believe them beyond a reasonable doubt.  In fact, Leigh had admitted to lying twice to police about the incident, initially denying that she knew anything because she liked the defendant.  But that made her an unreliable witness.
When the police arrested Christopher, McMahon pointed out, there were no injuries on him, and no physical evidence linked him to the crime scene.  No murder weapon was recovered, no so-called Rambo knife.  There was no reason to view him as a murderer.
But it wasn’t as simple as that.
Wrap Up
Prosecutor Rubino countered McMahon’s presentation with the fact that when the store opened on the morning after the Dowd murder, Christopher had reported to his boss, Jaesa Phang, that a white woman about forty-five years old had been murdered in the alley, but the police had not revealed those details to anyone.  In fact, just a few days after the stabbing death, he had also made a strange comment to Phang:   “Maybe I killed her.”  Although he quickly recanted, it was a remark that his employer would remember, especially because he seemed not only quite serious about it, but remarkably curious about the incident itself.  Christopher, Phang said, had gestured with the motions of gutting a person as he described the crime.  He claimed to have seen a white man on the street at 1:00 A.M., but no one else had reported that.   Instead, the only witnesses that police had from the streets that night had all seen Christopher.
Philadelphia District Attorney logo
Phang testified on December 3 that Christopher had told her about five days after the murder that he had been unable to sleep well because he had witnessed a murder.  His speech was rambling and his manner agitated.  He said that he thought a white man who knew he’d seen it was trying to kill him.  He believed that the man could get into his apartment and would hide in the closet.  The next day, Christopher was arrested.
For physical evidence, the prosecution had found a tiny spot of blood on Christopher’s trousers, but it was too small to type, and DNA analysis at that time was still being challenged in many courts.  It was also not yet available for such minute amounts of biological evidence, and was quite expensive.   The police had also found a bloodstained tissue that proved to be Type O—Dowd’s blood type—in a driveway next to the building where Christopher’s apartment was.  But Christopher had told police in statements read to the jury that while he was at his girlfriend’s apartment, he had seen a well-dressed white man in his forties outside that night wiping his hands on something that looked like a handkerchief or tissue.  The problem was, Christopher had not been in that apartment.
The trial was short, and closing arguments came quickly on December 11.  McMahon emphasized Christopher’s good character and the fact that such violence of which he was accused was completely out of character for him.  The prosecution had offered no motive, no weapon, and no solid evidence.    And his statement about the white man on the night of the murder fit the description given by other witnesses about men they had seen with earlier victims.  “It just doesn’t make sense,” McMahon said about the prosecution’s scenario.  He told reporters on December 11 after it went to the jury, “The case stinks.  It’s garbage.”
But ADA Rubino asked what motive the witnesses had for lying.  In fact, some of them were friends with Christopher, including the one who had lied on his behalf to the police.  There was no reason for that witness to ultimately change her story other than wanting to finally tell the truth.  In addition, Rubino reminded the jury that she had presented two other witnesses who had seen Christopher talking to Dowd in a bar at midnight of the night she was murdered. She had also offered testimony from Christopher’s girlfriend, Vivien Carter, that he had not been with her that night, as he had claimed.  Rubino closed with an emotional appeal that included what Carol Dowd must have experienced as she was being attacked with a knife and slashed to death.  She knew her death was coming.  The cuts to her hands told the story.
Once the arguments were done, the judge instructed the jury.  They deliberated for more than four hours before he ended the session and sequestered them for the night.  By the next day, it was apparent that the jury believed the prosecution’s case.  On December 12, after four more hours of deliberations, they convicted Christopher of the first-degree murder of Carol Dowd.  A few members were visibly upset.
SCI Huntingdon, where Leonard Christopher is incarcerated
“Christopher showed no visible reaction,” wrote Linda Loyd in the Philadelphia Inquirer, but “his defense attorney shook his head in disbelief.”  Although the prosecutor had asked for the death penalty, Christopher was sentenced to life in prison, but his own reaction was that he had been railroaded by “pipers” (prostitutes cajoled into testifying by the police).  Apart from his strange admission to his boss, he had confessed to nothing.  McMahon indicated that “the real killer [whom Christopher referred to as the Northeast Stalker] may still be out there.”
Was he right?
Unsolved
Newton lists the Frankford Slasher case as unsolved in his books, although he’s aware that Leonard Christopher was convicted of at least one murder.  Still, he raises issues with the conviction and points out that there was no evidence tying Christopher to any of the other killings.  (While he correctly says that the prosecutor offered no motive and no weapon, he does not include a full account of the evidence against Christopher.  Pang’s statements, at any rate, are compelling.)  In Still at Large, Newton interviewed a Philadelphia investigator who said that Christopher is still a suspect in the other murders, but there are other suspects as well.
Still at Large, by Michael Newton
Antonia Mendoza does not include the Frankford Slasher in his own book about unsolved serial killings, although the victim count is certainly significant enough to do so.  He buys the outdated and admittedly erroneous FBI statistic that there are between 35-50 serial killers at loose in the U.S..  While it is true that a number of murders that appear to have a predator in common are unsolved, it’s generally not a good idea to just accept that they must be the work of a serial killer.  The bungled Boston Strangler case is a good one to keep in mind.  There are good suspects for many of those eleven murders and, technically, we could still consider at least some murders in that “series” unsolved.  At any rate, the semen found on the last Boston Strangler victim, Mary Sullivan, did not match Albert DeSalvo, who was considered to be the Strangler.  In addition, his description of her murder, as well as what he said about some of the other crimes, was full of errors overlooked by investigators in their rush to close a frightening case.
Albert Desalvo in custody
In short, while at least seven (or eight) of the Frankford Slasher murders remain unsolved as of this writing, and one did take place while Christopher was in jail, we cannot discount a copycat or the possibility that not all of the killings are related.  Even in the event that they were all the work of a single killer and Christopher was not the attacker, there appears to have been no more of these particular crimes in that area since 1990.  Yet  significant questions remain regarding the quality of evidence used to convict Christopher and the fact that he did not match witness reports of a white man seen with other victims.  In many respects, it seems clear that someone got away with murder.
Today, the Frankford area is poised for renovation and rebirth as an arts community.  People want to forget its seedy past and get on with expansion and expression.    In 2000, the Inquirer claimed that statistics showed Frankford as one of the safer places in the city.  While the Frankford Slasher gave the area a sense of menace, citizens today believe that reputation is undeserved.

Frankford SlasherTrain Yard Murder

Stacked Railroad TiesThe corpse lay between the rows of stacked railroad ties at the SEPTA train yard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at Penn and Bridge Streets in the lower northeast section of the city known as Frankford.  Transit workers found the dead woman around 8:30 A.M. on the morning of August 26, 1985, but it was not clear who she was.  (In both of his books, Michael Newton says it was August 28, but the Philadelphia Inquirer sets the incident two days earlier.)

Penn & Bridge Streets, body discoveredThe victim was nude from the waist down, according to Newton, and she had been posed in a sexually provocative position, with her legs open and her blouse pulled up to expose her breasts.
By the next day, August 27, investigators had identified the victim to the Philadelphia Inquirer: Helen Patent, who lived in Parkland, Pennsylvania, a town in nearby Bucks County.  She was 52 when she died, and while it was clear to the police that she had been stabbed many times, it took an autopsy to determine the official cause and manner of death.  Helen Patent had been sexually assaulted and had died from 47 stab wounds to her head and chest (Newton contends that the number of stab wounds was actually 19).  She had also been stabbed in the right arm, and one vicious and deep slash across her abdomen had exposed the internal organs.
Creating a time line of her final hours, detectives determined that Patent was last seen at her home on August 19, as reported by Kermit Patent, her former husband.  Kermit Patent identified the body and affirmed that the murdered woman was Helen.  Despite the fact that they were no longer married, they lived together in their Bucks County home, although Patent claimed that his wife had left the week before without mentioning where she was going.  That was not unusual, as they lived separate lives.   (In fact, those who knew her around the Frankford area were surprised to learn that she had a home outside the city.)
There was no immediate motive, but she may have been killed simply to keep her quiet .   According to reports, Patent frequented the bars in the area and might easily have met a stranger and been raped and murdered.  The newspapers did not discuss the possibility of prostitution, but as more such incidents unfolded, this was considered a possibility.  Over the next year and a half, three more victims were linked to Patent’s killer, and the local newspaper would devise a name for this mysterious fiend: the Frankford Slasher.Hit and Miss

1400 block of Ritner Street, near Methodist Hospital, where Anna Carrolls body was discovered Early in 1986, on January 3, the next stabbing victim was found.  Anna Carroll, 68, lived in another Philadelphia neighborhood, on the 1400 block of Ritner Street.  The door to her apartment was standing open on that cold winter day, and she was found lying on the floor of the bedroom.  As Newton notes, she was nude from the waist down, and she had been stabbed only six times in the back, with one gaping postmortem wound going from breastbone to groin, as if the killer intended to gut the body.   A kitchen knife had been left in her.
While this scene was ten miles from where Helen Patent had been found, the brief time that had elapsed between the incidents and the similarity of the condition of the bodies, as well as the incidents’ timing — both had occurred during the night —made authorities consider the possibility of a predator common to both victims.   But they did not actively investigate them as such.
Anna Carroll, too, had been seen in Frankford’s area bars, as noted in the Philadelphia Inquirer, as had the next victim, who turned up murdered nearly a year later, on Christmas Day, when neighbors found her door open.  In fact, all three had been seen at “Goldie’s,” as the Golden Bar was known, situated at the 5200 block on Frankford Avenue.    It was near the elevated train terminal.  Susan Olszef, 64, was also found in her apartment and had also been stabbed six times in the back.  She lived on Richmond Street, which was closer to the scene of the first murder by seven miles.

The 5200 block of Frankford Street, “Goldies” BarFrankford began as a town older even than Philadelphia, writes Linda Loyd in the Inquirer, and was famous as the winter headquarters for traveling circuses.  The neighborhood supported a symphony orchestra and a football team, which eventually became the Philadelphia Eagles.  The El (elevated train) arrived in 1922, bringing prosperity and industry as the larger city subsumed the town, but by 1980, the place was a crime-ridden slum populated by prostitutes, junkies, and independent businesses struggling to survive.  Newton mentions that Sylvester Stallone selected this rundown area as a setting for his film, Rocky.  Frankford Avenue, once known as the King’s Highway, comprised a 13-block strip of diverse storefronts that sat in the El’s shadow.   Commuters disembarked at the busy station but scattered quickly to their homes.
Among the problems that hindered the murder investigation was the fact that many people were drawn to the Frankford Street area because of its nightlife.  One can grab a doughnut or newspaper, or buy a drink at any time, and that made it a busy area.  An anonymous murder could be committed easily.  Another problem was that the police did not yet accept the three murders were linked, because they had occurred in different areas of the city.  They had no hard leads after three killings, but they were about to get another nasty surprise.
By 7:30 A.M. on January 8, 1987, the fourth victim had turned upCity of Brotherly Love?

Jeanne Durkins body, discovered west of Frankford Ave. Jeanne Durkin lived on the streets, mostly in the doorway of an abandoned bakery two buildings away from Goldie’s.  She was 28 and a potentially easy victim for rape or murder.  Her body was found by a restaurant employee beneath a storage truck (according to Newton, however, she was found beneath a fruit and vegetable stand) on a Pratt Street lot west of Frankford Avenue owned by a fruit vendor, and she had been stabbed in the chest, buttocks, and back 74 times.  This was one block from where Helen Patent had been killed.  Lying in a pool of blood, Durkin was nude from the waist down, and her legs were spread.   Blood was spattered against a fence and the side of the truck.   An autopsy indicated that she had been sexually assaulted.

The Serial Killer Files, by Harold SchechterOnce she became victim #4, the newspaper began to pressure the police to solve these crimes.  It was clear by now that Philadelphia had a serial killer on the loose.  In fact, between 1985 and 1989, the City of Brotherly Love experienced three separate series of brutal murders.  While the crimes of the Frankford Slasher were being investigated, the police learned from a woman who had escaped about an eccentric man who was holding females prisoner in his house on North Marshall Street.  Harold Schechter tells the story in The Serial Killer Files.  One captive had died from hanging in chains for several days and one had been killed.  The police invaded the home and found three more nearly dead women chained in a filthy basement.  A man named Gary Heidnik had used them as sex slaves.  After his arrest, he admitted to eating pieces of one victim and feeding some to his other prisoners.
Gary Heidnik in custodyThen, on a sweltering August day in 1987, Harrison “Marty” Graham was evicted from his north Philadelphia apartment because of obnoxious odors.  He left, but the smell worsened, so the police went in.  They discovered the decomposing corpses of six women, with the remains of a seventh.  Graham tried to claim that the bodies were there when he moved in, but then confessed to strangling them all during sex.  Despite his insanity plea, a judge convicted him in every case.
Harrison “Marty” GrahamThe authorities quickly formed a task force to canvass the Frankford Avenue neighborhood to see if they could find anyone who had witnessed anything related to the victims.  They questioned a female bartender at Goldie’s for several hours because she had seen the women, and even knew that Durkin often came in during the winter to get warm.  They also talked with many other customers, past and present.  The bartender, Dee Hughes, told Thomas Gibbons from the Inquirer that she figured the killer was a customer.  “I honestly believe it was someone that comes in here and got to know them.”  She indicated a man whom she suspected, but could not offer anything that she had actually seen.  Olszef had been in the bar only three days before she was murdered, and she talked to people, but Carroll generally kept to herself and bought her own drinks.According to the interviews, those who knew the fourth victim did not believe she could have been overwhelmed easily.  At one point, when six policemen had tried to arrest her, she struggled so much that they gave up.  That led investigators to believe that she may have known her attacker, and that he had used cunning, not strength, to get her into a vulnerable position.  A woman named Michelle Martin, who also frequented the Frankford Avenue bars, had argued with Durkin over a blanket just the night before, but nothing more actually tied Martin to the victim.  In and out of mental institutions, Durkin had been living on the streets for the past five years.  She was savvy and independent.  Some people felt the same about Helen Patent, believing she would never have gone with a stranger to the train yard.   Police were stumped.
On January 20, fifty people from the neighborhood brought candles to the El to pray for the victims and alert the killer that they were on the lookout for him.  Many wept for the street woman, the mother of four, who had been a part of their community.  Among them was a man who had hoped to marry her by summer.  In Israel, two trees were planted in her memory.
By January 1988, as recorded in the papers, the police had tentatively decided that the killings might not be related, despite the similar circumstances.  But over the next year, they had to rethink this position.As reported by Robert Terry and Thomas Gibbons in the Inquirer, Margaret Vaughan, 66, was found lying in the foyer of an apartment building in the 4900 block of Penn Street.  She had once lived in an apartment there but had been evicted that same day for nonpayment of rent.  Stabbed 29 times, Newton writes, she had been killed just three blocks from where Jeanne Durkin was found earlier in the year.

Police sketch of suspectA barmaid recalled that Vaughan had been in the bar the evening before her death with a Caucasian man with a round face who walked with a limp and wore glasses.  They had been drinking together.  The witness was able to provide enough details for a police artist to make a sketch, which was distributed around town.  Yet no one came forward to identify him.
Theresa Sciortino was discovered in her apartment on Arrott St.Then on January 19, 1989, Theresa Sciortino, age 30, was found in her apartment, stabbed twenty-five times.   She lived alone in her Arrott Street apartment, three blocks from the fifth victim and a block and a half from Frankford Avenue.  Like Durkin, she, too, had been in several psychiatric institutions and was currently an outpatient under treatment.  When she was discovered, she wore only a pair of white socks, and she had been left in a pool of blood on her kitchen floor, lying face-up.  Again, the attacker had used a sharp knife to slash her twenty-five times in the face, arms, and chest, and had also used a three-foot piece of wood to sexually assault her.  He placed the bloodstained weapon leaning against the sink, and according to Newton, left a bloody footprint behind.  A neighbor had heard a struggle the evening before, along with a loud thump, as if a large object had been thrown to the floor.  Detectives confirmed that the condition of the apartment indicated that an intense struggle had occurred there, moving from one room to another. Blood was spattered everywhere.
Sciortino, like the other victims, had frequented the Frankford AvenueOne More

4511 Frankford Ave, Newmans Sea Food On April 29, 1990, at nearly 2:00 in the morning, a patrol officer discovered the nude body of Carol Dowd, 46, in an alley behind Newman’s Sea Food at 4511 Frankford Avenue.  Her head and face were battered and she had been viciously stabbed 36 times in the face, neck, chest, and back.  In addition, her stomach was cut open, allowing her intestines to spill out through a long wound, and Newton reports that her left nipple was removed.  She also had defensive wounds on her hands, as if she had warded off her attacker.  The officer who found her had been checking the area due to a prior burglary, and it was estimated that Dowd had been murdered some time after midnight and before 1:40 A.M.

Police sketch of suspectShe had resided not far from the scene, and a witness told the police she had seen Dowd walking with an older white man only a few hours before.  Her clothing was found near her body, and her open purse was in the alley, with its contents spilled partly onto the ground.  Because nothing had been taken, robbery was ruled out as a motive (although it would later be reconsidered).Her brother told reporters that Dowd’s life had been uneventful until the late 1960s, when their brother died and she began hearing voices.  She was then diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and institutionalized.  After being released into a community-based program, she moved into an apartment, where she was raped. Lately, however, she had been living in a community facility where she appeared to be happy.
The police immediately suspected the same killer from the seven previous cases in that area.  They hypothesized that he had followed each of his victims after they left area bars at night, or grabbed them before they got to some destination.  Asking around, they interviewed the employees of the fish market, and Leonard Christopher, who worked there and also lived nearby, told reporters that the store had been burglarized several times recently.  When he had seen the police in the alley that morning, he said, “I just thought they broke in again.”  Either that, he mused, or they were busting someone for drugs or prostitution; both activities were a frequent occurrence in the alley.  When he learned that the police were in fact investigating a murder, he talked with them and admitted that he also had known one of the earlier victims, Margaret Vaughan.
His apparent acquaintance with the area and the victims soon placed him under suspicion.  When asked where he was during the evening before, he claimed he was with his girlfriend, but she told detectives that she had spent the night alone at home.    That inconsistency triggered more intense questioning, and investigators located a witness who had seen Christopher with Dowd in a bar on the same night that she had been killed.  A prostitute who had initially lied finally admitted that she, too, had seen them together outside the bar, while another placed him coming out of the alley by the fish store.  She said that he had been sweating and had a large knife in his belt.
A search of his apartment turned up clothing with blood on it.  Christopher called a friend at the store to tell them that the police suspected him.  That person, who remained anonymous, told the newspaper that their boss had told Christopher to clean up blood in the alley, so of course he had blood on his clothing.  Others who worked with him vouched for his good character and humanitarian nature, feeling that it was wrong to pin the murders on him.  Christopher’s landlord confirmed these positive impressions, saying only that he sometimes made too much noise.
Although he was a black man and not the middle-aged white man seen with other victims, on May 5, Christopher was arrested and arraigned on charges of robbery, abuse of a corpse, murder, and possession of an instrument of a crime.   He was ordered held without bail.  Yet even as he sat in jail, another woman in the Frankford Avenue area was about to receive the same treatment as the other victims.On June 20, Leonard Christopher was ordered to stand trial for the Dowd murder, since the evidence was deemed sufficient.  Two women who knew him said they had seen him that night.  One, Emma Leigh, said that he had walked into the alley behind the fish store around 1:00 A.M., and she heard a woman scream.  She left with a man in a car (Newton says a date, the paper indicates it was a client picking her up), so she did not witness any other event.  Linda Washington, the second woman, claimed to have seen Christopher leave the alley carrying his shirt over his arm and sporting a knife in a sheath hanging around his waist.
Christopher’s defense attorney, Jack McMahon, stated that the witnesses had contradicted each other and their testimony would not stand up in court.  Neither would the robbery charge, because Dowd’s purse, while open, still had cash in it.  It might simply have been dropped during the attack.

Defense Attorney Jack McMahonDespite the fact that the suspect had not been proven guilty, the residents of the Frankford Avenue area were relieved to know that someone had been caught.  They felt certain that their neighborhood could return to normal.  They were wrong.Christopher, jailed without bond, was safely locked away on September 6, 1990, when Michelle Dehner was found murdered (Newton calls her Michelle Martin, as do later newspaper reports).   She was 30 and lived in a fourth-floor efficiency apartment on Arrott Street, not far from Frankford Avenue.  Once a suspect in the Durkin murder for having fought over a blanket, she was now officially off the suspect list.  She was a victim.
The police, called to the scene that Saturday afternoon, found her lying on the floor.  She had been stabbed 23 times in the chest and stomach.  Once again, it appeared to be the work of the Frankford Slasher.  There was no sign of forced entry, as was the case with the other indoor assaults, and no obvious murder weapon found at the scene or discarded nearby.  This murder scene was only three blocks from where Carol Dowd had been killed, and it was on the same street as the 1989 murder of Theresa Sciortino.
Dehner/Martin was described in the Inquirer as a hard-drinking, paranoid loner, and was even called “Crazy Michelle” by people in the neighborhood.  She was considered somewhat unconventional, sometimes barricading herself into her apartment and other times just tossing things out the window, no matter who might be standing below.  Single and hard-edged, she frequented the same bars where the previous murder victims had often gone.  A large blonde, she was often seen in sloppy sweatshirts and jeans, and spent her time wandering from one bar to the next.  Sometimes she sold soft pretzels on the street, but usually she just drank all day.  Neighbors indicated to reporters that she was not very friendly, and one person said that she did not often bathe.  A day and a half before her death, she had left the bar with a white man (Newton says this was on the evening of September 6, but that’s the day she was found murdered).  In fact, people had seen her bring men home on several occasions.Now people thought that perhaps the police had arrested the wrong man.  After all, Christopher did not resemble the middle-aged white man seen with two other victims shortly before they were killed, and plenty of people had vouched for him as a decent, friendly sort.  If the police had falsely arrested him, that meant the real killer had been free all this time and had likely struck again.

Pennsylvania, with Philadelphia locator On October 27, fifty citizens of Philadelphia solemnly marched the rain-soaked streets of Frankford, following the routes they imagined the killer of nine potential victims had taken.  It was windy and cold, but no one seemed to mind.  “Past the fish market,” the newspaper reported, “behind which one body was found butchered with a knife; past a bar that four of the dead had patronized, and along Arrott Street, where the latest victim was found stabbed to death early last month.”  They lit candles, sang hymns, and prayed, creating a tribute to “the women who couldn’t be here.”  They also read from the Bible and spoke out against the violence in their neighborhood.
In fact, homicide detectives patrolled the streets, watching those women who went in and out of the bars who looked like potential victims.  They hoped to get a glimpse of a man who might act or look suspicious.  Having investigated more than fifty men who were seen leaving the bars with women, they had two men under surveillance and leads on a third.  Yet with no clear pattern to the killings in terms of a timeframe or victim type, they were working blind.
They found it surprising that in each and every case, no one had seen a man with blood on him in the streets.  All of the victims had been viciously stabbed.  Their attacker must have had quite a lot of blood on him.  They had a composite picture from witnesses, and while they had received many calls, no one had turned in a person who seemed a viable suspect.  It was the usual: Numerous elderly women had pointed to their SEPTA bus drivers, and neighbors with a grudge had guided police toward someone who made them angry.  Psychics provided empty assistance, and one tip offered witchcraft as a motive.  In fact, a cult did practice in a park close by, so that lead was not entirely discounted.
The best clue investigators had was an identification of the manufacturer of the shoe that had left a footprint at one of the murder scenes.  They did find a man who had similar shoes that were the right size, who knew that victim but ultimately was not linked to the crime (according to Newton, this person was the victim’s boyfriend).
Some people called for Leonard Christopher to be released, but in November, his murder trial began.The Trial
In the Court of Common Pleas, a jury heard the opening statements on November 29, 1990, shortly after Thanksgiving.  Christopher was dressed in a gray suit and black horn-rimmed glasses, looking, as the papers reported, “studious.”  He seemed a far cry from the demented killer thought to be running around in Frankford, raping and killing women over the past five years.

Assistant District Attorney Judith RubinoAssistant District Attorney Judith Rubino declared that Christopher was a vicious killer who used a “Rambo-style knife” to slash and kill Carol Dowd in the alley behind the fish market where he worked.  She admitted she had no witnesses to the actual murder, but she had people who saw things on the street. These witnesses would provide sufficient circumstantial evidence to prove the defendant’s guilt.  Christopher was seen with Dowd in the alley, and a witness heard a woman scream.  He was seen leaving the alley, and Dowd was found dead immediately afterward.  He was seen with a knife, and his clothing had blood on it.  In addition, he had lied about his whereabouts that night and had made other peculiar statements about the murder.Defense attorney Jack McMahon told the jury that Christopher was known as a mild-mannered person, was well-liked and had no history of violence.  He indicated that since the police were under pressure to solve the case, they might have rushed to judgment.
The prosecutor objected to this, and Judge George Ivins cautioned McMahon not to stray from the facts.  McMahon continued with his argument, indicating that there were six cases prior to Dowd’s murder that bore enough similarities to be judged the work of a serial killer, but the prosecutor again objected to this line of reasoning.  Clearly McMahon was going to go for reasonable doubt by talking about the murder that had occurred while Christopher was in jail awaiting trial.
The judge ordered a sidebar, and the attorneys began to shout at each other, but McMahon was allowed to continue his line of reasoning: “Pressure sometimes presents unreliable results.”  McMahon said that the police had relied on evidence that, in stronger cases, would have been discarded, and that had been a mistake.  The witnesses were prostitutes and junkies, with lengthy arrest records each and nine aliases between them.  He could not imagine anyone urging the jury to believe them beyond a reasonable doubt.  In fact, Leigh had admitted to lying twice to police about the incident, initially denying that she knew anything because she liked the defendant.  But that made her an unreliable witness.
When the police arrested Christopher, McMahon pointed out, there were no injuries on him, and no physical evidence linked him to the crime scene.  No murder weapon was recovered, no so-called Rambo knife.  There was no reason to view him as a murderer.
But it wasn’t as simple as that.Wrap Up
Prosecutor Rubino countered McMahon’s presentation with the fact that when the store opened on the morning after the Dowd murder, Christopher had reported to his boss, Jaesa Phang, that a white woman about forty-five years old had been murdered in the alley, but the police had not revealed those details to anyone.  In fact, just a few days after the stabbing death, he had also made a strange comment to Phang:   “Maybe I killed her.”  Although he quickly recanted, it was a remark that his employer would remember, especially because he seemed not only quite serious about it, but remarkably curious about the incident itself.  Christopher, Phang said, had gestured with the motions of gutting a person as he described the crime.  He claimed to have seen a white man on the street at 1:00 A.M., but no one else had reported that.   Instead, the only witnesses that police had from the streets that night had all seen Christopher.

Philadelphia District Attorney logoPhang testified on December 3 that Christopher had told her about five days after the murder that he had been unable to sleep well because he had witnessed a murder.  His speech was rambling and his manner agitated.  He said that he thought a white man who knew he’d seen it was trying to kill him.  He believed that the man could get into his apartment and would hide in the closet.  The next day, Christopher was arrested.For physical evidence, the prosecution had found a tiny spot of blood on Christopher’s trousers, but it was too small to type, and DNA analysis at that time was still being challenged in many courts.  It was also not yet available for such minute amounts of biological evidence, and was quite expensive.   The police had also found a bloodstained tissue that proved to be Type O—Dowd’s blood type—in a driveway next to the building where Christopher’s apartment was.  But Christopher had told police in statements read to the jury that while he was at his girlfriend’s apartment, he had seen a well-dressed white man in his forties outside that night wiping his hands on something that looked like a handkerchief or tissue.  The problem was, Christopher had not been in that apartment.
The trial was short, and closing arguments came quickly on December 11.  McMahon emphasized Christopher’s good character and the fact that such violence of which he was accused was completely out of character for him.  The prosecution had offered no motive, no weapon, and no solid evidence.    And his statement about the white man on the night of the murder fit the description given by other witnesses about men they had seen with earlier victims.  “It just doesn’t make sense,” McMahon said about the prosecution’s scenario.  He told reporters on December 11 after it went to the jury, “The case stinks.  It’s garbage.”
But ADA Rubino asked what motive the witnesses had for lying.  In fact, some of them were friends with Christopher, including the one who had lied on his behalf to the police.  There was no reason for that witness to ultimately change her story other than wanting to finally tell the truth.  In addition, Rubino reminded the jury that she had presented two other witnesses who had seen Christopher talking to Dowd in a bar at midnight of the night she was murdered. She had also offered testimony from Christopher’s girlfriend, Vivien Carter, that he had not been with her that night, as he had claimed.  Rubino closed with an emotional appeal that included what Carol Dowd must have experienced as she was being attacked with a knife and slashed to death.  She knew her death was coming.  The cuts to her hands told the story.
Once the arguments were done, the judge instructed the jury.  They deliberated for more than four hours before he ended the session and sequestered them for the night.  By the next day, it was apparent that the jury believed the prosecution’s case.  On December 12, after four more hours of deliberations, they convicted Christopher of the first-degree murder of Carol Dowd.  A few members were visibly upset.

SCI Huntingdon, where Leonard Christopher is incarcerated “Christopher showed no visible reaction,” wrote Linda Loyd in the Philadelphia Inquirer, but “his defense attorney shook his head in disbelief.”  Although the prosecutor had asked for the death penalty, Christopher was sentenced to life in prison, but his own reaction was that he had been railroaded by “pipers” (prostitutes cajoled into testifying by the police).  Apart from his strange admission to his boss, he had confessed to nothing.  McMahon indicated that “the real killer [whom Christopher referred to as the Northeast Stalker] may still be out there.”
Was he right?Unsolved
Newton lists the Frankford Slasher case as unsolved in his books, although he’s aware that Leonard Christopher was convicted of at least one murder.  Still, he raises issues with the conviction and points out that there was no evidence tying Christopher to any of the other killings.  (While he correctly says that the prosecutor offered no motive and no weapon, he does not include a full account of the evidence against Christopher.  Pang’s statements, at any rate, are compelling.)  In Still at Large, Newton interviewed a Philadelphia investigator who said that Christopher is still a suspect in the other murders, but there are other suspects as well.

Still at Large, by Michael NewtonAntonia Mendoza does not include the Frankford Slasher in his own book about unsolved serial killings, although the victim count is certainly significant enough to do so.  He buys the outdated and admittedly erroneous FBI statistic that there are between 35-50 serial killers at loose in the U.S..  While it is true that a number of murders that appear to have a predator in common are unsolved, it’s generally not a good idea to just accept that they must be the work of a serial killer.  The bungled Boston Strangler case is a good one to keep in mind.  There are good suspects for many of those eleven murders and, technically, we could still consider at least some murders in that “series” unsolved.  At any rate, the semen found on the last Boston Strangler victim, Mary Sullivan, did not match Albert DeSalvo, who was considered to be the Strangler.  In addition, his description of her murder, as well as what he said about some of the other crimes, was full of errors overlooked by investigators in their rush to close a frightening case.
Albert Desalvo in custodyIn short, while at least seven (or eight) of the Frankford Slasher murders remain unsolved as of this writing, and one did take place while Christopher was in jail, we cannot discount a copycat or the possibility that not all of the killings are related.  Even in the event that they were all the work of a single killer and Christopher was not the attacker, there appears to have been no more of these particular crimes in that area since 1990.  Yet  significant questions remain regarding the quality of evidence used to convict Christopher and the fact that he did not match witness reports of a white man seen with other victims.  In many respects, it seems clear that someone got away with murder.Today, the Frankford area is poised for renovation and rebirth as an arts community.  People want to forget its seedy past and get on with expansion and expression.    In 2000, the Inquirer claimed that statistics showed Frankford as one of the safer places in the city.  While the Frankford Slasher gave the area a sense of menace, citizens today believe that reputation is undeserved.


Rostov Ripper

The Devil’s Trail
First Hints
The first body found was mostly bones. A man looking for firewood in the lesopolosa, a rectangular “shelterbelt” or forested strip of land planted to prevent erosion, found the remains. While the area was only about 50 yards wide, with a path running through it, no one had seen this body until it was pretty well decomposed. There were small patches of leathered skin on some of the bones and some black hair hanging from the skull. The man who found the remains reported them to the militsia, the local authorities in this southern region of Russia
The body had no identifying clothing and had been left on its back, the head turned to one side. The ears were still sufficiently intact to see tiny holes for earrings, and those, along with the length of the hair, suggested that this victim had been female. It also appeared from her postmortem posture that she had tried to fight her attacker. It appeared that two ribs had been broken, perhaps by a knife, and closer inspection indicated numerous stab wounds into the bone. A knife had apparently cut into the eye sockets, too, as if to remove the eyes, and similar gouges were viewed in the pelvic region.
Whoever had done this, the police thought, had been a frenzied beast.
They did have a report on a missing 13-year-old girl, Lyubov Biryuk from Novocherkassk, a village not far away. Investigators called the uncle of the missing girl who had done an extensive search for her after she’d disappeared earlier in the month. He came to where the body lay to look at the remains.
Lyubov’s uncle, perhaps clutching to some small glimpse of hope, said his niece’s hair was not as dark and that the bones looked to him as if they had been there longer than she had been missing.
Major Mikhail Fetisov (police file photo)
A few hours later, Major Mikhail Fetisov arrived from militsia headquarters in Rostov-on-Don, the closest large city.   He was the leading detective, or syshchik, for the entire region. He asked for records of other missing persons in the area and ordered military cadets in training to search the surrounding woods. He also ordered the remaining skin on the hands be fingerprinted.
The next day, the searchers found a white sandal and yellow bag containing the brand of cigarettes that the young girl had set out to purchase. Then fingerprints of the corpse and the schoolgirl’s book covers confirmed that this body was Lyubov’s. DNA analysis for body identification was several years away, but from what evidence they had, they could be sure it was the missing girl. The medical examiner hypothesized that warm temperatures and heavy rain had afforded the accelerated state of decomposition.
Despite a thorough search around the remains, no evidence was produced that could help to identify the person who had killed her, and the dress that Lyubov had worn was missing. That meant that no trace evidence could be collected from it. It was thought to be a random attack, nearly impossible to solve.
According to Robert Cullen, author of a well-known book on the case, most murders in that area of Russia fell into one of two categories: intimate killings, in which a person got into a rage or a drunken state and murdered someone he knew, usually a family member; and instrumental murders done to take something from the victim. But no one in the girl’s family was a clear suspect and she’d had nothing of any value on her person.
There was a path near the body that people traveled often, and a road only 75 yards away. This had been a crime of some risk, with evidence of overkill. Although sexual crimes were considered manifestations of self-indulgent Western societies, there were plenty of signs that this incident had been just such a killing.
It became clear later from the autopsy report that she had been attacked from behind and hit hard in the head with both the handle and the blade of a knife. Perhaps she’d been knocked out right away. At any rate, she had been stabbed at least 22 separate times and mutilated in other ways. (In Hunting the Devil, told by Richard Lourie partly from the killer’s perspective, the number of wounds was 41.)
The police came up with ideas and began looking for possible suspects: those who were mentally ill, juvenile delinquents, or someone with a history of sex crimes. They tried to find out whom Lyubov had known and how she might have encountered this killer.
One man, convicted in another rape, learned that he was a suspect and promptly hanged himself. That seemed to put an end to the investigation. There were no other viable suspects, and for all they knew, the killer had found his own form of redemption.
But then another victim was discovered.
The Division of Especially Serious Crimes
Less than two months after the discovery of Lyubov’s remains, a railroad worker who was walking near the train station for Shakhty, a small industrial town 20 miles away, came across a set of skeletal remains. It appeared to have been there for approximately six weeks and was soon identified as an adult woman. The body had been stripped, left facedown, with the legs open. What made investigators take note was a key similarity with the murder of Lyubov: multiple stab wounds and lacerated eye sockets. That was a rare manifestation of murder.
Since no one of this approximate size and gender had been reported missing, no identification was made.
Only a month later, a soldier gathering wood about 10 miles south of that spot came across more remains, also of a woman lying face down. She had been covered with branches, but close inspection showed the pattern of knife wounds and damage to the eye sockets. She, too, remained unknown.
The linkage was obvious. A serial killer had claimed at least three victims. But no one was admitting that, especially not to the press. Officially what they had were three separate unsolved murders. (They actually had seven that year, Richard Lourie says, but they would not know that for some time to come.)
Major Fetisov organized a task force of 10 men to start an aggressive full-time investigation. He intended to get to the heart of this and stop this maniac from preying on any more female citizens. Among those he recruited was a second lieutenant from the criminology laboratory named Viktor Burakov, 37, and his perspective is presented in Cullen’s book. He was the best man they had for the analysis of physical evidence like fingerprints, footprints, and other manifestations at a crime scene, and he was an expert in both police science and the martial arts. Known for his diligence, he was invited aboard the Division of Especially Serious crimes in January 1983. Little did anyone realize then just how diligent he would prove to be and would have to be.
Viktor Burakov (police file photo)
That same month, a fourth victim was found. She appeared to have been killed about six months earlier and was near the area where the second set of remains was discovered. She, too, had the familiar knife wounds, but some female clothing was found nearby and assumed to be hers. She was possibly a teenager.
All they knew at this point was that the killer—whom they now called the Maniac—did not smoke (or he’d have taken the cigarettes found near Lyubov), and that he was a man. He had some issue with eyes, but whether it was based on superstition or a   fetish or some other consideration authorities had no idea. At any rate, as Cullen points out, gouging out the eyes indicated that the killer spent some time with the victims after they were dead.
With no definite leads, the unit decided to look back in time and see if there might be other victims. Burakov’s first real task was to head an investigation in Novoshakhtinsk, a farming and mining town in the general area, where a 10-year-old girl had just been reported missing.
Confusion
Olga Stalmachenok had gone to a piano lesson on December 10, 1982. No one had seen her since. Burakov questioned her parents and learned that she got along with them and had no apparent cause to just run away. However, the parents had received a strange postcard from “Sadist-Black Cat” telling them their daughter was in the woods and warning that there would be 10 more victims that coming year. Burakov dismissed this as a sick prank, but still feared that the girl was dead.
Then on April 14, four months after her disappearance, Olga’s body was found in a field about three miles from the music conservatory where she had gone for her lesson. Her nude body was lying in a frozen tractor rut on a collective farm. The police left her in place until Burakov could arrive to see the crime scene for himself. Because she had been killed during the winter, the snow had preserved the corpse, so the pattern of knife wounds was clearly visible on her bluish-white skin. The skull was punctured, as were the chest and stomach. The knife had been inserted dozens of times, as if in a frenzy, moving the organs around in the body cavity. The killer had especially targeted the heart, lungs, and sexual organs. And as with the others, this offender had attacked the eyes with his single-bladed knife.
Without a doubt, Burakov knew that he was looking for a vicious, sexually-motivated serial killer who was attacking victims at a quickening rate, drawing no attention to what he was doing, and leaving no evidence. There were no resources that Burakov was aware of to utilize. Men who killed in this manner were supposedly few and only top-ranking officials knew the details of those investigations.
Burakov, who followed the long route from the conservancy to the place where the body was left, believed the killer had a car. He also felt sure the man did not frighten people when he approached. There was nothing overt in his appearance that would alarm women or children. That would make him harder to find, though he surely had some sort of covert mental disorder that hopefully some people noticed.
They decided to focus fully on investigating known sex offenders in the area, specifically where they were on December 11. Then on released mental patients, and then men who lived or worked around the conservancy who owned or used a car. Also, handwriting experts came in to compare the Black Cat card against samples from the entire population of that town. It was tedious work, with no promise of yielding a single clue. Yet doing nothing was guaranteed to provide no clue, so at least they had a start.
What they did not know, according to Lourie, was that a 15-year-old boy had also been killed in a similar manner near Shakhty, then left to be covered by snow. He would not be found for some time.
For the next four months, nothing turned up of any value, although they realized that snow could easily cover what might have occurred, and then it was discovered that the killer had struck again. In another wooded lesopolosa near Rostov-on-Don, a group of boys found some bones in a gully. Again, they could find no missing-persons report, and an examination of the bones not only linked this crime with the others but revealed that the girl (it seemed) had had Down’s syndrome. That made things a little easier, despite the horror of realizing the killer had lured a mentally retarded child with no possibility of defending herself. They could check the special schools in the area to make an identification.
A 45-year-old woman was also murdered in the woods over the winter, but no one linked her to the lesopolosa series. That would come later.
The girl turned out to have been 13, attending a school for children with her condition. No one had missed her, since she often left, so no one had reported her. But her case took a back seat to the next body, discovered in September in a wooded area near Rostov’s airport, two miles from victim No. 6. However it was an 8-year-old boy. He had been stabbed, like the others, including his eyes, and it turned out that he had been missing since August 9. Like the little girl going to piano lessons, he had ridden on public transportation.
This new development puzzled everyone. With what little was known about killers, the basic analysis was that they always went after the same type of victim. This man had killed grown women and young children, girls and boys. The investigators wondered if they might have more than one killer doing the same kind of perverse ritual. It seemed impossible, but so did the idea that so many victim types could trigger the same type of sexual violence in one person.
Then Burakov learned that the killer had finally been apprehended. It was over. He went to the jail to learn what he could about this man.
Confession
The suspect was Yuri Kalenik, 19. He had lived for years in a home for retarded children and had then been trained to lay floors in construction. He remained friends with older boys in his former residence and one day when they were riding on a trolley, the conductor caught them. Grabbing one boy, she wanted to know what he knew about the recent murders and he told her that Yuri had done them. So based on the squirming accusation of a mentally slow boy who was trying to free himself from punishment, the officials believed they had broken the case.
Yuri was arrested and interrogated. He had no right to a lawyer or to remain silent. He barely knew what was happening to him. Nevertheless, he denied everything. He had not killed anyone. Yet the interrogators kept him there for several days, believing (according to Cullen) that a guilty man will inevitably confess. It soon became clear to Yuri that to stop being beaten he would have to tell them what they wanted to hear, so he did. And then some. He confessed to all seven murders, and added four unsolved murders in the area to his list. Now all the police needed was supporting evidence. This young man was quite a catch.
Viktor Burakov accepted the task of further investigation. Yuri seemed a viable suspect, because he had a mental disorder and he rode on public transportation. And why would he confess to such brutal crimes if he did not do them? At the time—and even today—there was little understanding of the psychology of false confessions. Less intelligent people tend to be more susceptible to suggestion, especially when fatigued, and they will tell interrogators whatever pleases them—usually supplying whatever clues they hear from the questions. Sociologist Richard Ofshe recounts case after case of suspects who admitted to things they did not do, despite the harsh consequences, and Wrightsman lists several studies of people exonerated by DNA evidence who had confessed to the crime for which they were imprisoned. Most juries do not believe people will confess falsely and they accept a confession as the best type of evidence against someone.
Even better, when a suspect can lead police to the site of where someone was murdered, that’s considered good confirmation, and Kalenik did just that with several of the incidents. Nevertheless, Burakov was not convinced. He saw that Kalenik did not go straight to a site, even when he was close, but appeared to wander around until he picked up clues from the police about where they expected him to go. Burakov did not consider that to be a good test. Upon examining the written confession, he was even less convinced. It was clear to him that Kalenik had been given most of the information that he was expected to say, and had then felt intimidated.
It was difficult to know just how to proceed, but then another body was found.
Operation Lesopolosa
In another wooded area, the mutilated remains of a young woman were found. Her nipples had been removed—possibly with teeth, her abdomen was slashed open, and one eye socket was damaged. She had been there for several months and her clothing was missing. Kalenik could have been responsible for this one, whose identity remained unknown, since he was free at the time, but not the next one, found on October 20.
She had been murdered approximately three days earlier, while Kalenik was in custody. He definitely did not kill her, but her wounds were similar to those of the other victims. Whoever had killed her was growing bolder and more frenzied in his surgical removal of parts. This victim was entirely disemboweled, and the missing organs were nowhere to be found. However, her eyes remained intact. She might not be part of the series, although she did ride the trains. Perhaps the killer had changed his method or had been interrupted.
Four weeks later and not far away from that site, a set of skeletal remains was found in the woods. Her death was estimated to have occurred some time during the summer, and her eyes had been gouged out.
It wasn’t long before the 10th unsolved murder turned up, just after the turn of the year into 1984. This one was a boy, found near the railroad tracks. He was identified as Sergei Markov, a 14-year-old boy missing since December 27. For the first time, thanks to winter’s preservative effects, the detectives, led by Mikhail Fetisov, were able to see just what the killer did to these young people.
He had stabbed the boy in the neck dozens of times—the final count would be 70—and he had then cut into the boy’s genitals and removed everything from the pubic area. In addition, he had violated his victim anally. Then it appeared that he had gone to a spot nearby to have a bowel movement.
Clearly the jailed Kalenik was not responsible and the maniac who was perpetrating these crimes was still very much at large. In their rush to close these cases, the police had made a mistake.
Fetisov decided to retrace the boy’s steps on the day he had disappeared. Beginning in a town called Gukovo, where the boy had lived and from where he had gone that day, he boarded the elechtrichka, or local train. In the same town was a home for the mentally retarded and the teachers there reported that a former student, Mikhail Tyapin, 23, had left around the same time as the boy and had taken the train. He was a very large young man and barely knew how to talk. Once again, the police got a confession.
Tyapin and his friend, Aleksandr Ponomaryev, said they had met Markov, had lured him to the woods, and killed him. They had also left their excrement. Tyapin, in particular, had numerous violent fantasies, and he claimed credit for several other unsolved murders in the area. But he never mentioned the damage done to the eyes. And he and Ponomaryev confessed to two murders that were proven to have been done by someone else.
The police were now thoroughly confused, and Fetisov had some doubts, while Burakov felt certain they had not apprehended the killer they were after. All of the so-called confessions were flawed. He believed that only one person was involved, that this person was a loner and not part of a gang, and that he was clearly demented in some subtly perceivable way.
Then they had their first piece of good evidence. The medical examiner found semen in Markov’s anus. He had been raped and the perpetrator had ejaculated. When they apprehended the killer, they could compare the blood antigens. This would not afford a precise match, but could at least eliminate suspects. In fact, it eliminated all of the young men who had confessed thus far. They all had the wrong type of blood.
But then the lab issued another report, claiming it had mixed up the sample. The type did indeed match that of Mikhail Tyapin. That meant that the odds were good that they had Markov’s killer.
Yet bodies still turned up
Some Possible Leads
In 1984, numerous victims were discovered in wooded areas, some of them quite close to where previous bodies had lain before being discovered and removed. The first one found after Typapin’s arrest was a woman who had been slashed up in the same frenzy as previous victims. Yet her eyes were intact and one new item was added: a finger had been removed.
They also had one more piece of evidence: a shoeprint left in the mud, size 13. On the victim’s clothing were traces of semen and blood.
She was soon identified as an 18-year-old girl who had been seen at the bus station with a boy who worked nearby. When questioned, he had an alibi.
The medical examiner’s report returned three significant facts: she’d had pubic lice, her stomach contained undigested food, and there was no semen inside her. The killer apparently had masturbated over her. It was also possible that, given her state of poverty, she had been lured away with the promise of a meal.
The police checked pharmacies for anyone purchasing lice treatments, but they came up empty-handed.
One thing they did discover was that this woman had a friend who had been missing since 1982. Matching dental records to skulls from various remains, they managed to identify their second victim in the series. That linked two of the victims together, one of whom had her eye sockets slashed and the other who did not.
Another suspect was caught and he confessed, but Burakov was looking for a certain personality type, and no one thus far seemed to come close. He spoke out to officials and was rebuked. His opinion also divided the task force into factions, helped along by the fact that the crime lab could not give them a definitive answer as to whether semen samples found on two victims were from the same person. They brought in a forensic scientist from the Moscow lab, who did better. They were type AB, she said, and with that, she eliminated their entire list of suspects. None of the confessions gathered thus far were any good and the killer was still at large.
He struck that March in Novoshakhtinsk, grabbing 10-year-old Dmitri Ptashnikov, who was found three days later, mutilated and stabbed. The tip of his tongue and his penis were missing. The semen on his shirt linked him to the previous two crimes where semen was found. Near this body was a large footprint.
This time, however, there were witnesses. The boy was seen following a tall, hollow-cheeked man with stiff knees and large feet, wearing glasses. Yet no one had recognized him. Someone else had seen a white car.
Lyudmila Alekseyeva (Victim)
Then a 17-year-old, Lyudmila Alekseyeva, was found slashed 39 times with a kitchen knife, and leads went nowhere, wasting time and resources. Soon there was another victim, and then another close by. One was a girl, killed with a hammer, the other a woman stabbed many times with a knife. Mother and daughter, they had died at the same time. By the end of that summer in 1984, authorities counted 24 victims that were probably murdered by the same man. Whenever semen was left behind, it proved to have the same AB antigen. There was also a single gray hair on one victim, which seemed to be from a man, and some scraps of clothing near a boy that failed to match his clothes.
Lourie writes that the killer had shifted his pattern somewhat that year. He now removed the upper lip, and sometimes the nose, and left them in the victim’s mouth or ripped-open stomach.
With no witnesses, little physical evidence, and no way to know how this man was leading his victims off alone, the police felt the investigation was out of control. This killer had stepped up his pace from five victims the first year (they believed) to something like one every two weeks. Surely he would eventually make a mistake. They had no way of knowing as yet that they had not found the earliest murders and it would be some time before the killing spree was stopped. This man did not make many mistakes.
Suspects
With all the surveillance, it was inevitable that certain suspicious men would be followed and detained, and this procedure produced two suspects, each of which was interesting for different reasons. One appeared to be the man they were after and the other became an informant.
The Minister of the Interior appointed a dozen new detectives to the case, and a task force of some 200 men and women became involved in the investigation. Burakov was appointed to head this team. That got him closer to leads as they came in. It also shouldered him with the heavy responsibility of forming a good plan to stop this killer. People were assigned to work undercover at bus and train stations, and to wander the parks.
According to Cullen, they decided that they were looking for a man between 25 and 30, tall, well built, with type AB blood. He was careful and had at least average intelligence, and was probably verbally persuasive. He traveled and lived with either his mother or a wife. He might be a former psychiatric patient, or a substance abuser, and he might have some knowledge of anatomy and skill with a knife. Anyone who generally matched these characteristics would have to submit to a blood test.
The press was not allowed to carry stories about the links among these crimes, only to ask for witnesses concerning one or another of the murders. No warnings were given to parents to protect their children or to young women out alone.
The Rostov bus station (police file photo)
One undercover officer spotted an older man in the Rostov bus station. He spoke to a female adolescent and when she got on her bus, he circled around and sat next to another young woman. This was suspicious behavior, so Major Zanasovsky thought it was time to question him. The man’s name was Andrei Chikatilo and he was the manager of a machinery supply company. He was there on a business trip, but lived in Shakhty. As to why he was approaching young women, he admitted that he’d once been a teacher and he missed talking to young people. The officer let him go.
However, he spotted Chikatilo again and followed him, boarding the same bus he got on in order to watch him. “He seemed very ill at ease,” Zanasovsky’s report states, “and was always twisting his head from one side to another.”
He followed Chikatilo into another bus and saw him accost various women. When Chikatilo solicited a prostitute and received oral sex under his coat, they arrested him for indecent behavior in public and went through his briefcase. Inside were a jar of Vaseline, a long kitchen knife, a piece of rope and a dirty towel—nothing suggestive of business dealings.
Andrei Chikatilo, teacher (school photo)
Zanasovsky believed he had the lesopolosa killer. He urged the procurator to come and interrogate the man. Chikatilo’s blood was drawn and it was type A, not AB. He was also a member of the Communist Party, with good character references. There was nothing in his background to raise suspicion. Nevertheless, they kept him in jail for a couple of days to see if sitting in a cell might pressure him into a confession.
He denied everything, although he admitted to “sexual weakness,” and was finally released. He was later arrested again for petty thefts at work and he served three months in prison. Still, he did not have the right blood type, so he was not their killer.
Burakov decided to breach protocol and consult with psychiatric experts in Moscow. He wanted to know what they thought of the idea of a single person killing women and children of both genders. Most were either uninterested or refused to say much, due to insufficient detail. However, one psychiatrist, Alexandr Bukhanovsky, agreed to study the few known details, as well as the crime scene patterns, to come up with a profile. He read everything he could find, specialized in sexual pathologies and schizophrenia, and was willing to take risks. This case, unusual as it was, interested him. He came up with a seven-page report.
Alexandr Bukhanovsky, psychiatric expert (police file photo)
The killer, he said, was a sexual deviate, between 25 and 50 years old, around 5’10” tall. He thought the man suffered from some form of sexual inadequacy and he blinded his victims to prevent them from looking at him. He also brutalized their corpses, partly out of frustration and partly to enhance his arousal. He was a sadist and had difficulty getting relief without cruelty. Often sadists like to inflict superficial wounds, as was evident on many of these victims. He was also compulsive, following the goading of his need, and would be depressed until he could kill. He might even have headaches. He was not retarded or schizophrenic. He could work out a plan and follow it. He was a loner and he was the only offender involved.
Burakov got two other opinions, one of which insisted there were two killers, and he felt that no one had given him anything that brought him closer to closing the case. He was still frustrated.
Working with the idea that the killer had a sexual dysfunction, the dogged investigator looked up records of men convicted of homosexual crimes and came across Valery Ivanenko, who had committed several acts of “perversion” and who had claimed he was psychotic. He also had a charismatic personality and once had been a teacher. At age 46, he was tall and wore glasses. He’d been brought to the psychiatric institute in Rostov but had escaped. In short, he sounded too good to be true. He was the perfect suspect.
Staking out the apartment of the man’s invalid mother, Burakov caught and arrested him. But his blood was type A which eliminated him as the killer. In a deal, Burakov enlisted his assistance investigating the gay population in return for his release. Ivanenko proved to be quite good at getting secret information, which in turn led to others providing even more information under pressure. Burakov soon knew quite a bit about Rostov’s underworld, from perversion to violence.
Yet Burakov still felt as if he was just going toward more dead ends. The gay men that he investigated just did not strike him as having the right personality disorder for these crimes. He began to come around to Bukhanovsky’s view that this killer was heterosexual but probably impotent when it came to normal sexual relations. He needed more details.
Killer X
Pressure was on to solve the crimes that had happened already, but over the next 10 months only one more body turned up—a young woman—but she was killed near Moscow. The killer may have moved or traveled there, but they just couldn’t tell. They wondered if the killer had left the area or been arrested. Perhaps he had died. Then a body was found in August of 1985. She bore similarities to the others and she lay near an airport.
Burakov went to Moscow to look at the photos of the dead girl. It was so similar to his recent victim in Rostov that he knew the killer had gone to Moscow for some reason. He checked the flight rosters between Moscow and the airport where their victim had been found, and had officers go painstakingly through all the handwritten tickets. But they failed to discover a significant clue right under their noses.
Then detectives in Moscow put together a series of murders of young boys that had begun when the Rostov killings had stopped. All three had been raped and one was decapitated.
But the Rostov crew was quickly drawn back to Shakhty. In a tree grove near the bus depot, a homeless, 18-year-old girl lay dead, her mouth stuffed with leaves. This was the same signature as the girl in Moscow earlier that month. She had a red and a blue thread under her fingernails, and sweat near her wounds that typed AB—different from her own type O blood. Between her fingers was a single strand of gray hair—similar to one of the earlier murders. This was the most evidence left at a crime scene thus far. The detectives believed they would break this case soon.
In fact they did find a good suspect who had also been implicated with a previous victim, and he did confess (after 10 days of intense interrogation), but to Burakov, it did not sound right. Nor could the suspect take them to the correct murder site. Once again, frustratingly so, he was not their man.
Chief Investigator Issa Kostoyev (police file photo)
A special procurator with one serial killer investigation behind him, Chief Investigator Issa Kostoyev, was appointed to look into the lesopolosa murders. By this time, they had 15 procurators and 29 detectives involved. Many of them were watching train and bus stations for suspicious activity. The female officials worked undercover to try to lure men to talk to them. Kostoyev looked over the work done thus far and felt it had not proceeded well. In fact, he believed they’d already come across the man they were after and just hadn’t known it. This did nothing to improve the already-low morale of the investigating team.
To try to learn more about the type of killer who would be so raw and brutal, Kostoyev had the classic nineteenth-century work on sexual predators by Richard von Krafft-Ebing translated into Russian. He also discovered a rare edition of Crimes and Criminals in Western Culture, by B. Utevsky, which included a chapter detailing cases of dismemberment and disfiguring of victims. He saw that some killers were driven merely by arrogance and the idea that their victims were objects that belonged to them to do with as they pleased. Kostoyev stored this information away to use when they found more suspects.
In the meantime, Yuri Kalenik was still in prison awaiting the completion of the investigation on him, which was now delayed by investigators looking into other areas. One of these leads produced yet a fifth false confession. Something was clearly wrong with the process, and Kostoyev was furious. He did not believe that Yuri was guilty of anything.
Burakov turned again to Dr. Bukhanovsky, finally allowing him to see all of the crime scene reports so he could write a more detailed profile. This, he thought, might help them to narrow the leads. Bukhanovsky took all of the materials and spent months of his own time writing 65 pages devoted to what made sense to him from his work with gay men, sexual dysfunction, necrophiles and necrosadists. He labeled the unknown suspect “Killer X.”
The details, in brief, were the following: X was not psychotic, because he was in control of what he did and he was clearly self-interested. He was narcissistic and arrogant, considering himself gifted, although he was not unduly intelligent. He had a plan but he was not creative. He was heterosexual, with boys being a “vicarious surrogate.” He was a necrosadist, needing to watch people die in order to achieve sexual gratification.
To render them helpless, he would hit them in the head. Afterward, the multiple stabbing was a way to “enter” them sexually. He either sat astride them or squatted next to them, getting as close as possible. The deepest cuts represented the height of his pleasure, and he might masturbate, either spontaneously or with his hand.
There were many reasons why he might cut out the eyes, and nothing in the crime scenes suggested what actually motivated X. He might be excited by eyes or fear them. He might believe his image was left on them, a superstition held by some. Cutting into the sexual organs was a manifestation of power over women. He might keep the missing organs or he might eat them. Removing the sexual organs from the boys might be a way to neutralize them and make them appear more female.
An interesting twist was the hypothesis that X responded to changes in weather patterns. Before most of the murders, the barometer had dropped. That might be his trigger, especially if it coincided with other stressors at home or work. Most of the killings were also done mid-week, from Tuesday to Thursday.
While he was vague about height and occupation, he now thought X’s age was between 45 and 50, the age at which sexual perversions often are most developed. It was likely that he’d had a difficult childhood. He was conflicted and probably kept to himself. He had a rich fantasy life, but an abnormal response to sexuality. Bukhanovsky could not say whether or not the man was married or had fathered children, but if he was married, his wife let him keep his own hours and did not ask much of him.
His killing was compulsive and might stop temporarily if he sensed he was in danger of discovery, but would not stop altogether until he died or was caught.
Despite the length and detail of this psychological report, Burakov found nothing practical in it to help him find the man.
Police sketch of suspected killer
Then he consulted with someone who was much closer to these types of crimes: Anatoly Slivko, a man convicted of the sexual murder of seven boys, who faced execution. The police wanted this man to explain to them the workings of the mind of a serial killer. Slivko attributed his actions to his inability to engage in normal sexual arousal and satisfaction. Sexual murderers have endless fantasies through which they set up the rules of behavior and feel a demand for action, and the act of planning their crimes has its own satisfaction. He offered nothing practical for the investigation in what he said, but his manner under questioning showed them a compartmentalized mind that could kill boys and still feel morally indignant about using alcohol in front of children. That meant he could live in a way that hid his true propensities. Only hours after the interview, Slivko was executed.
The investigators believed that X was very much like Slivko, and that meant he would be next to impossible to catch.
But then, oddly, the killing seemed to stop.
Frustrations
Only one dead woman turned up in 1985 in Rostov, and nothing happened that winter or the next spring. Then on July 23, the body of a 33-year-old female turned up, but it bore none of the markings of the serial killer, except that she had been repeatedly stabbed. Burakov had doubts about her being in the series, but not so with the young woman found on August 18. All of the disturbing wounds were present, but she had been mostly buried, save for a hand sticking out of the dirt—a new twist. Now they had to wonder whether there were others not yet found who were also under the earth.
The handwriting experts finally gave up on the Black Cat postcard, and the police could go no farther with the 14 suspects on the list so far, all of whom Burakov believed could be eliminated. He created a comprehensive booklet to give out to other police departments, and a card file was created to keep track of new leads. He and his team were dogged by the fear that this case might never be solved.
At the end of 1986 Viktor Burakov finally had a nervous breakdown. He was weak and exhausted, and could not sleep, so he went to a hospital, where he remained for a month. Then he was sent to rest for another month. Four years of intense work had come to this. But he would not give up.
He had no idea then that he was only halfway there. This devil was not yet finished.
Burakov’s period of rest, however, had given him some perspective. He’d been able to think over their strategies thus far and felt that none was taking them down the correct route. Not only that, all were time- and resource-consuming. He might only catch this killer if he surfaced again—in other words, murdered someone. It was a grim thought, but it could be their only hope
Yet nothing occurred for the rest of that year or throughout all of 1987.
The winter melted into spring before a railroad worker found a woman’s nude body in a weedy area near the tracks on April 6, 1988. Her hands were bound behind her, she had been stabbed multiple times, the tip of her nose was gone, and her skull had been bashed in. Only a large footprint was found nearby. People recalled seeing her but she had been alone. There was no sign of sexual assault and her eyes had not been touched. Nor had she been killed in the woods.
The investigators pondered whether they should include this murder in the series. Perhaps the lesopolosa killer was no longer in business. Yet only a month later, on May 17, the body of a 9-year-old boy was discovered in the woods not far from a train station. He’d been sodomized and then his orifices were stuffed with dirt. He also bore numerous knife wounds and a blow to the skull, and his penis had been removed.
Unlike the murdered female, the boy was quickly identified as Aleksei Voronko, missing for two days. A classmate had seen him with a middle-aged man with gold teeth, a mustache and a sports bag. They had gone together to the woods and Aleksei had said he would soon return but did not.
This was a strong lead, one that could be followed up among area dentists. Few adults in the region could afford gold crowns for their teeth.
Yet by the end of that year, they had turned up nothing. Not only that, they learned from the Ministry of Health that it had been a mistake to assume that typing blood in secretions was an accurate match to blood types (or, alternatively, to assume that the labs were providing accurate results). There were rare “paradoxical” cases in which they did not match. In other words, any of the suspects eliminated based on blood type could have been their killer. While this was frustrating news and made the investigation more difficult in many ways, it also opened a few doors from the past. However, it meant taking semen samples (which had to be voluntary), not blood types, and it also meant redoing four years worth of work to that point. The idea was overwhelming.
The only method of investigation that seemed viable now was to post more men to watch the public transportation stations.
Still, the killer did not strike. It was April 1989 before they came across another victim who could be added to the lesopolosa series.
The Count Rises
This discovery, in the woods near a train station, was that of a 16-year-old boy reported missing since the summer before. His killer had stabbed him repeatedly and had removed his testicles and penis. He was badly decomposed and had lain under the snow for months. A watch, inscribed from his aunt and uncle, was missing. It would help immensely if it was found in someone’s possession.
None of the investigators assigned to ride the trains and watch people in the stations in that area had reported anything suspicious. No older men with boys or women. However, a ticket clerk reported that she had seen a man that summer on the platform. He had tried to convince her son to go into the words with him. The police did locate him, but quickly eliminated him as the killer they were seeking.
However, Yuri Kalenik had been released from prison after serving five years and he now lived near the area where the body was found. Perhaps they had been hasty in releasing him. When questioned, he insisted he knew nothing, so they let him go.
Then on May 11, an 8-year-old boy disappeared. He was found two months later by the side of a road, stabbed and genitally mutilated. This change in the killer’s habits, from the woods to out in the open, alerted the officials to the possibility that he might have noticed all the surveillance at the train stations and changed his manner of procuring victims.
Elena Varga, victim
That was disturbing. Yet killing someone so near a road was also careless. That could be a hopeful sign. Even the most organized killer can disintegrate as need replaces caution.
Then he killed a   Hungarian student, Elena Varga, in August, in a wooded area that was far from any train or bus station. Her body had been violated like all the other female victims in the lesopolosa series.
Aleksei Khobotov, victim
In just over a week, the fourth victim, a 10-year-old boy, Aleksei Khobotov, went missing, and four months later, early in 1990, the sexually mutilated body of an 11-year-old boy turned up in a lesopolosa. Then another 10-year-old boy was killed, his sexual organs cut off, and his tongue missing. It appeared to have been bitten off.
Victor Petrov, victim
Once more, the killer shifted his pattern and went for a female victim, and at the end of July in 1990, workmen found a 13-year-old boy, Victor Petrov, killed and mutilated in the Botanical Gardens.
They now had what they believed were 32 victims over the past eight years and the newspapers, now free to report this news after the loosening of government control, were putting pressure on the investigators. Those in the top positions threatened those on lower rungs with being fired. This killer had to be stopped. People were getting desperate.
Then on August 17 Ivan Fomin, 11, went swimming not far from his grandmother’s cottage. In the tall reeds not far from numerous potential witnesses who should have heard if not seen him, the serial killer had stabbed him 42 times and castrated him. This was outrageous and the public was getting angry.
Burakov decided on a new plan. He would select the most likely stations and then make surveillance obvious in the others, so that only those with plainclothes officers would seem safe to the killer. In other words, they would try to force him into action in a particular place, and in those places, they would record the names of every man who came and went. They would also place people in the forests nearby, dressed as farmers. It was a major task, with over 350 people who had to be in place and do their jobs for who-knows-how-long, but it seemed viable.
It seemed that the train station in Donleskhoz station might be a good place to set up a post, for example, since two of the victims had been found near there. Mushroom pickers generally used it during the summer, but not many other people. Two other stations were selected as well.
But even before the plan was enacted, the killer chose a victim from the Donleskhoz station. He killed a 16-year-old retarded boy, stabbing him 27 times and mutilating him before discarding his clothes. Part of his tongue was missing, as were his testicles, and one eye had been stabbed. When his identity was established, officers learned that he spent most of his time on the electrichka, the slow-moving train, but no one had seen him exit with anyone.
Burokov was in despair. They had a good plan and had it been in place, they might have caught the guy.
Victor Tishcenko, victim
Then another 16-year-old boy, Victor Tishchenko, was reported missing who had gone to the Shakhty railroad station to pick up tickets. Cullen writes that the handsome, athletic Tishcenko was larger than any other male victim thus far, weighing around 130 pounds. They found his body two miles south, in the woods and in the usual condition. It was where the mother and daughter had been found six years earlier. In the grove, there was evidence of a prolonged struggle.
Burakov got moving. The snare was set, with everyone in place, but the killer killed again, undetected. This time, his victim was a young woman. She was number 36, and she had been beaten and sliced open, and part of her tongue cut off. But no one had seen a thing.
Yet there were reports of men who had been at the train station nearby. One name stood out. In fact, they were chilled by it. They had seen this one before. To that point, according to Moira Martingale in Cannibal Killers, over half a million people had been investigated, but this one had been interrogated before and only released because his blood type had not matched the semen samples.
Endgame
Andrei Chikatilo mugshot
Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo, 54, had been at the Donleskhoz train station on November 6. He had been questioned and cleared in 1984. He had now been placed at the scene of a victim’s disappearance. He was seen coming out of the woods and had washed his hands at a pump. He also had a red smear on his cheek and ear, a cut finger, and twigs on the back of his coat. The officer at the station had taken down his name.
Burakov had the man placed under surveillance. They soon learned that he had resigned from his post as a teacher due to reports that he had molested students. He had then worked for another enterprise, but was fired when he failed to return from business trips with the supplies he was sent to get. So what had he been doing with his time? During the time he had spent in jail in 1984, there had been no murders, and his travel records coincided with other murders—including the one in Moscow. He once had been a member in good standing with the Communist Party, but had been expelled due to his incarceration.
But all the evidence was circumstantial. Investigators would need to catch him in the act or get him to confess. Keeping him under surveillance, they saw an ordinary man doing nothing unusual. It was frustrating. Kostoyev, who had finally read the earlier report on this man, ordered his arrest.
On November 20, 1990, three officers dressed in street clothes brought Chikatilo in for interrogation, and they noticed that he did not have a mouth full of gold teeth as one witness had indicated. They learned that he was married and had two children, and that he was something of an intellectual with a university degree. In his satchel they found a folding pocketknife.
Knives found in Chikatilo’s possession, trial evidence
They placed Chikatilo in a cell with a gifted informant, who was expected to get him to admit to what he had done, but failed. A search of Chikatilo’s home, which shamed his family, produced no evidence from victims, but did yield 23 knives. Two writers have claimed these weapons were used for the murders, but that was not proven.
The next day, Kostoyev decided to handle the interrogation, and he did so in the presence of Chikatilo’s court-appointed lawyer. Richard Lourie based much of his book, Hunting the Devil, on the time that Kostoyev spent with Chikatilo. Contrary to other versions of this narrative that show him to be an angry and impatient interrogator, Lourie says that Kostoyev had decided to use compassion to get the suspect to talk.
He wanted the room to be spare, with only a safe inside that would hint to the prisoner of evidence against him. There was also a desk, a table, and two chairs. When Chikatilo was brought in, Kostoyev could see that he was a tall, older man with a long neck, sloping shoulders, oversized glasses, and gray hair. He used a shuffling gait, like a weary elderly person, but Kostoyev was not fooled. He believed Chikatilo was a calculating killer with plenty of energy when he needed it. Chikatilo looked easy to break, and Kostoyev had only failed to obtain a confession in three out of hundreds of interrogations. He would get inside the suspect’s head, figure out his logic, and get him to talk. All guilty men eventually confessed. They had to. Besides, he had 10 days in which to succeed, and he had bait.
Chikatilo began with a statement that the police had made a mistake, just as they had in 1984 when he’d first been investigated. He denied that he had been at a train station on November 6 and did not know why it had been reported. Kostoyev knew he was lying, and he let Chikatilo know that. The next day, Chikatilo waived his right to legal counsel.
Then Chikatilo wrote a three-page document to which he confessed to “sexual weakness”—the words he had used before—and to years of humiliation. He hinted at “perverse sexual activity” but did not name it, and said that he was out of control. He admitted to nothing specific. But he wrote another, longer essay in which he said that he did move around in the train stations and saw how young people there were the victims of homeless beggars. He also admitted that he was impotent. It appeared to be an indirect confession, feeling guilt but fending it off by fingering other suspects and also hinting at how it was best that some of these beggars had died rather than reproduce. Nevertheless, he mentioned that he had thought of suicide.
Andrei Chikatilo (police file photo)
Kostoyev told him that his only hope would be to confess everything in a way that would show he had mental problems, so that an examination could affirm that he was legally insane and he could be treated. Otherwise the evidence they had would surely convict him without a confession and he would have no hope to save himself. That was Kostoyev’s bait, and he felt sure it would be effective.
Chikatilo asked for a few days to collect himself and said he would then submit to an interrogation. Everyone expected that he would confess, but when the day arrived, he insisted he was guilty of no crimes. For each crucial time period involving a murder, he claimed that he had been at home with his wife. Clearly he had used the extra two days alone in his cell to become more resolved.
The next day, he revised his statements somewhat. In fact, he had been involved in some criminal activity—but not the murders. In 1977, he had fondled some female students who had aroused him. He had difficulty controlling himself around children, but there were only two instances in which he had lost control.
He wrote again, but again revealed nothing, and nine days elapsed with Kostoyev getting no closer to his goal. He did not know what approach to take to pressure this man to finally open up.
A medical examination indicated that Chikatilo’s blood type was A, but his semen supposedly had a weak B antibody, making it appear that his blood type was AB, though it wasn’t. He was the “paradoxical” rare case—if such an analysis could be believed.
The informant in Chikatilo’s cell, writes Cullen, eventually told Burakov that the interrogation techniques were not according to protocol and that they were rough and made Chikatilo defensive. It was unlikely they were going to work. Kostoyev brought in photographers to humiliate Chikatilo and pressure him to believe that they had witnesses to whom they were going to show these photographs. Still, he did not give any ground.
Nine days had elapsed. They were allowed only 10 before having to charge him with a specific crime, and thus far, they did not have enough proof of even one. It was looking very much like they might have to let him go. And that could be disastrous. Burakov, says Cullen, thought they should try another interrogator, and his candidate was Dr. Bukhanovsky. Cullen also says that Kostoyev initially resisted this idea, but finally had to admit he was getting nowhere. He agreed to let the psychiatrist see what he could do. Lourie, presenting things from Kostoyev’s side, says that using the psychiatrist was one of Kostoyev’s clever ploys. Lourie does not mention Burakov’s role in the decision.
Whoever thought of it, this was clearly a wise move.
The Psychiatrist and the Murderer
Bukhanovsky agreed to question Chikatilo, but out of professional interest, not for the court. Burakov agreed to these conditions. Bukhanovsky was soon in a closed room alone with the best suspect in the lesopolosa murders.
Andrei Chikatilo mugshot
The psychiatrist saw right away, writes Cullen, that this was the type of man that he had described in his 1987 profile. So many of the indicators were there—ordinary, solitary, non-threatening. He introduced himself with a show of humility and then showed Chikatilo the profile. He sensed that this man wanted to talk about his rage and his humiliation, so it was best to show sympathy and listen. He spent two hours doing that, and then began to discuss the crimes.
In the film, Citizen X, Bukhanovsky is shown asking Chikatilo to help him on some aspects of the profile that he was not quite certain about. He reads the relevant pages to him, and one sees Chikatilo listening intently, as if alert to the only person who seems ever to have understood him. Bukhanovsky’s description goes into the nature of Chikatilo’s mental illness and some reasons for it. As Chikatilo hears his secret life described so clearly, he begins to tremble. Finally he affirms what the psychiatrist is saying, breaks down and admits that it’s all true. He has done those horrible things.
Bukhanovsky talked with him for hours and then went out and told police interrogators that the suspect was now ready to confess.
Kostoyev prepared a formal statement accusing Chikatilo of 36 murders. He was off by a long shot, but no one yet knew that.
Yelena Zakotnova, victim
Chikatilo read the statement of charges and admitted that he was guilty of the crimes listed. He wanted now to tell the truth about his life and what had led him into these crimes. Among his admissions was his first murder, which had occurred not when the police had first begun to keep track with Lyubov Biryuk but years early in 1978. He had killed a little girl, Yelena Zakotnova, age 9.
The Secret House crime scene
This was alarming, since a man had already been arrested, tried and executed for that murder. But Chikatilo said that he had moved to Shakhty that year to teach. Before his family arrived, his free time was spent watching children and feeling a strong desire to see them without their clothes on. To maintain his privacy, he purchased a hut on a dark, dirty street. When he went to it one day, he came upon the girl, was seized with urgent sexual desire, and took her to the hut to attack her.
When he could not achieve an erection, he had moved in imitation of the sexual act and used his knife as a substitute. During his frenzy of strangulation and stabbing, he blindfolded her. Once she was dead, he tossed her body into a nearby river. Lourie devotes a chapter to the fact that he was a suspect, seen by a witness, and that blood was found on his doorstep, but the other man had confessed under torture, so Chikatilo was free. Chikatilo was shocked to nearly have been caught.
Kostoyev asked him to explain the blindfold, and just as they had suspected, Chikatilo admitted that he had heard that the image of a killer remains in the eyes of a victim. It was a superstition, but he had believed it. That was why he had wounded so many others in the eyes. Then he had decided it was not true, so he stopped doing that (explaining the change in pattern).   Later he admitted that he just had not liked his victims looking at him as he attacked them.
Lourie describes how Chikatilo hated to see how vagrants at train stations went off into the woods for sexual encounters that he could never emulate. His fantasies became more violent. In 1981, he repeated his manner of attack on a vagrant girl looking for money, but he also used his teeth on her to bite off a nipple and swallow it. “At the moment of cutting her and seeing the body cut open,” he said, “I involuntarily ejaculated.” He covered her with newspaper and took her sexual organs away with him, only to cast them aside in the woods.
Chikatilo re-enacts crime, evidence
He remembered the details of each of the 36 lesopolosa murders and went through them, one by one. Sometimes he acted as a predator, learning someone’s routes and habits and finding a way to get that person alone. Others were victims of opportunity who happened along at the wrong time. The stabbing almost always was a substitute for sexual intercourse that could not be performed. He had learned how to squat beside them in such a way as to avoid getting their blood on his clothing (which he demonstrated with a mannequin). At any rate, he worked in a shipping firm, so there was always an excuse for a scrape or cut. It seemed that his impotence generally triggered the rage, especially if the women made demands or ridiculed him. He soon understood that he could not get aroused without violence. “I had to see blood and wound the victims.”
With the boys, it was different, although they bled just as easily as women and that’s what he needed most. Chikatilo would fantasize that these boys were his captives and that he was a hero for torturing and doing them in. He could not give a reason for cutting off their tongues and penises, although at one point he said he was taking revenge against life on the genitals of his victims. Lourie says, based on the psychiatric reports, that Chikatilo would place his semen inside a uterus that he had just removed and as he walked along, he would chew on it—”the truffle of sexual murder.” He never admitted to actually consuming these organs, but searches never turned up any discarded remains.
“But the whole thing,” Chikatilo said, “—the cries, the blood, the agony—gave me relaxation and a certain pleasure.” He liked the taste of their blood and would even tear at their mouths with his teeth. He said it gave him an “animal satisfaction” to chew or swallow nipples or testicles.
To corroborate what he was saying, he drew sketches of the crime scenes, and what he said fit the known facts. Then he confirmed what everyone had feared—he added more victims to the list. Many more.
One boy he had killed in a cemetery and placed in a shallow grave—a hole, he said, that he had dug for himself when he had contemplated suicide. He took the interrogators there and they recovered the body. Another was killed in a field, and she was located. On and on it went, murders here and there, and the bodies were always left right where they were killed, except for one. Chikatilo described a murder in an empty apartment and to get the body out, he had to dismember it and dump the parts down a sewer. The police had wondered whether this one was part of the series and had decided that there were too many dissimilarities to include it.
Andrei Chikatilo mugshot, profile
In the end, he confessed to 56 murders (Lourie counts it as 55), although there was corroboration for only 53: 31 females and 22 males. Burakov, says Cullen, believed that there might actually be more.
They now had sufficient evidence to take this man to court. In the meantime, they discovered more about him.
The Roots of Perversity
He was born in 1936 into a small Ukrainian village and his head was misshapen from water on the brain. He had a sister seven years younger. His father was a POW in WWII and then was sent to a prison camp in Russia, so his mother raised him mostly on her own.
In the HBO documentary, “Cannibal” and in Moira Martingale’s book Cannibal Killers, some of Chikatilo’s background is described in a chilling context as a way to try to understand what drove him into such a bestial frenzy. In fact, Martingale sees a direct connection between those times and Chikatilo’s sexual fantasies. He was like a werewolf, changing into a ravaging animal when triggered in just the right way. Much of this information came from the confession, the assessments done later, and from investigative research.
During the early part of the twentieth century, the former Soviet Union was often subjected to famines, especially in the Ukraine after Stalin crushed out private agriculture and sent many citizens to the Siberian Gulag. Some six million people died of starvation, according to Cullen, and desperate people might remove meat from corpses to survive. Sometimes they went to a cemetery, where corpses were stacked, and sometimes (legend has it) they grabbed someone on the street. Human flesh was bought and sold, or just hoarded.
Children saw disfigured corpses and heard terrible tales of hardship. Chikatilo had grown up during several of these famines and one story that his mother told was how he once had had an older brother, Stepan, who had been killed. In a prison interview, he said, “Many people went crazy, attacked people, ate people. So they caught my brother, who was 10, and ate him.” He might simply have died and been consumed, if he even existed (which could not be corroborated in any records), but Chikatilo’s mother would warn him to stay in the yard or he might get eaten as well. It was a scary idea, but titillating.
He also saw the results of Nazi occupation and of German bombing, with bodies blown up in the streets. He said that they frightened and excited him.
Most of his childhood was spent alone, living in his fantasies. Other children mocked him for his awkwardness and sensitivity. He began to develop anger at this age, even rage. To entertain and empower himself, he devised images of torture, and these remained a fixed part of his killings later in life.
He had his first sexual experience as an adolescent when he struggled with a 10-year-old friend of his sister’s and ejaculated. That impressed itself on him, especially as he went along in life unable to get an erection but able to ejaculate. The struggle became as fixed in his mind as the images of torture.
He went into the army but when he came home and tried to have a girlfriend, he found he was still unable to perform the sexual act. The girl spread this around, humiliating him, and he dreamed about catching her and tearing her to pieces. His life, as far as he could see, was now a disaster.
He became a schoolteacher and did get married (which was arranged by his sister), but could only conceive children, according to the HBO documentary, by ejaculating outside his wife and pushing his semen inside by hand. Much like his mother, his wife was critical, which only made Chikatilo withdraw even further into his fantasy world. His mother died in 1973 when he was 37, and it wasn’t long before he found himself attracted to young girls and began to molest them. It made him feel powerful, and when incidents were reported, they were met with cover-up and denial instead of prosecution, allowing a pervert to become a killer.
For true satisfaction, he needed to get violent, and by 1978, he killed his first victim. Since he was on the road quite often as a parts supply liaison, it became easy to find vulnerable strangers, dominate them and murder them. He didn’t have to go looking for them, he said. They were always right there and they were usually willing to follow him. He had read the newspaper reports about the murders when the press was allowed to print them and had known it was only a matter of time before it would all end. Being arrested, he admitted, was a relief.
Chikatilo believed he suffered from an illness that provoked his uncontrollable transgressions. He wanted to see some specialists in sexual deviance, and said that he would answer all questions. (Lourie says this was part of Kostoyev’s plan.)
He was sent to Moscow’s Serbsky Institute for two months for psychiatric and neurological assessment, and it was determined that he had brain damage from birth. It had affected his ability to control his bladder and his seminal emissions. His mother criticized him for it repeatedly, and was often cruel. He had deviant fantasies. However, after all the reports, he was found to be sane. He knew what he was doing and he could have controlled it. That was good enough for the prosecutor.
The Beast in the Cage
They brought him into the Rostov courtroom on April 14, 1992, and put him into a large iron cage painted off-white, where he could either stand or sit. The judge sat on a dais and two citizens on either side acted as jurors. There were 225 volumes of information collected about him and against him.
Chikatilo in court, caged, police file
The press wrote about “the Maniac” and spread the word about his upcoming trial, so the courtroom, which seated 250, was filled with the family of many of his alleged victims. When he entered, they began to scream at him. Bald and without his glasses, he looked slightly crazy, especially when he drooled and rolled his eyes later in the trial.
Throughout, Chikatilo appeared to be bored, except when he’d show a flash of anger and yell back at the crowd. On two separate occasions, he opened his trousers and pulled them down to expose his penis, insisting he was not a homosexual. They removed him from the courtroom.
That he would be found guilty of murder was a foregone conclusion, but there was a chance that his psychological problems could save him from execution. However, his lawyer, Marat Khabibulin, did not have the right to call psychiatric experts, only to cross-examine those that the prosecution brought in, and since he had not been appointed until after Chikatilo had fully confessed, he was at a real disadvantage.
Although the prosecutors were Anatoly Zadorozhny and N. F. Gerasimenko, Judge Leonid Akubzhanov became Chikatilo’s chief enemy, asking sharp questions of the witnesses and throwing demeaning comments at the prisoner, who often did not respond. After several months, however, Chikatilo challenged the judge, claiming that he was the one in charge. “This is my funeral,” the defendant said.
At one time, he spontaneously denied doing six of the murders and at another, he added four new ones. He claimed to be a victim of the former Soviet system and called himself a “mad beast.” According to Krivich and Ol’gin, he also claimed that there should be 70 “incidents” attributed to him, not 53. At one point, they write, when he was asked whether he had kept track as he killed his victims, Chikatilo said, “I considered them to be enemy aircraft I had shot down.”
No one adequately addressed the fact that there was a discrepancy between the blood type in the semen samples and Chikatilo’s blood type. The forensic analyst explained her discovery of the rare phenomenon of a man having one blood type but secreting another, but this hypothesis was later ridiculed around the world. Yet with no forensic experts hired for the defense, there was little the defense attorney could do. The judge, with his clear bias against the defendant, accepted the unusual analysis.
The court accepted the psychiatric diagnosis of sanity. One psychiatrist examined him yet again and said that he was still of the same opinion. It was Chikatilo’s predatory behavior and ability to shift to safer locales that showed his degree of control, as well as the fact that he had stopped for over a year at one point (a year in which he said he had celebrated his 50th birthday and was in a good mood).
The trial went into August. The defense summed up its side by saying that the evidence and psychiatric analyses were flawed and the confessions had been coerced. He asked for a verdict of not guilty.
The next day, Chikatilo broke into song from his cage and then talked a string of nonsense, with accusations that he was being “radiated.” He was taken out before the prosecutor began his final argument. He reiterated what sadism meant, repeated each of the crimes, and asked for the death penalty.
Chikatilo was brought in and given a final opportunity to speak for himself. He remained mute.
The judge took two months to reach a verdict, and on October 14, six months after the trial begun, he pronounced Andrei Chikatilo guilty of five counts of molestation and 52 counts of murder. Then Chikatilo cried out incoherently, shouting “Swindlers,” spitting, throwing his bench, and demanding to see the corpses. The judge sentenced him to be executed. The people shouted for Chikatilo to be turned over to them to be torn to pieces as he had done to their loved ones. But instead he was taken back to his cell to await the results of an appeal. His lawyer claimed through official channels that the psychiatric assessment had not been objective and he wanted further analysis.
A rumor circulated that the Japanese wanted to pay $1 million for the Maniac’s brain, Lourie writes, but there was no substance to it. Yet many professionals did believe that his behavior was so aberrant that he should be studied alive.
This man with a university degree in Russian literature, a wife and children, and no apparent background of child abuse, clearly had a savage heart. As he said of himself, he was apparently “a mistake of nature.” It’s unfortunate that a better biopsychological analysis was never performed.
On February 15, 1994, when his appeal was turned down, he was taken to a special soundproof room and shot behind the right ear, ending his life.
Legacies
Chikatilo has become one of the world’s most renowned serial killers, cited in books and articles such as Dr. Louis Schlesinger’s Serial Offenders, as a man with truly perverse tastes and killing habits. Thanks to him, Russian specialists can now engage in better study of serial killers and consult with professionals like the FBI in other countries. The same can be said for Bukhanovsky.
Newsweek published a story in 1999 about the area around Rostov-on-Don to the effect that it was now a hotbed of serial crimes. “Twenty-nine multiple murderers and rapists have been caught in the area over the past ten years,” writes Owen Matthews. He claims that such a statistic makes Rostov the serial killer capital of the world. Not only that, but Dr. Bukhanovsky has become such an expert via his private clinic for sexual disorders that he claims he can now cure violent psychopaths. To prove it, he worked with an active killer still at large—a controversial decision. He feels that he cannot break a confidence and that his study will help science determine the roots of aggression. A child rapist who was caught said that Bukhanovsky had a way of getting people to tell him things they would ordinarily keep secret. That appears to have been his talent with Chikatilo.

The Devil’s TrailFirst Hints
The first body found was mostly bones. A man looking for firewood in the lesopolosa, a rectangular “shelterbelt” or forested strip of land planted to prevent erosion, found the remains. While the area was only about 50 yards wide, with a path running through it, no one had seen this body until it was pretty well decomposed. There were small patches of leathered skin on some of the bones and some black hair hanging from the skull. The man who found the remains reported them to the militsia, the local authorities in this southern region of Russia
The body had no identifying clothing and had been left on its back, the head turned to one side. The ears were still sufficiently intact to see tiny holes for earrings, and those, along with the length of the hair, suggested that this victim had been female. It also appeared from her postmortem posture that she had tried to fight her attacker. It appeared that two ribs had been broken, perhaps by a knife, and closer inspection indicated numerous stab wounds into the bone. A knife had apparently cut into the eye sockets, too, as if to remove the eyes, and similar gouges were viewed in the pelvic region.
Whoever had done this, the police thought, had been a frenzied beast.
They did have a report on a missing 13-year-old girl, Lyubov Biryuk from Novocherkassk, a village not far away. Investigators called the uncle of the missing girl who had done an extensive search for her after she’d disappeared earlier in the month. He came to where the body lay to look at the remains.
Lyubov’s uncle, perhaps clutching to some small glimpse of hope, said his niece’s hair was not as dark and that the bones looked to him as if they had been there longer than she had been missing.

Major Mikhail Fetisov (police file photo)  A few hours later, Major Mikhail Fetisov arrived from militsia headquarters in Rostov-on-Don, the closest large city.   He was the leading detective, or syshchik, for the entire region. He asked for records of other missing persons in the area and ordered military cadets in training to search the surrounding woods. He also ordered the remaining skin on the hands be fingerprinted.The next day, the searchers found a white sandal and yellow bag containing the brand of cigarettes that the young girl had set out to purchase. Then fingerprints of the corpse and the schoolgirl’s book covers confirmed that this body was Lyubov’s. DNA analysis for body identification was several years away, but from what evidence they had, they could be sure it was the missing girl. The medical examiner hypothesized that warm temperatures and heavy rain had afforded the accelerated state of decomposition.
Despite a thorough search around the remains, no evidence was produced that could help to identify the person who had killed her, and the dress that Lyubov had worn was missing. That meant that no trace evidence could be collected from it. It was thought to be a random attack, nearly impossible to solve.
According to Robert Cullen, author of a well-known book on the case, most murders in that area of Russia fell into one of two categories: intimate killings, in which a person got into a rage or a drunken state and murdered someone he knew, usually a family member; and instrumental murders done to take something from the victim. But no one in the girl’s family was a clear suspect and she’d had nothing of any value on her person.
There was a path near the body that people traveled often, and a road only 75 yards away. This had been a crime of some risk, with evidence of overkill. Although sexual crimes were considered manifestations of self-indulgent Western societies, there were plenty of signs that this incident had been just such a killing.
It became clear later from the autopsy report that she had been attacked from behind and hit hard in the head with both the handle and the blade of a knife. Perhaps she’d been knocked out right away. At any rate, she had been stabbed at least 22 separate times and mutilated in other ways. (In Hunting the Devil, told by Richard Lourie partly from the killer’s perspective, the number of wounds was 41.)
The police came up with ideas and began looking for possible suspects: those who were mentally ill, juvenile delinquents, or someone with a history of sex crimes. They tried to find out whom Lyubov had known and how she might have encountered this killer.
One man, convicted in another rape, learned that he was a suspect and promptly hanged himself. That seemed to put an end to the investigation. There were no other viable suspects, and for all they knew, the killer had found his own form of redemption.
But then another victim was discovered.The Division of Especially Serious Crimes
Less than two months after the discovery of Lyubov’s remains, a railroad worker who was walking near the train station for Shakhty, a small industrial town 20 miles away, came across a set of skeletal remains. It appeared to have been there for approximately six weeks and was soon identified as an adult woman. The body had been stripped, left facedown, with the legs open. What made investigators take note was a key similarity with the murder of Lyubov: multiple stab wounds and lacerated eye sockets. That was a rare manifestation of murder.
Since no one of this approximate size and gender had been reported missing, no identification was made.
Only a month later, a soldier gathering wood about 10 miles south of that spot came across more remains, also of a woman lying face down. She had been covered with branches, but close inspection showed the pattern of knife wounds and damage to the eye sockets. She, too, remained unknown.
The linkage was obvious. A serial killer had claimed at least three victims. But no one was admitting that, especially not to the press. Officially what they had were three separate unsolved murders. (They actually had seven that year, Richard Lourie says, but they would not know that for some time to come.)
Major Fetisov organized a task force of 10 men to start an aggressive full-time investigation. He intended to get to the heart of this and stop this maniac from preying on any more female citizens. Among those he recruited was a second lieutenant from the criminology laboratory named Viktor Burakov, 37, and his perspective is presented in Cullen’s book. He was the best man they had for the analysis of physical evidence like fingerprints, footprints, and other manifestations at a crime scene, and he was an expert in both police science and the martial arts. Known for his diligence, he was invited aboard the Division of Especially Serious crimes in January 1983. Little did anyone realize then just how diligent he would prove to be and would have to be.

Viktor Burakov (police file photo)  That same month, a fourth victim was found. She appeared to have been killed about six months earlier and was near the area where the second set of remains was discovered. She, too, had the familiar knife wounds, but some female clothing was found nearby and assumed to be hers. She was possibly a teenager.All they knew at this point was that the killer—whom they now called the Maniac—did not smoke (or he’d have taken the cigarettes found near Lyubov), and that he was a man. He had some issue with eyes, but whether it was based on superstition or a   fetish or some other consideration authorities had no idea. At any rate, as Cullen points out, gouging out the eyes indicated that the killer spent some time with the victims after they were dead.
With no definite leads, the unit decided to look back in time and see if there might be other victims. Burakov’s first real task was to head an investigation in Novoshakhtinsk, a farming and mining town in the general area, where a 10-year-old girl had just been reported missing.Confusion
Olga Stalmachenok had gone to a piano lesson on December 10, 1982. No one had seen her since. Burakov questioned her parents and learned that she got along with them and had no apparent cause to just run away. However, the parents had received a strange postcard from “Sadist-Black Cat” telling them their daughter was in the woods and warning that there would be 10 more victims that coming year. Burakov dismissed this as a sick prank, but still feared that the girl was dead.
Then on April 14, four months after her disappearance, Olga’s body was found in a field about three miles from the music conservatory where she had gone for her lesson. Her nude body was lying in a frozen tractor rut on a collective farm. The police left her in place until Burakov could arrive to see the crime scene for himself. Because she had been killed during the winter, the snow had preserved the corpse, so the pattern of knife wounds was clearly visible on her bluish-white skin. The skull was punctured, as were the chest and stomach. The knife had been inserted dozens of times, as if in a frenzy, moving the organs around in the body cavity. The killer had especially targeted the heart, lungs, and sexual organs. And as with the others, this offender had attacked the eyes with his single-bladed knife.
Without a doubt, Burakov knew that he was looking for a vicious, sexually-motivated serial killer who was attacking victims at a quickening rate, drawing no attention to what he was doing, and leaving no evidence. There were no resources that Burakov was aware of to utilize. Men who killed in this manner were supposedly few and only top-ranking officials knew the details of those investigations.
Burakov, who followed the long route from the conservancy to the place where the body was left, believed the killer had a car. He also felt sure the man did not frighten people when he approached. There was nothing overt in his appearance that would alarm women or children. That would make him harder to find, though he surely had some sort of covert mental disorder that hopefully some people noticed.
They decided to focus fully on investigating known sex offenders in the area, specifically where they were on December 11. Then on released mental patients, and then men who lived or worked around the conservancy who owned or used a car. Also, handwriting experts came in to compare the Black Cat card against samples from the entire population of that town. It was tedious work, with no promise of yielding a single clue. Yet doing nothing was guaranteed to provide no clue, so at least they had a start.
What they did not know, according to Lourie, was that a 15-year-old boy had also been killed in a similar manner near Shakhty, then left to be covered by snow. He would not be found for some time.
For the next four months, nothing turned up of any value, although they realized that snow could easily cover what might have occurred, and then it was discovered that the killer had struck again. In another wooded lesopolosa near Rostov-on-Don, a group of boys found some bones in a gully. Again, they could find no missing-persons report, and an examination of the bones not only linked this crime with the others but revealed that the girl (it seemed) had had Down’s syndrome. That made things a little easier, despite the horror of realizing the killer had lured a mentally retarded child with no possibility of defending herself. They could check the special schools in the area to make an identification.
A 45-year-old woman was also murdered in the woods over the winter, but no one linked her to the lesopolosa series. That would come later.
The girl turned out to have been 13, attending a school for children with her condition. No one had missed her, since she often left, so no one had reported her. But her case took a back seat to the next body, discovered in September in a wooded area near Rostov’s airport, two miles from victim No. 6. However it was an 8-year-old boy. He had been stabbed, like the others, including his eyes, and it turned out that he had been missing since August 9. Like the little girl going to piano lessons, he had ridden on public transportation.
This new development puzzled everyone. With what little was known about killers, the basic analysis was that they always went after the same type of victim. This man had killed grown women and young children, girls and boys. The investigators wondered if they might have more than one killer doing the same kind of perverse ritual. It seemed impossible, but so did the idea that so many victim types could trigger the same type of sexual violence in one person.
Then Burakov learned that the killer had finally been apprehended. It was over. He went to the jail to learn what he could about this man.Confession
The suspect was Yuri Kalenik, 19. He had lived for years in a home for retarded children and had then been trained to lay floors in construction. He remained friends with older boys in his former residence and one day when they were riding on a trolley, the conductor caught them. Grabbing one boy, she wanted to know what he knew about the recent murders and he told her that Yuri had done them. So based on the squirming accusation of a mentally slow boy who was trying to free himself from punishment, the officials believed they had broken the case.
Yuri was arrested and interrogated. He had no right to a lawyer or to remain silent. He barely knew what was happening to him. Nevertheless, he denied everything. He had not killed anyone. Yet the interrogators kept him there for several days, believing (according to Cullen) that a guilty man will inevitably confess. It soon became clear to Yuri that to stop being beaten he would have to tell them what they wanted to hear, so he did. And then some. He confessed to all seven murders, and added four unsolved murders in the area to his list. Now all the police needed was supporting evidence. This young man was quite a catch.
Viktor Burakov accepted the task of further investigation. Yuri seemed a viable suspect, because he had a mental disorder and he rode on public transportation. And why would he confess to such brutal crimes if he did not do them? At the time—and even today—there was little understanding of the psychology of false confessions. Less intelligent people tend to be more susceptible to suggestion, especially when fatigued, and they will tell interrogators whatever pleases them—usually supplying whatever clues they hear from the questions. Sociologist Richard Ofshe recounts case after case of suspects who admitted to things they did not do, despite the harsh consequences, and Wrightsman lists several studies of people exonerated by DNA evidence who had confessed to the crime for which they were imprisoned. Most juries do not believe people will confess falsely and they accept a confession as the best type of evidence against someone.
Even better, when a suspect can lead police to the site of where someone was murdered, that’s considered good confirmation, and Kalenik did just that with several of the incidents. Nevertheless, Burakov was not convinced. He saw that Kalenik did not go straight to a site, even when he was close, but appeared to wander around until he picked up clues from the police about where they expected him to go. Burakov did not consider that to be a good test. Upon examining the written confession, he was even less convinced. It was clear to him that Kalenik had been given most of the information that he was expected to say, and had then felt intimidated.
It was difficult to know just how to proceed, but then another body was found.Operation Lesopolosa
In another wooded area, the mutilated remains of a young woman were found. Her nipples had been removed—possibly with teeth, her abdomen was slashed open, and one eye socket was damaged. She had been there for several months and her clothing was missing. Kalenik could have been responsible for this one, whose identity remained unknown, since he was free at the time, but not the next one, found on October 20.
She had been murdered approximately three days earlier, while Kalenik was in custody. He definitely did not kill her, but her wounds were similar to those of the other victims. Whoever had killed her was growing bolder and more frenzied in his surgical removal of parts. This victim was entirely disemboweled, and the missing organs were nowhere to be found. However, her eyes remained intact. She might not be part of the series, although she did ride the trains. Perhaps the killer had changed his method or had been interrupted.
Four weeks later and not far away from that site, a set of skeletal remains was found in the woods. Her death was estimated to have occurred some time during the summer, and her eyes had been gouged out.
It wasn’t long before the 10th unsolved murder turned up, just after the turn of the year into 1984. This one was a boy, found near the railroad tracks. He was identified as Sergei Markov, a 14-year-old boy missing since December 27. For the first time, thanks to winter’s preservative effects, the detectives, led by Mikhail Fetisov, were able to see just what the killer did to these young people.
He had stabbed the boy in the neck dozens of times—the final count would be 70—and he had then cut into the boy’s genitals and removed everything from the pubic area. In addition, he had violated his victim anally. Then it appeared that he had gone to a spot nearby to have a bowel movement.
Clearly the jailed Kalenik was not responsible and the maniac who was perpetrating these crimes was still very much at large. In their rush to close these cases, the police had made a mistake.
Fetisov decided to retrace the boy’s steps on the day he had disappeared. Beginning in a town called Gukovo, where the boy had lived and from where he had gone that day, he boarded the elechtrichka, or local train. In the same town was a home for the mentally retarded and the teachers there reported that a former student, Mikhail Tyapin, 23, had left around the same time as the boy and had taken the train. He was a very large young man and barely knew how to talk. Once again, the police got a confession.
Tyapin and his friend, Aleksandr Ponomaryev, said they had met Markov, had lured him to the woods, and killed him. They had also left their excrement. Tyapin, in particular, had numerous violent fantasies, and he claimed credit for several other unsolved murders in the area. But he never mentioned the damage done to the eyes. And he and Ponomaryev confessed to two murders that were proven to have been done by someone else.
The police were now thoroughly confused, and Fetisov had some doubts, while Burakov felt certain they had not apprehended the killer they were after. All of the so-called confessions were flawed. He believed that only one person was involved, that this person was a loner and not part of a gang, and that he was clearly demented in some subtly perceivable way.
Then they had their first piece of good evidence. The medical examiner found semen in Markov’s anus. He had been raped and the perpetrator had ejaculated. When they apprehended the killer, they could compare the blood antigens. This would not afford a precise match, but could at least eliminate suspects. In fact, it eliminated all of the young men who had confessed thus far. They all had the wrong type of blood.
But then the lab issued another report, claiming it had mixed up the sample. The type did indeed match that of Mikhail Tyapin. That meant that the odds were good that they had Markov’s killer.
Yet bodies still turned upSome Possible Leads
In 1984, numerous victims were discovered in wooded areas, some of them quite close to where previous bodies had lain before being discovered and removed. The first one found after Typapin’s arrest was a woman who had been slashed up in the same frenzy as previous victims. Yet her eyes were intact and one new item was added: a finger had been removed.
They also had one more piece of evidence: a shoeprint left in the mud, size 13. On the victim’s clothing were traces of semen and blood.
She was soon identified as an 18-year-old girl who had been seen at the bus station with a boy who worked nearby. When questioned, he had an alibi.
The medical examiner’s report returned three significant facts: she’d had pubic lice, her stomach contained undigested food, and there was no semen inside her. The killer apparently had masturbated over her. It was also possible that, given her state of poverty, she had been lured away with the promise of a meal.
The police checked pharmacies for anyone purchasing lice treatments, but they came up empty-handed.
One thing they did discover was that this woman had a friend who had been missing since 1982. Matching dental records to skulls from various remains, they managed to identify their second victim in the series. That linked two of the victims together, one of whom had her eye sockets slashed and the other who did not.
Another suspect was caught and he confessed, but Burakov was looking for a certain personality type, and no one thus far seemed to come close. He spoke out to officials and was rebuked. His opinion also divided the task force into factions, helped along by the fact that the crime lab could not give them a definitive answer as to whether semen samples found on two victims were from the same person. They brought in a forensic scientist from the Moscow lab, who did better. They were type AB, she said, and with that, she eliminated their entire list of suspects. None of the confessions gathered thus far were any good and the killer was still at large.
He struck that March in Novoshakhtinsk, grabbing 10-year-old Dmitri Ptashnikov, who was found three days later, mutilated and stabbed. The tip of his tongue and his penis were missing. The semen on his shirt linked him to the previous two crimes where semen was found. Near this body was a large footprint.
This time, however, there were witnesses. The boy was seen following a tall, hollow-cheeked man with stiff knees and large feet, wearing glasses. Yet no one had recognized him. Someone else had seen a white car.

Lyudmila Alekseyeva (Victim)  Then a 17-year-old, Lyudmila Alekseyeva, was found slashed 39 times with a kitchen knife, and leads went nowhere, wasting time and resources. Soon there was another victim, and then another close by. One was a girl, killed with a hammer, the other a woman stabbed many times with a knife. Mother and daughter, they had died at the same time. By the end of that summer in 1984, authorities counted 24 victims that were probably murdered by the same man. Whenever semen was left behind, it proved to have the same AB antigen. There was also a single gray hair on one victim, which seemed to be from a man, and some scraps of clothing near a boy that failed to match his clothes.Lourie writes that the killer had shifted his pattern somewhat that year. He now removed the upper lip, and sometimes the nose, and left them in the victim’s mouth or ripped-open stomach.
With no witnesses, little physical evidence, and no way to know how this man was leading his victims off alone, the police felt the investigation was out of control. This killer had stepped up his pace from five victims the first year (they believed) to something like one every two weeks. Surely he would eventually make a mistake. They had no way of knowing as yet that they had not found the earliest murders and it would be some time before the killing spree was stopped. This man did not make many mistakes.Suspects
With all the surveillance, it was inevitable that certain suspicious men would be followed and detained, and this procedure produced two suspects, each of which was interesting for different reasons. One appeared to be the man they were after and the other became an informant.
The Minister of the Interior appointed a dozen new detectives to the case, and a task force of some 200 men and women became involved in the investigation. Burakov was appointed to head this team. That got him closer to leads as they came in. It also shouldered him with the heavy responsibility of forming a good plan to stop this killer. People were assigned to work undercover at bus and train stations, and to wander the parks.
According to Cullen, they decided that they were looking for a man between 25 and 30, tall, well built, with type AB blood. He was careful and had at least average intelligence, and was probably verbally persuasive. He traveled and lived with either his mother or a wife. He might be a former psychiatric patient, or a substance abuser, and he might have some knowledge of anatomy and skill with a knife. Anyone who generally matched these characteristics would have to submit to a blood test.
The press was not allowed to carry stories about the links among these crimes, only to ask for witnesses concerning one or another of the murders. No warnings were given to parents to protect their children or to young women out alone.

The Rostov bus station (police file photo)  One undercover officer spotted an older man in the Rostov bus station. He spoke to a female adolescent and when she got on her bus, he circled around and sat next to another young woman. This was suspicious behavior, so Major Zanasovsky thought it was time to question him. The man’s name was Andrei Chikatilo and he was the manager of a machinery supply company. He was there on a business trip, but lived in Shakhty. As to why he was approaching young women, he admitted that he’d once been a teacher and he missed talking to young people. The officer let him go.However, he spotted Chikatilo again and followed him, boarding the same bus he got on in order to watch him. “He seemed very ill at ease,” Zanasovsky’s report states, “and was always twisting his head from one side to another.”
He followed Chikatilo into another bus and saw him accost various women. When Chikatilo solicited a prostitute and received oral sex under his coat, they arrested him for indecent behavior in public and went through his briefcase. Inside were a jar of Vaseline, a long kitchen knife, a piece of rope and a dirty towel—nothing suggestive of business dealings.

Andrei Chikatilo, teacher (school photo)  Zanasovsky believed he had the lesopolosa killer. He urged the procurator to come and interrogate the man. Chikatilo’s blood was drawn and it was type A, not AB. He was also a member of the Communist Party, with good character references. There was nothing in his background to raise suspicion. Nevertheless, they kept him in jail for a couple of days to see if sitting in a cell might pressure him into a confession.He denied everything, although he admitted to “sexual weakness,” and was finally released. He was later arrested again for petty thefts at work and he served three months in prison. Still, he did not have the right blood type, so he was not their killer.
Burakov decided to breach protocol and consult with psychiatric experts in Moscow. He wanted to know what they thought of the idea of a single person killing women and children of both genders. Most were either uninterested or refused to say much, due to insufficient detail. However, one psychiatrist, Alexandr Bukhanovsky, agreed to study the few known details, as well as the crime scene patterns, to come up with a profile. He read everything he could find, specialized in sexual pathologies and schizophrenia, and was willing to take risks. This case, unusual as it was, interested him. He came up with a seven-page report.

Alexandr Bukhanovsky, psychiatric expert (police file photo)   The killer, he said, was a sexual deviate, between 25 and 50 years old, around 5’10” tall. He thought the man suffered from some form of sexual inadequacy and he blinded his victims to prevent them from looking at him. He also brutalized their corpses, partly out of frustration and partly to enhance his arousal. He was a sadist and had difficulty getting relief without cruelty. Often sadists like to inflict superficial wounds, as was evident on many of these victims. He was also compulsive, following the goading of his need, and would be depressed until he could kill. He might even have headaches. He was not retarded or schizophrenic. He could work out a plan and follow it. He was a loner and he was the only offender involved.Burakov got two other opinions, one of which insisted there were two killers, and he felt that no one had given him anything that brought him closer to closing the case. He was still frustrated.
Working with the idea that the killer had a sexual dysfunction, the dogged investigator looked up records of men convicted of homosexual crimes and came across Valery Ivanenko, who had committed several acts of “perversion” and who had claimed he was psychotic. He also had a charismatic personality and once had been a teacher. At age 46, he was tall and wore glasses. He’d been brought to the psychiatric institute in Rostov but had escaped. In short, he sounded too good to be true. He was the perfect suspect.
Staking out the apartment of the man’s invalid mother, Burakov caught and arrested him. But his blood was type A which eliminated him as the killer. In a deal, Burakov enlisted his assistance investigating the gay population in return for his release. Ivanenko proved to be quite good at getting secret information, which in turn led to others providing even more information under pressure. Burakov soon knew quite a bit about Rostov’s underworld, from perversion to violence.
Yet Burakov still felt as if he was just going toward more dead ends. The gay men that he investigated just did not strike him as having the right personality disorder for these crimes. He began to come around to Bukhanovsky’s view that this killer was heterosexual but probably impotent when it came to normal sexual relations. He needed more details.Killer X
Pressure was on to solve the crimes that had happened already, but over the next 10 months only one more body turned up—a young woman—but she was killed near Moscow. The killer may have moved or traveled there, but they just couldn’t tell. They wondered if the killer had left the area or been arrested. Perhaps he had died. Then a body was found in August of 1985. She bore similarities to the others and she lay near an airport.
Burakov went to Moscow to look at the photos of the dead girl. It was so similar to his recent victim in Rostov that he knew the killer had gone to Moscow for some reason. He checked the flight rosters between Moscow and the airport where their victim had been found, and had officers go painstakingly through all the handwritten tickets. But they failed to discover a significant clue right under their noses.
Then detectives in Moscow put together a series of murders of young boys that had begun when the Rostov killings had stopped. All three had been raped and one was decapitated.
But the Rostov crew was quickly drawn back to Shakhty. In a tree grove near the bus depot, a homeless, 18-year-old girl lay dead, her mouth stuffed with leaves. This was the same signature as the girl in Moscow earlier that month. She had a red and a blue thread under her fingernails, and sweat near her wounds that typed AB—different from her own type O blood. Between her fingers was a single strand of gray hair—similar to one of the earlier murders. This was the most evidence left at a crime scene thus far. The detectives believed they would break this case soon.
In fact they did find a good suspect who had also been implicated with a previous victim, and he did confess (after 10 days of intense interrogation), but to Burakov, it did not sound right. Nor could the suspect take them to the correct murder site. Once again, frustratingly so, he was not their man.

Chief Investigator Issa Kostoyev (police file photo)  A special procurator with one serial killer investigation behind him, Chief Investigator Issa Kostoyev, was appointed to look into the lesopolosa murders. By this time, they had 15 procurators and 29 detectives involved. Many of them were watching train and bus stations for suspicious activity. The female officials worked undercover to try to lure men to talk to them. Kostoyev looked over the work done thus far and felt it had not proceeded well. In fact, he believed they’d already come across the man they were after and just hadn’t known it. This did nothing to improve the already-low morale of the investigating team.To try to learn more about the type of killer who would be so raw and brutal, Kostoyev had the classic nineteenth-century work on sexual predators by Richard von Krafft-Ebing translated into Russian. He also discovered a rare edition of Crimes and Criminals in Western Culture, by B. Utevsky, which included a chapter detailing cases of dismemberment and disfiguring of victims. He saw that some killers were driven merely by arrogance and the idea that their victims were objects that belonged to them to do with as they pleased. Kostoyev stored this information away to use when they found more suspects.
In the meantime, Yuri Kalenik was still in prison awaiting the completion of the investigation on him, which was now delayed by investigators looking into other areas. One of these leads produced yet a fifth false confession. Something was clearly wrong with the process, and Kostoyev was furious. He did not believe that Yuri was guilty of anything.
Burakov turned again to Dr. Bukhanovsky, finally allowing him to see all of the crime scene reports so he could write a more detailed profile. This, he thought, might help them to narrow the leads. Bukhanovsky took all of the materials and spent months of his own time writing 65 pages devoted to what made sense to him from his work with gay men, sexual dysfunction, necrophiles and necrosadists. He labeled the unknown suspect “Killer X.”
The details, in brief, were the following: X was not psychotic, because he was in control of what he did and he was clearly self-interested. He was narcissistic and arrogant, considering himself gifted, although he was not unduly intelligent. He had a plan but he was not creative. He was heterosexual, with boys being a “vicarious surrogate.” He was a necrosadist, needing to watch people die in order to achieve sexual gratification.
To render them helpless, he would hit them in the head. Afterward, the multiple stabbing was a way to “enter” them sexually. He either sat astride them or squatted next to them, getting as close as possible. The deepest cuts represented the height of his pleasure, and he might masturbate, either spontaneously or with his hand.
There were many reasons why he might cut out the eyes, and nothing in the crime scenes suggested what actually motivated X. He might be excited by eyes or fear them. He might believe his image was left on them, a superstition held by some. Cutting into the sexual organs was a manifestation of power over women. He might keep the missing organs or he might eat them. Removing the sexual organs from the boys might be a way to neutralize them and make them appear more female.
An interesting twist was the hypothesis that X responded to changes in weather patterns. Before most of the murders, the barometer had dropped. That might be his trigger, especially if it coincided with other stressors at home or work. Most of the killings were also done mid-week, from Tuesday to Thursday.
While he was vague about height and occupation, he now thought X’s age was between 45 and 50, the age at which sexual perversions often are most developed. It was likely that he’d had a difficult childhood. He was conflicted and probably kept to himself. He had a rich fantasy life, but an abnormal response to sexuality. Bukhanovsky could not say whether or not the man was married or had fathered children, but if he was married, his wife let him keep his own hours and did not ask much of him.
His killing was compulsive and might stop temporarily if he sensed he was in danger of discovery, but would not stop altogether until he died or was caught.
Despite the length and detail of this psychological report, Burakov found nothing practical in it to help him find the man.

Police sketch of suspected killer  Then he consulted with someone who was much closer to these types of crimes: Anatoly Slivko, a man convicted of the sexual murder of seven boys, who faced execution. The police wanted this man to explain to them the workings of the mind of a serial killer. Slivko attributed his actions to his inability to engage in normal sexual arousal and satisfaction. Sexual murderers have endless fantasies through which they set up the rules of behavior and feel a demand for action, and the act of planning their crimes has its own satisfaction. He offered nothing practical for the investigation in what he said, but his manner under questioning showed them a compartmentalized mind that could kill boys and still feel morally indignant about using alcohol in front of children. That meant he could live in a way that hid his true propensities. Only hours after the interview, Slivko was executed.The investigators believed that X was very much like Slivko, and that meant he would be next to impossible to catch.
But then, oddly, the killing seemed to stop.Frustrations
Only one dead woman turned up in 1985 in Rostov, and nothing happened that winter or the next spring. Then on July 23, the body of a 33-year-old female turned up, but it bore none of the markings of the serial killer, except that she had been repeatedly stabbed. Burakov had doubts about her being in the series, but not so with the young woman found on August 18. All of the disturbing wounds were present, but she had been mostly buried, save for a hand sticking out of the dirt—a new twist. Now they had to wonder whether there were others not yet found who were also under the earth.
The handwriting experts finally gave up on the Black Cat postcard, and the police could go no farther with the 14 suspects on the list so far, all of whom Burakov believed could be eliminated. He created a comprehensive booklet to give out to other police departments, and a card file was created to keep track of new leads. He and his team were dogged by the fear that this case might never be solved.
At the end of 1986 Viktor Burakov finally had a nervous breakdown. He was weak and exhausted, and could not sleep, so he went to a hospital, where he remained for a month. Then he was sent to rest for another month. Four years of intense work had come to this. But he would not give up.
He had no idea then that he was only halfway there. This devil was not yet finished.
Burakov’s period of rest, however, had given him some perspective. He’d been able to think over their strategies thus far and felt that none was taking them down the correct route. Not only that, all were time- and resource-consuming. He might only catch this killer if he surfaced again—in other words, murdered someone. It was a grim thought, but it could be their only hope
Yet nothing occurred for the rest of that year or throughout all of 1987.
The winter melted into spring before a railroad worker found a woman’s nude body in a weedy area near the tracks on April 6, 1988. Her hands were bound behind her, she had been stabbed multiple times, the tip of her nose was gone, and her skull had been bashed in. Only a large footprint was found nearby. People recalled seeing her but she had been alone. There was no sign of sexual assault and her eyes had not been touched. Nor had she been killed in the woods.
The investigators pondered whether they should include this murder in the series. Perhaps the lesopolosa killer was no longer in business. Yet only a month later, on May 17, the body of a 9-year-old boy was discovered in the woods not far from a train station. He’d been sodomized and then his orifices were stuffed with dirt. He also bore numerous knife wounds and a blow to the skull, and his penis had been removed.
Unlike the murdered female, the boy was quickly identified as Aleksei Voronko, missing for two days. A classmate had seen him with a middle-aged man with gold teeth, a mustache and a sports bag. They had gone together to the woods and Aleksei had said he would soon return but did not.
This was a strong lead, one that could be followed up among area dentists. Few adults in the region could afford gold crowns for their teeth.
Yet by the end of that year, they had turned up nothing. Not only that, they learned from the Ministry of Health that it had been a mistake to assume that typing blood in secretions was an accurate match to blood types (or, alternatively, to assume that the labs were providing accurate results). There were rare “paradoxical” cases in which they did not match. In other words, any of the suspects eliminated based on blood type could have been their killer. While this was frustrating news and made the investigation more difficult in many ways, it also opened a few doors from the past. However, it meant taking semen samples (which had to be voluntary), not blood types, and it also meant redoing four years worth of work to that point. The idea was overwhelming.
The only method of investigation that seemed viable now was to post more men to watch the public transportation stations.
Still, the killer did not strike. It was April 1989 before they came across another victim who could be added to the lesopolosa series.The Count Rises
This discovery, in the woods near a train station, was that of a 16-year-old boy reported missing since the summer before. His killer had stabbed him repeatedly and had removed his testicles and penis. He was badly decomposed and had lain under the snow for months. A watch, inscribed from his aunt and uncle, was missing. It would help immensely if it was found in someone’s possession.
None of the investigators assigned to ride the trains and watch people in the stations in that area had reported anything suspicious. No older men with boys or women. However, a ticket clerk reported that she had seen a man that summer on the platform. He had tried to convince her son to go into the words with him. The police did locate him, but quickly eliminated him as the killer they were seeking.
However, Yuri Kalenik had been released from prison after serving five years and he now lived near the area where the body was found. Perhaps they had been hasty in releasing him. When questioned, he insisted he knew nothing, so they let him go.
Then on May 11, an 8-year-old boy disappeared. He was found two months later by the side of a road, stabbed and genitally mutilated. This change in the killer’s habits, from the woods to out in the open, alerted the officials to the possibility that he might have noticed all the surveillance at the train stations and changed his manner of procuring victims.

Elena Varga, victim That was disturbing. Yet killing someone so near a road was also careless. That could be a hopeful sign. Even the most organized killer can disintegrate as need replaces caution.Then he killed a   Hungarian student, Elena Varga, in August, in a wooded area that was far from any train or bus station. Her body had been violated like all the other female victims in the lesopolosa series.

Aleksei Khobotov, victim
In just over a week, the fourth victim, a 10-year-old boy, Aleksei Khobotov, went missing, and four months later, early in 1990, the sexually mutilated body of an 11-year-old boy turned up in a lesopolosa. Then another 10-year-old boy was killed, his sexual organs cut off, and his tongue missing. It appeared to have been bitten off.

Victor Petrov, victim Once more, the killer shifted his pattern and went for a female victim, and at the end of July in 1990, workmen found a 13-year-old boy, Victor Petrov, killed and mutilated in the Botanical Gardens.They now had what they believed were 32 victims over the past eight years and the newspapers, now free to report this news after the loosening of government control, were putting pressure on the investigators. Those in the top positions threatened those on lower rungs with being fired. This killer had to be stopped. People were getting desperate.
Then on August 17 Ivan Fomin, 11, went swimming not far from his grandmother’s cottage. In the tall reeds not far from numerous potential witnesses who should have heard if not seen him, the serial killer had stabbed him 42 times and castrated him. This was outrageous and the public was getting angry.
Burakov decided on a new plan. He would select the most likely stations and then make surveillance obvious in the others, so that only those with plainclothes officers would seem safe to the killer. In other words, they would try to force him into action in a particular place, and in those places, they would record the names of every man who came and went. They would also place people in the forests nearby, dressed as farmers. It was a major task, with over 350 people who had to be in place and do their jobs for who-knows-how-long, but it seemed viable.
It seemed that the train station in Donleskhoz station might be a good place to set up a post, for example, since two of the victims had been found near there. Mushroom pickers generally used it during the summer, but not many other people. Two other stations were selected as well.
But even before the plan was enacted, the killer chose a victim from the Donleskhoz station. He killed a 16-year-old retarded boy, stabbing him 27 times and mutilating him before discarding his clothes. Part of his tongue was missing, as were his testicles, and one eye had been stabbed. When his identity was established, officers learned that he spent most of his time on the electrichka, the slow-moving train, but no one had seen him exit with anyone.
Burokov was in despair. They had a good plan and had it been in place, they might have caught the guy.

Victor Tishcenko, victim
Then another 16-year-old boy, Victor Tishchenko, was reported missing who had gone to the Shakhty railroad station to pick up tickets. Cullen writes that the handsome, athletic Tishcenko was larger than any other male victim thus far, weighing around 130 pounds. They found his body two miles south, in the woods and in the usual condition. It was where the mother and daughter had been found six years earlier. In the grove, there was evidence of a prolonged struggle.Burakov got moving. The snare was set, with everyone in place, but the killer killed again, undetected. This time, his victim was a young woman. She was number 36, and she had been beaten and sliced open, and part of her tongue cut off. But no one had seen a thing.
Yet there were reports of men who had been at the train station nearby. One name stood out. In fact, they were chilled by it. They had seen this one before. To that point, according to Moira Martingale in Cannibal Killers, over half a million people had been investigated, but this one had been interrogated before and only released because his blood type had not matched the semen samples.Endgame

Andrei Chikatilo mugshot
Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo, 54, had been at the Donleskhoz train station on November 6. He had been questioned and cleared in 1984. He had now been placed at the scene of a victim’s disappearance. He was seen coming out of the woods and had washed his hands at a pump. He also had a red smear on his cheek and ear, a cut finger, and twigs on the back of his coat. The officer at the station had taken down his name.Burakov had the man placed under surveillance. They soon learned that he had resigned from his post as a teacher due to reports that he had molested students. He had then worked for another enterprise, but was fired when he failed to return from business trips with the supplies he was sent to get. So what had he been doing with his time? During the time he had spent in jail in 1984, there had been no murders, and his travel records coincided with other murders—including the one in Moscow. He once had been a member in good standing with the Communist Party, but had been expelled due to his incarceration.
But all the evidence was circumstantial. Investigators would need to catch him in the act or get him to confess. Keeping him under surveillance, they saw an ordinary man doing nothing unusual. It was frustrating. Kostoyev, who had finally read the earlier report on this man, ordered his arrest.
On November 20, 1990, three officers dressed in street clothes brought Chikatilo in for interrogation, and they noticed that he did not have a mouth full of gold teeth as one witness had indicated. They learned that he was married and had two children, and that he was something of an intellectual with a university degree. In his satchel they found a folding pocketknife.

Knives found in Chikatilo’s possession, trial evidence   They placed Chikatilo in a cell with a gifted informant, who was expected to get him to admit to what he had done, but failed. A search of Chikatilo’s home, which shamed his family, produced no evidence from victims, but did yield 23 knives. Two writers have claimed these weapons were used for the murders, but that was not proven.The next day, Kostoyev decided to handle the interrogation, and he did so in the presence of Chikatilo’s court-appointed lawyer. Richard Lourie based much of his book, Hunting the Devil, on the time that Kostoyev spent with Chikatilo. Contrary to other versions of this narrative that show him to be an angry and impatient interrogator, Lourie says that Kostoyev had decided to use compassion to get the suspect to talk.
He wanted the room to be spare, with only a safe inside that would hint to the prisoner of evidence against him. There was also a desk, a table, and two chairs. When Chikatilo was brought in, Kostoyev could see that he was a tall, older man with a long neck, sloping shoulders, oversized glasses, and gray hair. He used a shuffling gait, like a weary elderly person, but Kostoyev was not fooled. He believed Chikatilo was a calculating killer with plenty of energy when he needed it. Chikatilo looked easy to break, and Kostoyev had only failed to obtain a confession in three out of hundreds of interrogations. He would get inside the suspect’s head, figure out his logic, and get him to talk. All guilty men eventually confessed. They had to. Besides, he had 10 days in which to succeed, and he had bait.
Chikatilo began with a statement that the police had made a mistake, just as they had in 1984 when he’d first been investigated. He denied that he had been at a train station on November 6 and did not know why it had been reported. Kostoyev knew he was lying, and he let Chikatilo know that. The next day, Chikatilo waived his right to legal counsel.
Then Chikatilo wrote a three-page document to which he confessed to “sexual weakness”—the words he had used before—and to years of humiliation. He hinted at “perverse sexual activity” but did not name it, and said that he was out of control. He admitted to nothing specific. But he wrote another, longer essay in which he said that he did move around in the train stations and saw how young people there were the victims of homeless beggars. He also admitted that he was impotent. It appeared to be an indirect confession, feeling guilt but fending it off by fingering other suspects and also hinting at how it was best that some of these beggars had died rather than reproduce. Nevertheless, he mentioned that he had thought of suicide.

Andrei Chikatilo (police file photo)  Kostoyev told him that his only hope would be to confess everything in a way that would show he had mental problems, so that an examination could affirm that he was legally insane and he could be treated. Otherwise the evidence they had would surely convict him without a confession and he would have no hope to save himself. That was Kostoyev’s bait, and he felt sure it would be effective.Chikatilo asked for a few days to collect himself and said he would then submit to an interrogation. Everyone expected that he would confess, but when the day arrived, he insisted he was guilty of no crimes. For each crucial time period involving a murder, he claimed that he had been at home with his wife. Clearly he had used the extra two days alone in his cell to become more resolved.
The next day, he revised his statements somewhat. In fact, he had been involved in some criminal activity—but not the murders. In 1977, he had fondled some female students who had aroused him. He had difficulty controlling himself around children, but there were only two instances in which he had lost control.
He wrote again, but again revealed nothing, and nine days elapsed with Kostoyev getting no closer to his goal. He did not know what approach to take to pressure this man to finally open up.
A medical examination indicated that Chikatilo’s blood type was A, but his semen supposedly had a weak B antibody, making it appear that his blood type was AB, though it wasn’t. He was the “paradoxical” rare case—if such an analysis could be believed.
The informant in Chikatilo’s cell, writes Cullen, eventually told Burakov that the interrogation techniques were not according to protocol and that they were rough and made Chikatilo defensive. It was unlikely they were going to work. Kostoyev brought in photographers to humiliate Chikatilo and pressure him to believe that they had witnesses to whom they were going to show these photographs. Still, he did not give any ground.
Nine days had elapsed. They were allowed only 10 before having to charge him with a specific crime, and thus far, they did not have enough proof of even one. It was looking very much like they might have to let him go. And that could be disastrous. Burakov, says Cullen, thought they should try another interrogator, and his candidate was Dr. Bukhanovsky. Cullen also says that Kostoyev initially resisted this idea, but finally had to admit he was getting nowhere. He agreed to let the psychiatrist see what he could do. Lourie, presenting things from Kostoyev’s side, says that using the psychiatrist was one of Kostoyev’s clever ploys. Lourie does not mention Burakov’s role in the decision.
Whoever thought of it, this was clearly a wise move.The Psychiatrist and the Murderer
Bukhanovsky agreed to question Chikatilo, but out of professional interest, not for the court. Burakov agreed to these conditions. Bukhanovsky was soon in a closed room alone with the best suspect in the lesopolosa murders.

Andrei Chikatilo mugshot  The psychiatrist saw right away, writes Cullen, that this was the type of man that he had described in his 1987 profile. So many of the indicators were there—ordinary, solitary, non-threatening. He introduced himself with a show of humility and then showed Chikatilo the profile. He sensed that this man wanted to talk about his rage and his humiliation, so it was best to show sympathy and listen. He spent two hours doing that, and then began to discuss the crimes.In the film, Citizen X, Bukhanovsky is shown asking Chikatilo to help him on some aspects of the profile that he was not quite certain about. He reads the relevant pages to him, and one sees Chikatilo listening intently, as if alert to the only person who seems ever to have understood him. Bukhanovsky’s description goes into the nature of Chikatilo’s mental illness and some reasons for it. As Chikatilo hears his secret life described so clearly, he begins to tremble. Finally he affirms what the psychiatrist is saying, breaks down and admits that it’s all true. He has done those horrible things.
Bukhanovsky talked with him for hours and then went out and told police interrogators that the suspect was now ready to confess.
Kostoyev prepared a formal statement accusing Chikatilo of 36 murders. He was off by a long shot, but no one yet knew that.

Yelena Zakotnova, victim Chikatilo read the statement of charges and admitted that he was guilty of the crimes listed. He wanted now to tell the truth about his life and what had led him into these crimes. Among his admissions was his first murder, which had occurred not when the police had first begun to keep track with Lyubov Biryuk but years early in 1978. He had killed a little girl, Yelena Zakotnova, age 9.

The Secret House crime scene This was alarming, since a man had already been arrested, tried and executed for that murder. But Chikatilo said that he had moved to Shakhty that year to teach. Before his family arrived, his free time was spent watching children and feeling a strong desire to see them without their clothes on. To maintain his privacy, he purchased a hut on a dark, dirty street. When he went to it one day, he came upon the girl, was seized with urgent sexual desire, and took her to the hut to attack her.When he could not achieve an erection, he had moved in imitation of the sexual act and used his knife as a substitute. During his frenzy of strangulation and stabbing, he blindfolded her. Once she was dead, he tossed her body into a nearby river. Lourie devotes a chapter to the fact that he was a suspect, seen by a witness, and that blood was found on his doorstep, but the other man had confessed under torture, so Chikatilo was free. Chikatilo was shocked to nearly have been caught.
Kostoyev asked him to explain the blindfold, and just as they had suspected, Chikatilo admitted that he had heard that the image of a killer remains in the eyes of a victim. It was a superstition, but he had believed it. That was why he had wounded so many others in the eyes. Then he had decided it was not true, so he stopped doing that (explaining the change in pattern).   Later he admitted that he just had not liked his victims looking at him as he attacked them.
Lourie describes how Chikatilo hated to see how vagrants at train stations went off into the woods for sexual encounters that he could never emulate. His fantasies became more violent. In 1981, he repeated his manner of attack on a vagrant girl looking for money, but he also used his teeth on her to bite off a nipple and swallow it. “At the moment of cutting her and seeing the body cut open,” he said, “I involuntarily ejaculated.” He covered her with newspaper and took her sexual organs away with him, only to cast them aside in the woods.

Chikatilo re-enacts crime, evidence
He remembered the details of each of the 36 lesopolosa murders and went through them, one by one. Sometimes he acted as a predator, learning someone’s routes and habits and finding a way to get that person alone. Others were victims of opportunity who happened along at the wrong time. The stabbing almost always was a substitute for sexual intercourse that could not be performed. He had learned how to squat beside them in such a way as to avoid getting their blood on his clothing (which he demonstrated with a mannequin). At any rate, he worked in a shipping firm, so there was always an excuse for a scrape or cut. It seemed that his impotence generally triggered the rage, especially if the women made demands or ridiculed him. He soon understood that he could not get aroused without violence. “I had to see blood and wound the victims.”With the boys, it was different, although they bled just as easily as women and that’s what he needed most. Chikatilo would fantasize that these boys were his captives and that he was a hero for torturing and doing them in. He could not give a reason for cutting off their tongues and penises, although at one point he said he was taking revenge against life on the genitals of his victims. Lourie says, based on the psychiatric reports, that Chikatilo would place his semen inside a uterus that he had just removed and as he walked along, he would chew on it—”the truffle of sexual murder.” He never admitted to actually consuming these organs, but searches never turned up any discarded remains.
“But the whole thing,” Chikatilo said, “—the cries, the blood, the agony—gave me relaxation and a certain pleasure.” He liked the taste of their blood and would even tear at their mouths with his teeth. He said it gave him an “animal satisfaction” to chew or swallow nipples or testicles.
To corroborate what he was saying, he drew sketches of the crime scenes, and what he said fit the known facts. Then he confirmed what everyone had feared—he added more victims to the list. Many more.
One boy he had killed in a cemetery and placed in a shallow grave—a hole, he said, that he had dug for himself when he had contemplated suicide. He took the interrogators there and they recovered the body. Another was killed in a field, and she was located. On and on it went, murders here and there, and the bodies were always left right where they were killed, except for one. Chikatilo described a murder in an empty apartment and to get the body out, he had to dismember it and dump the parts down a sewer. The police had wondered whether this one was part of the series and had decided that there were too many dissimilarities to include it.

Andrei Chikatilo mugshot, profile
In the end, he confessed to 56 murders (Lourie counts it as 55), although there was corroboration for only 53: 31 females and 22 males. Burakov, says Cullen, believed that there might actually be more.They now had sufficient evidence to take this man to court. In the meantime, they discovered more about him.The Roots of Perversity
He was born in 1936 into a small Ukrainian village and his head was misshapen from water on the brain. He had a sister seven years younger. His father was a POW in WWII and then was sent to a prison camp in Russia, so his mother raised him mostly on her own.
In the HBO documentary, “Cannibal” and in Moira Martingale’s book Cannibal Killers, some of Chikatilo’s background is described in a chilling context as a way to try to understand what drove him into such a bestial frenzy. In fact, Martingale sees a direct connection between those times and Chikatilo’s sexual fantasies. He was like a werewolf, changing into a ravaging animal when triggered in just the right way. Much of this information came from the confession, the assessments done later, and from investigative research.
During the early part of the twentieth century, the former Soviet Union was often subjected to famines, especially in the Ukraine after Stalin crushed out private agriculture and sent many citizens to the Siberian Gulag. Some six million people died of starvation, according to Cullen, and desperate people might remove meat from corpses to survive. Sometimes they went to a cemetery, where corpses were stacked, and sometimes (legend has it) they grabbed someone on the street. Human flesh was bought and sold, or just hoarded.
Children saw disfigured corpses and heard terrible tales of hardship. Chikatilo had grown up during several of these famines and one story that his mother told was how he once had had an older brother, Stepan, who had been killed. In a prison interview, he said, “Many people went crazy, attacked people, ate people. So they caught my brother, who was 10, and ate him.” He might simply have died and been consumed, if he even existed (which could not be corroborated in any records), but Chikatilo’s mother would warn him to stay in the yard or he might get eaten as well. It was a scary idea, but titillating.
He also saw the results of Nazi occupation and of German bombing, with bodies blown up in the streets. He said that they frightened and excited him.
Most of his childhood was spent alone, living in his fantasies. Other children mocked him for his awkwardness and sensitivity. He began to develop anger at this age, even rage. To entertain and empower himself, he devised images of torture, and these remained a fixed part of his killings later in life.
He had his first sexual experience as an adolescent when he struggled with a 10-year-old friend of his sister’s and ejaculated. That impressed itself on him, especially as he went along in life unable to get an erection but able to ejaculate. The struggle became as fixed in his mind as the images of torture.
He went into the army but when he came home and tried to have a girlfriend, he found he was still unable to perform the sexual act. The girl spread this around, humiliating him, and he dreamed about catching her and tearing her to pieces. His life, as far as he could see, was now a disaster.
He became a schoolteacher and did get married (which was arranged by his sister), but could only conceive children, according to the HBO documentary, by ejaculating outside his wife and pushing his semen inside by hand. Much like his mother, his wife was critical, which only made Chikatilo withdraw even further into his fantasy world. His mother died in 1973 when he was 37, and it wasn’t long before he found himself attracted to young girls and began to molest them. It made him feel powerful, and when incidents were reported, they were met with cover-up and denial instead of prosecution, allowing a pervert to become a killer.
For true satisfaction, he needed to get violent, and by 1978, he killed his first victim. Since he was on the road quite often as a parts supply liaison, it became easy to find vulnerable strangers, dominate them and murder them. He didn’t have to go looking for them, he said. They were always right there and they were usually willing to follow him. He had read the newspaper reports about the murders when the press was allowed to print them and had known it was only a matter of time before it would all end. Being arrested, he admitted, was a relief.
Chikatilo believed he suffered from an illness that provoked his uncontrollable transgressions. He wanted to see some specialists in sexual deviance, and said that he would answer all questions. (Lourie says this was part of Kostoyev’s plan.)
He was sent to Moscow’s Serbsky Institute for two months for psychiatric and neurological assessment, and it was determined that he had brain damage from birth. It had affected his ability to control his bladder and his seminal emissions. His mother criticized him for it repeatedly, and was often cruel. He had deviant fantasies. However, after all the reports, he was found to be sane. He knew what he was doing and he could have controlled it. That was good enough for the prosecutor.The Beast in the Cage
They brought him into the Rostov courtroom on April 14, 1992, and put him into a large iron cage painted off-white, where he could either stand or sit. The judge sat on a dais and two citizens on either side acted as jurors. There were 225 volumes of information collected about him and against him.

Chikatilo in court, caged, police file
The press wrote about “the Maniac” and spread the word about his upcoming trial, so the courtroom, which seated 250, was filled with the family of many of his alleged victims. When he entered, they began to scream at him. Bald and without his glasses, he looked slightly crazy, especially when he drooled and rolled his eyes later in the trial.Throughout, Chikatilo appeared to be bored, except when he’d show a flash of anger and yell back at the crowd. On two separate occasions, he opened his trousers and pulled them down to expose his penis, insisting he was not a homosexual. They removed him from the courtroom.
That he would be found guilty of murder was a foregone conclusion, but there was a chance that his psychological problems could save him from execution. However, his lawyer, Marat Khabibulin, did not have the right to call psychiatric experts, only to cross-examine those that the prosecution brought in, and since he had not been appointed until after Chikatilo had fully confessed, he was at a real disadvantage.
Although the prosecutors were Anatoly Zadorozhny and N. F. Gerasimenko, Judge Leonid Akubzhanov became Chikatilo’s chief enemy, asking sharp questions of the witnesses and throwing demeaning comments at the prisoner, who often did not respond. After several months, however, Chikatilo challenged the judge, claiming that he was the one in charge. “This is my funeral,” the defendant said.
At one time, he spontaneously denied doing six of the murders and at another, he added four new ones. He claimed to be a victim of the former Soviet system and called himself a “mad beast.” According to Krivich and Ol’gin, he also claimed that there should be 70 “incidents” attributed to him, not 53. At one point, they write, when he was asked whether he had kept track as he killed his victims, Chikatilo said, “I considered them to be enemy aircraft I had shot down.”
No one adequately addressed the fact that there was a discrepancy between the blood type in the semen samples and Chikatilo’s blood type. The forensic analyst explained her discovery of the rare phenomenon of a man having one blood type but secreting another, but this hypothesis was later ridiculed around the world. Yet with no forensic experts hired for the defense, there was little the defense attorney could do. The judge, with his clear bias against the defendant, accepted the unusual analysis.
The court accepted the psychiatric diagnosis of sanity. One psychiatrist examined him yet again and said that he was still of the same opinion. It was Chikatilo’s predatory behavior and ability to shift to safer locales that showed his degree of control, as well as the fact that he had stopped for over a year at one point (a year in which he said he had celebrated his 50th birthday and was in a good mood).
The trial went into August. The defense summed up its side by saying that the evidence and psychiatric analyses were flawed and the confessions had been coerced. He asked for a verdict of not guilty.
The next day, Chikatilo broke into song from his cage and then talked a string of nonsense, with accusations that he was being “radiated.” He was taken out before the prosecutor began his final argument. He reiterated what sadism meant, repeated each of the crimes, and asked for the death penalty.
Chikatilo was brought in and given a final opportunity to speak for himself. He remained mute.
The judge took two months to reach a verdict, and on October 14, six months after the trial begun, he pronounced Andrei Chikatilo guilty of five counts of molestation and 52 counts of murder. Then Chikatilo cried out incoherently, shouting “Swindlers,” spitting, throwing his bench, and demanding to see the corpses. The judge sentenced him to be executed. The people shouted for Chikatilo to be turned over to them to be torn to pieces as he had done to their loved ones. But instead he was taken back to his cell to await the results of an appeal. His lawyer claimed through official channels that the psychiatric assessment had not been objective and he wanted further analysis.
A rumor circulated that the Japanese wanted to pay $1 million for the Maniac’s brain, Lourie writes, but there was no substance to it. Yet many professionals did believe that his behavior was so aberrant that he should be studied alive.
This man with a university degree in Russian literature, a wife and children, and no apparent background of child abuse, clearly had a savage heart. As he said of himself, he was apparently “a mistake of nature.” It’s unfortunate that a better biopsychological analysis was never performed.
On February 15, 1994, when his appeal was turned down, he was taken to a special soundproof room and shot behind the right ear, ending his life.Legacies
Chikatilo has become one of the world’s most renowned serial killers, cited in books and articles such as Dr. Louis Schlesinger’s Serial Offenders, as a man with truly perverse tastes and killing habits. Thanks to him, Russian specialists can now engage in better study of serial killers and consult with professionals like the FBI in other countries. The same can be said for Bukhanovsky.
Newsweek published a story in 1999 about the area around Rostov-on-Don to the effect that it was now a hotbed of serial crimes. “Twenty-nine multiple murderers and rapists have been caught in the area over the past ten years,” writes Owen Matthews. He claims that such a statistic makes Rostov the serial killer capital of the world. Not only that, but Dr. Bukhanovsky has become such an expert via his private clinic for sexual disorders that he claims he can now cure violent psychopaths. To prove it, he worked with an active killer still at large—a controversial decision. He feels that he cannot break a confidence and that his study will help science determine the roots of aggression. A child rapist who was caught said that Bukhanovsky had a way of getting people to tell him things they would ordinarily keep secret. That appears to have been his talent with Chikatilo.


executions on 2000s

With the turn of the tide to the 2010s, we bid farewell to a decade that never did get a consensus moniker.

Like every decade known to the historian’s annals, however, the Aughties found plenty of work for the world’s hangmen.

As we prepare to flip over the calendar, Executed Today remembers ten executions that most palpably captured the decade’s Zeitgeist.

10. Dhananjoy Chatterjee, 2004

Although the world’s second-most populous country retains the death penalty and has dozens of death row denizens, an entire generation of Indians has come of age having never known an actual execution … never, except for the 2004 hanging of Dhananjoy Chatterjee. That made this otherwise ordinary criminal a worldwide controversy, and his archaic colonial-era hangman a temporary celebrity.

9. Aileen Wuornos, 2002

Two years after the magnetic prostitute/serial killer was given a lethal injection in Florida, Charlize Theron won an Oscar for portraying her in Monster.

8. Wang Binyu, 2005

This migrant laborer was just grist for the mill of China’s helter-skelter industrialization in the neoliberal economic machine … until, in a fury over wages stolen by his employer, he slew a foreman. Chinese media that picked up his story inadvertently made him an emblematic figure for the untold millions of his countrymen and -women who could sympathize with his sentiment: “I want to die. When I am dead, nobody can exploit me anymore. Right?” Internet buzz about Wang had to be forcibly squelched.

7. Timothy McVeigh, 2001

The Gulf War veteran was the face of terrorism in the U.S. from the time of his arrest for the 1995 bombing of Oklahoma City’s Murrah Federal Building, until three months after his June 11, 2001, execution.

6. Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni, 2005

Heart-rending photos of these teenagers hanging in Iran were a worldwide Internet sensation and made them an instant symbol of Iranian anti-gay persecution.

5. Mamoru Takuma, 2004

“I want others to know the unreasonableness that high-achieving children could be killed at any time,” said the author of perhaps the most infamous crime spree in modern Japanese history. The usually glacial Japanese capital system got the former janitor into a noose barely three years after he’d knifed eight children to death in the “Osaka school massacre”.

4. Cameron Todd Willingham, 2004

Something tells us that the ornery Texan — he took his leave of the world throwing an obscene gesture at his former wife from his execution gurney — would have been but pleasantly surprised to discover himself a major posthumous headache for Gov. Rick Perry (who signed his death warrant) and like-minded partisans of pseudoscience arson convictions. The sad part is that the evidence of Willingham’s potential innocence in the recent bombshell New Yorker article was basically all available at the time of his execution.

Rediscovery (with touching, or feigned, naivete) of the timeless problematic of executing innocents has characterized the 2000s not only in the U.S. but around the world.

3. The Bali Bombers, 2008

These grinning Islamic militants orchestrated the 2002 coordinated triple bombing on the Indonesian resort island of Bali that killed 202, most of them western tourists. (88 were Australians, the predominant nationality affected, as against only 38 Indonesians.) Then they spent six years gleefully milking their notoriety.

2. Zheng Xiaoyu, 2007

Zheng Xiaoyu hears his death sentence.

While proletarians like Wang Binyu died for pennies and many like Fu Xinrong died for their organs, the more privileged in China’s gangster capitalism played for higher stakes. For a decade the state’s Food and Drugs Minister, Zheng Xiaoyu took payola to rubber-stamp products that turned out to be dangerous to man and beast. His high-profile execution was Beijing’s response to a wave of concern about the safety of Chinese exports abroad … and a pledge, one year in advance of the 2008 Olympics, of China’s readiness for the world stage.

Zheng aside, elites behaving as gangsters (and vice versa) have been a recurring phenomenon on China’s execution grounds of late.

1. Saddam Hussein, 2006

Undoubtedly the decade’s signature execution, the 2006 hanging by America’s Iraqi puppet government of America’s longtime foreign policy bete noir was purchased for trillions that would have been better spent just buying the guy off … especially since cell phone video soon to circle the globe revealed the old rattlesnake taking command of a distinctly undignified scene.


Honorable Mentions

Some other notable executions to remember the 2000s by:

  • Creepy Malaysian pop singer Mona Fandey
  • Anti-abortion terrorist/martyr Paul Hill
  • Dmitry Chikunov, whose secret execution launched his mother on the crusade that would abolish Uzbekistan’s death penalty
  • Draconian anti-drug laws ensnaring foreign drug mules, like Australian national Nguyen Van Van and Nigerian footballer Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi in Singapore, and mentally ill Briton Akmal Shaikh in China
  • Vietnamese crime lord Nam Cam
  • Han Bok-nam, whose public shooting in North Korea was filmed and smuggled out of the country
  • The filmed stoning of Du’a Khalil Aswad in Iraq
  • Many people, such as Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni, taken hostage in Iraq and demonstratively “executed”

Also On This Date

  • 1903: William Ennis, wife-murdering cop
  • 1974: Charles Dean and Neal Sharman

No related posts found.

Entry Filed under: Essays

Tags: 2000s, aileen wuornos, ayaz marhoni, bali bombers, bali bombings, cameron todd willingham, cameron willingham, dhananjoy chatterjee, dmitry chikunov, du’a khalil aswad, han bok-nam, iwuchukwu amara tochi, mahmoud asgari, mamoru takuma, mona fandey, nam cam, nguyen van van, osaka school massacre, paul hill, saddam hussein, timothy mcveigh, wang binyu, zheng xiaoyu

2004: Dhananjoy Chatterjee, the last hanged in India … for now

3 comments August 14th, 2009 Headsman

On this date in 2004,Dhananjoy Chatterjee hanged at Calcutta’s Alipore Central Jail for the 1990 rape-murder of 14-year-old Hetal Parekh.

Chatterjee’s hanging also brought into the limelight the garrulous, publicity-hounding 84-year-old executioner Nata Mallick, who conducted the hanging with his son and grandson and told anyone with a microphone stories of the hangman’s glory days.

Those days are long past on the subcontinent.

Among death penalty countries, India is the anti-Singapore: despite its billion-plus population, death sentences are vanishingly rare. Chatterjee is not only the most recent person hanged in India as of this writing, but the only one hanged there since 1995.

One actual hanging in fourteen years for a billion-person country? The only lower execution rate would be actual abolition.

Chatterjee may be relieved of his milestone distinctions in the not-too-distant future, however. (Where “not-too-distant” by the standards of the Indian death penalty might still mean years away.)

Mohammad Afzal, condemned for the 2001 terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament, has become a political lightning rod; India’s conservative Hindu party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has made political hay pushing for Afzal’s execution.


The Real Vampire of Sacramento

The Real Vampire of Sacramento:
RICHARD TRENTON CHASE VICTIM MAY HAVE PAINTED HIS FACE IN HER OWN BLOOD!
BY LISA LEE HARP WAUGH
WARNING:
DISTURBING GRAPHIC IMAGES OF NUDITY AND DEATH BELOW NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH.
FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY!
DOES THIS ACTUAL CRIME SCENE PHOTO OF THE POOR VICTIM OF THE SACREMENTO VAMPIRE KILLER SHOW THE GHOSTLY FACE OF RICHARD TRENTON CHASE?
In January of 2009 I was reading about Richard Trenton Chase the Dracula killer or Vampire Killer of Sacramento, as he was known. In seeing the photo below in it’s normal state I was very surprised to see Chase’s face staring right up at me from the actual crime scene photO. It actually disturbed me to see how clear and how close the likeness was in the blood that pooled around the body.
I really do not know if I am the first to see his image of the dead serial killers looking up at me from this gruesome image . Or if it is just a personal case of Pareidolia. Many who will see this might just think it’s an over active imagination.
Pareidolia (pronounced /pærɪˈdoʊliə/) is a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant. Common examples include seeing images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon, and hearing hidden messages on records played in reverse. The word comes from the Greek para- (“beside”, “with”, or “alongside”—meaning, in this context, something faulty or wrong (as in paraphasia, disordered speech)) and eidolon (“image”; the diminutive of eidos (“image”, “form”, “shape”)). Pareidolia is a type of apophenia.
Carl Sagan hypothesized that as a survival technique, human beings are “hard-wired” from birth to identify the human face. This allows people to use only minimal details to recognize faces from a distance and in poor visibility but can also lead them to interpret random images or patterns of light and shade as being faces.
A 2009 magnetoencephalography study found that objects incidentally perceived as faces evoke an early (165 ms) activation in the ventral fusiform cortex, at a time and location similar to that evoked by faces, whereas other common objects do not evoke such activation. This activation is similar to a slightly earlier peak at 130 ms seen for images of real faces. The authors suggest that face perception evoked by face-like objects is a relatively early process, and not a late cognitive reinterpretation phenomenon.
But as you look at the image below and those of Chase the resemblance is striking. I have also taken it upon myself to look at other photos of crime scenes to see what I actually see in those images.
The Richard Trenton Chase’s Blood Stain Face
The “Vampire Killer of Sacramento” after a four day blood binge in January, 1978, in which he claimed six lives. Previously he had tried to inject rabbit’s blood into his veins. When he was institutionalized he exhibited such strange behavior that the hospital staff nicknamed him “Dracula”. He complained that someone had stolen his pulmonary artery and that his head kept changing shape. By 1977 it seemed that his delirium had been brought to check by his medication and was released from the hospital to make room for more seriously ill patients. Apparently Rich decided to stop taking his medication. He started thinking again that his blood was turning into powder and a Nazi crime syndicate that had been haunting him since high school was paying his mother money to poison him. So he did what any other red-blooded American would do under such duress. He became a vampire.
A typically “disorganized” killer, Chase picked his victims randomly and left as much evidence as he could around his home and the crime scenes. He drained his victim’s blood, blended it with body organs and drank it. It was the only way to stop his own blood from turning into powder, or so did the voices in his head said. He also took some body parts home to munch on later.
Chase was arrested a few days after his 4-day bloody swansong through Sacramento. Authorities brought in FBI superstar and acclaimed author Robert Ressler to help find the killer. After his arrest Richie raved about UFO’s and other imagined stalkers after him. He died of an overdose of antidepressants in his cell in Vacaville just after Christmas in 1980. TO READ MORE ON RICHARD TRENTON CHASE PLEASE VISIT HERE NOW.
Richard Trenton Chase Crime Scene Actual Photo from the book THE DRACULA KILLER: An account of the killing spree of Richard Chase describes how Chase murdered two men, two women, and a child and how homicide detective Lt. Ray Biondi spearheaded the investigation that led to Chase’s arrest.
Buy it here now!
From Publishers Weekly
Biondi and Hecox (authors of All His Father’s Sins: The Shocking Truth About California’s Most Gruesome Serial Killer ) offer a fast-paced if facile report of a deranged killer who claimed six victims and drank their blood. The authors first show Richard Chase in a bizarre moment–naked and covered with cow blood–and that glimpse chills as the story proceeds: Chase harassed neighbors, left a perverse token in a house he burgled and seemed paranoid in public. When he graduated to murder, he not only shot his victims but sexually mutilated them. Former Sacramento homicide detective Biondi supplies inside information on the investigation, such as a television crew’s discovery of evidence overlooked by police. In addition, he and Hecox produce crime bulletins issued by police and the surprisingly accurate psychological profile detectives prepared of the killer. Luck combined with old-fashioned detective work flushed out Chase, who initially would admit only to killing dogs. But Chase told a fellow prisoner that he drank victims’ blood, and after he took the stand in his own defense, jurors decided not to find him insane. He committed suicide on death row in 1980. Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. Buy it here now!
Above is the actual photo of the crime scene. please notice the face inverted above her left thigh. Face perception is the process by which the brain and mind understand and interpret the face, particularly the human face.
The face is an important site for the identification of others and conveys significant social information. Probably because of the importance of its role in social interaction, psychological processes involved in face perception are known to be present from birth, to be complex, and to involve large and widely distributed areas in the brain. These parts of the brain can be damaged to cause a specific impairment in understanding faces known as prosopagnosia.
Perceptions of religious imagery in natural phenomena sometimes glossed simulacrae amongst a suite of other terms are sightings of images with spiritual or religious themes or import to the perceiver. That which is perceived, for cultural sensitivity may be given the nomenclature ‘icon’ following discourses and literature review of Fine Art, Iconography and Semiotics. ‘Icon’ in this usage holds no bias to any particular spiritual worldview, belief system or religious faith and partakes of the richness of the English term. The iconographic simulacrae discerned for example, whether iconic or aniconic, may be the faces of religious notables or the manifestation of spiritual symbols in the natural, organic media or phenomena of the natural world. The occurrence or event of perception may be transient or fleeting or may be more enduring and monumental. The phenomenon appears to approach a cultural universal and may often accompany nature worship, animism and fetishism whether overt, covert or but vestiges and traces of nature worship by implication.
Richard Trenton Chase enlarged image below close up of the face in blood on the floor. If you don’t see Blood Painted face of the dead serial Killer Richard Trenton Chase right away step back from your computer and look at the smaller image comparison below this photo.
The actual graphic Sacramento vampires image appears to be looking up from the blood splattered floor in the image above.
Below is a comparison to known images of richard Trenton Chase Mug Shot and images. Coincidence, paranormal occurrence or did his victim draw her face in her own blood? Or was it possibly made by Chase himself.
Also see: “REAL TRUE VAMPIRE ~ VAMPIRE TALES AND SECRET TRUTHS FINALLY ALL REVEALED”
And is this the Devils head?
THE DRACULA KILLER: An account of the killing spree of Richard Chase describes how Chase murdered two men, two women, and a child and how homicide detective Lt. Ray Biondi spearheaded the investigation that led to Chase’s arrest.
From Publishers Weekly
Biondi and Hecox (authors of All His Father’s Sins: The Shocking Truth About California’s Most Gruesome Serial Killer ) offer a fast-paced if facile report of a deranged killer who claimed six victims and drank their blood. The authors first show Richard Chase in a bizarre moment–naked and covered with cow blood–and that glimpse chills as the story proceeds: Chase harassed neighbors, left a perverse token in a house he burgled and seemed paranoid in public. When he graduated to murder, he not only shot his victims but sexually mutilated them. Former Sacramento homicide detective Biondi supplies inside information on the investigation, such as a television crew’s discovery of evidence overlooked by police. In addition, he and Hecox produce crime bulletins issued by police and the surprisingly accurate psychological profile detectives prepared of the killer. Luck combined with old-fashioned detective work flushed out Chase, who initially would admit only to killing dogs. But Chase told a fellow prisoner that he drank victims’ blood, and after he took the stand in his own defense, jurors decided not to find him insane. He committed suicide on death row in 1980. Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. Buy it here now!
Shannon McCabe: I Actually Had a “Conversation with a “Dead” Serial Killer” while filming New TV Series
I was asked by Two Four Productions in the UK (London) to be on their new television series “Conversations With a Serial Killer- Richard Trenton Chase”. I have done plenty of TV in my day but this was just over the top! The first site being the haunted Preston Castle in Ione, CA on Monday, May 19th, 2008. It was so incredible being in the Preston Castle at night; it is a pretty scary and daunting place in the dark! The floors are rotted out, and there are plenty of things that go bump in the night there. READ MORE ABOUT IT HERE NOW!
Psychic Bobby Marchesso, Shannon McCabe and Julie MacDonald Go in searh of Richard Trenton Chase’s ghost… And find Him!
Please also see: Real Vampires Amongst Us
THE VAMPIRE KILLER: Murders
On December 29, 1977, Chase killed his first victim in a drive-by shooting, Ambrose Griffin, a 51-year-old engineer and father of two. After the shooting, one of Griffin’s sons reported seeing a neighbor walking around their East Sacramento neighborhood with a .22 rifle. The neighbor’s rifle was seized, but ballistics tests determined that it was not the murder weapon.
On January 11, 1978, Chase asked his neighbor for a cigarette and then forcibly restrained her until she gave him an entire pack.
Two weeks later, he attempted to enter the home of another woman but, finding that her doors were locked, went into her backyard and walked away; Chase later told detectives that he took locked doors as a sign that he was not welcome, but that unlocked doors were an invitation to come inside. He was later chased off by a returning couple as he pilfered belongings from their home.
Chase’s next victim was Teresa Wallin. Three months pregnant, Teresa was surprised at her home by Chase, who shot her three times, killing her. He then had sex with the corpse and mutilated it, bathing in the dead woman’s blood.
On January 23, 1978, two days after killing Teresa Wallin, Chase purchased two puppies from a neighbor, killing them and drinking their blood.
On January 27, Chase committed his final murders. Entering the home of 38-year-old Evelyn Miroth, he encountered her neighbor, Don Meredith, who he shot with the same .22 handgun. Stealing Meredith’s wallet and car keys, he rampaged through the house, fatally shooting Evelyn Miroth, her 6-year-old son Jason, and Miroth’s 22-month-old nephew, David. As with Teresa Wallin, Chase engaged in necrophilia and cannibalism with Miroth’s corpse.
A six-year-old girl with whom Jason Miroth had a playdate knocked on the door, startling Chase, who fled the scene in Meredith’s car, taking David’s body with him. The girl alerted a neighbor, who alerted police. Upon entering the home, police discovered that Chase had left perfect handprints and perfect imprints of the soles of his shoes in Evelyn’s blood.
Chase returned to his home, where he drank David’s blood and ate several of the infant’s internal organs before disposing of the body at a nearby church.
In 1979, Chase stood trial on six counts of murder. In order to avoid the death penalty, the defense tried to have Chase found guilty of second degree murder, which would result in a life sentence. Their case hinged on Chase’s history of mental illness and the lack of planning in his crimes, evidence that they were not premeditated.
On May 8 the jury found Chase guilty of six counts of first degree murder and Chase was sentenced to die in the gas chamber. Waiting to die, Chase became a feared presence in prison; the other inmates (including several gang members), aware of the graphic and bizarre nature of his crimes, feared him, and according to prison officials, they often tried to convince Chase to commit suicide.
Chase granted a series of interviews with Robert Ressler, during which he spoke of his fears of Nazis and UFOs, claiming that although he had killed, it was not his fault; he had been forced to kill to keep himself alive, which he believed any person would do. He asked Ressler to give him access to a radar gun, with which he could apprehend the Nazi UFOs, so that the Nazis could stand trial for the murders. He also handed Ressler a large amount of macaroni and cheese which he had been hoarding in his pants pockets, believing that the prison officials were in league with the Nazis and attempting to kill him.
On December 26, 1980, a guard doing cell checks found Chase lying awkwardly on his bed, not breathing. An autopsy determined that he committed suicide with an overdose of prison doctor-prescribed antidepressants that he had been saving up over the last few weeks.
The 1988 movie Rampage was loosely based on Chase’s crimes.
Carey Burtt’s underground short subject The Psychotic Odyssey of Richard Chase retells Chase’s life story using Barbie dolls, not unlike in Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story.
An apparent victim of abuse at the hands of his mother, Chase exhibited by the age of 10 evidence of the MacDonald triad: bedwetting, pyromania, and zoosadism. In his adolescence, he was known as an alcoholic and a chronic drug abuser. He suffered from erectile dysfunction due to “psychological problems stemming from repressed anger”.
Sources and references
Robert Ressler on profiling the Vampire Killer
Richard Chase at the Crime Library
Richard Chase Art and Livejournal Group
The Psychotic Odyssey of Richard Chase on youtube
AT LAST THERE IS HOPE!
ON SEPTEMBER 1, 2009, AN ANTIDOTE WILL BE RELEASED THAT WILL COMBAT THE HORDES OF SEDUCTIVE CREATURES OF THE UNDEAD WHO HAUNT MOTION PICTURE AND TELEVISION SCREENS PROMISING ETERNAL YOUTH AND UNDYING LOVE WITH THE FIRST BITE.
THE POWERFUL ANTIDOTE CAN BE FOUND IN ALL BOOKSTORES AND INTERNET BOOKSELLERS.  ASK FOR THE ANTIDOTE BY ITS TITLE
REAL VAMPIRES, NIGHT STALKERS, AND CREATURES FROM THE DARKSIDE
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Far more than a book that contains a number of frightening true accounts and a collection of truly magnificent original art,  Real Vampires, Night Stalkers and Creatures from the Darkside expands the definition of the vampire to include parasitic entities that enter our reality from the far reaches of the multidimensional universe to possess their victims and to feed upon their life essence and their very soul.
Real Vampires are not the undead, returning from crypt or cemetery plot to steal blood, the vital fluid of existence from the living. Although they may look like us—and when it serves their purpose they may skillfully impersonate us in order to deceive and to prey upon us—they have never been human.
Real vampires are parasitic, shapeshifting entities that feed upon the energy, the life force,  and the souls of humans.
From whatever dimension of time and space they may have originated, real vampires may be compared to an ancient, insidious virus that first infects, then controls its host body, causing it, in turn, to possess other victims, to form secret societies, blood cults, and hideous rituals of human sacrifice.
Regardless of the seductive aura of the vampire depicted in contemporary novels, films, and television series, none of these romantic transformations of an ancient menace to humankind portray real vampires. While the vampiric virus may infest handsome men and beautiful women, none of those infected have superhuman powers. Real vampires and those whom they possess are loathsome slashers, rippers, and murderers who do not promise immortality with their sensual “bite,” only a painful death.
Real vampires and their human hosts can walk freely in the light of day. The rays of the rising sun do not send them scurrying back to their coffins.  Crucifixes do not cause real vampires to shrink back in fear.
Real vampires are the spawn of ancient entities such as Lilith, the seductive fallen angel, or of other paraphysical beings—such as the Jinn, the Cacodaemons, the Raskshasas, and the Nephilim—who have traversed the boundaries of time and space to prey upon humankind.
While this book focuses on the supernatural, the multidimensional, and the paraphysical beings who have interacted with our species since prehistoric times, we also visit the contemporary vampire community living among us today.  Leading members of the vampire community share with us the basic findings and the extensive demographics of the Vampire and Energy Workers Research Survey for 2009.  These “vampires” are not murderers, sociopaths, or supernatural beings. They are a subgroup within our society who are perhaps unique, but who are not after our blood.
Real vampires are immortal, and when the spirit parasite that has invaded a human body has tired of that fleshly residence, it dispassionately discards its temporary dwelling and possesses another, abandoning its former host to death and decay, rather than to an existence of attractive eternal youth and everlasting sexual prowess.
Although these entities cannot be killed, they can be driven away from their potential victims. We can resist them. We can become immune to their power. We can fight them and defeat them.
Buy it here now!
Real Vampires, Night Stalkers and Creatures from the Darkside (Paperback) BY Brad Steiger (Author)
This great new book is soon to be released it has already become the #1 Bestseller (See Top 100 Occultism Bestsellers) at Tower Books
AND NUMBER 1 HERE AT OUR
HAUNTED AMERICA TOURS BESTSELLER’S LIST!
Availability: Pre-Order: This Paperback is scheduled to be released on September 1, 2009.
A chilling chronicle of the often ignored history of vampirism as it has surfaced repeatedly in news articles, historical accounts, and first person interviews, this shocking account of occultist rituals and the inhuman forces that influence them shines a light on the horrifying truth. Revealing that real vampires are not immortal, do not have fangs or sleep in coffins, and have no fear of sunlight or crucifixes, the examination dispels many myths but also confirms the truth behind several traits of real vampires, such as the insatiable thirst for blood and the dream of an eternal soul. Complete with 30 spine-tingling tales of the hideous wraiths and creatures that lurk in shadow, this fascinating collection includes the stories of the Mexican prostitute who mesmerized an entire village, convincing them she was an Incan goddess who required human sacrifice for her magic; the three teenagers who left a trail across the South as they conducted blood-drinking rituals with animals; and the mysterious Lady in Black who draws psychic energy from men who dare approach her as she wanders through city streets and parks.
About the Author
BRAD STEIGER
Brad Steiger is an award-winning writer with more than five decades of experience exploring unusual, hidden, secret, and strange occurrences. He is the author of Conspiracies and Secret Societies; Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, and Haunted Houses; and The Werewolf Book. He lives in Forest City, Iowa.
Brad Steiger Official Web Site Visit It Here Now: “www.bradandsherry.com”
Lisa Lee Harp Waugh The American Necromancer
The first lady of conjuring the Dead. The ancient art pf Necromancy is still alive today with Waugh at it’s main investigator. LISA LEE HARP WAUGH Is a necromancer in the 21st century. She is by what may call a real conduit to the world of the dead. She dressers in ceremonial robes, draws magical circles on the floor and commands spirits from Heaven, Hell and all places in between to appear before her and communicate with the living. As a teenager she studied heavily The Black Arts by Richard Cavendish and The Grand Grimoire by A.E Waite, the Malleus Maleficarum and anything she could get her hands on by the great by Eliphas Levi, John Dee and the great beast, Aleister Crowley. http://www.ghosthuntersofamerica.com

The Real Vampire of Sacramento:
RICHARD TRENTON CHASE VICTIM MAY HAVE PAINTED HIS FACE IN HER OWN BLOOD!

BY LISA LEE HARP WAUGH

WARNING:
DISTURBING GRAPHIC IMAGES OF NUDITY AND DEATH BELOW NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH.
FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY!

DOES THIS ACTUAL CRIME SCENE PHOTO OF THE POOR VICTIM OF THE SACREMENTO VAMPIRE KILLER SHOW THE GHOSTLY FACE OF RICHARD TRENTON CHASE?

In January of 2009 I was reading about Richard Trenton Chase the Dracula killer or Vampire Killer of Sacramento, as he was known. In seeing the photo below in it’s normal state I was very surprised to see Chase’s face staring right up at me from the actual crime scene photO. It actually disturbed me to see how clear and how close the likeness was in the blood that pooled around the body.
I really do not know if I am the first to see his image of the dead serial killers looking up at me from this gruesome image . Or if it is just a personal case of Pareidolia. Many who will see this might just think it’s an over active imagination.
Pareidolia (pronounced /pærɪˈdoʊliə/) is a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant. Common examples include seeing images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon, and hearing hidden messages on records played in reverse. The word comes from the Greek para- (“beside”, “with”, or “alongside”—meaning, in this context, something faulty or wrong (as in paraphasia, disordered speech)) and eidolon (“image”; the diminutive of eidos (“image”, “form”, “shape”)). Pareidolia is a type of apophenia.
Carl Sagan hypothesized that as a survival technique, human beings are “hard-wired” from birth to identify the human face. This allows people to use only minimal details to recognize faces from a distance and in poor visibility but can also lead them to interpret random images or patterns of light and shade as being faces.
A 2009 magnetoencephalography study found that objects incidentally perceived as faces evoke an early (165 ms) activation in the ventral fusiform cortex, at a time and location similar to that evoked by faces, whereas other common objects do not evoke such activation. This activation is similar to a slightly earlier peak at 130 ms seen for images of real faces. The authors suggest that face perception evoked by face-like objects is a relatively early process, and not a late cognitive reinterpretation phenomenon.
But as you look at the image below and those of Chase the resemblance is striking. I have also taken it upon myself to look at other photos of crime scenes to see what I actually see in those images.
The Richard Trenton Chase’s Blood Stain Face
The “Vampire Killer of Sacramento” after a four day blood binge in January, 1978, in which he claimed six lives. Previously he had tried to inject rabbit’s blood into his veins. When he was institutionalized he exhibited such strange behavior that the hospital staff nicknamed him “Dracula”. He complained that someone had stolen his pulmonary artery and that his head kept changing shape. By 1977 it seemed that his delirium had been brought to check by his medication and was released from the hospital to make room for more seriously ill patients. Apparently Rich decided to stop taking his medication. He started thinking again that his blood was turning into powder and a Nazi crime syndicate that had been haunting him since high school was paying his mother money to poison him. So he did what any other red-blooded American would do under such duress. He became a vampire.
A typically “disorganized” killer, Chase picked his victims randomly and left as much evidence as he could around his home and the crime scenes. He drained his victim’s blood, blended it with body organs and drank it. It was the only way to stop his own blood from turning into powder, or so did the voices in his head said. He also took some body parts home to munch on later.
Chase was arrested a few days after his 4-day bloody swansong through Sacramento. Authorities brought in FBI superstar and acclaimed author Robert Ressler to help find the killer. After his arrest Richie raved about UFO’s and other imagined stalkers after him. He died of an overdose of antidepressants in his cell in Vacaville just after Christmas in 1980. TO READ MORE ON RICHARD TRENTON CHASE PLEASE VISIT HERE NOW.

Richard Trenton Chase Crime Scene Actual Photo from the book THE DRACULA KILLER: An account of the killing spree of Richard Chase describes how Chase murdered two men, two women, and a child and how homicide detective Lt. Ray Biondi spearheaded the investigation that led to Chase’s arrest.
Buy it here now!
From Publishers Weekly Biondi and Hecox (authors of All His Father’s Sins: The Shocking Truth About California’s Most Gruesome Serial Killer ) offer a fast-paced if facile report of a deranged killer who claimed six victims and drank their blood. The authors first show Richard Chase in a bizarre moment–naked and covered with cow blood–and that glimpse chills as the story proceeds: Chase harassed neighbors, left a perverse token in a house he burgled and seemed paranoid in public. When he graduated to murder, he not only shot his victims but sexually mutilated them. Former Sacramento homicide detective Biondi supplies inside information on the investigation, such as a television crew’s discovery of evidence overlooked by police. In addition, he and Hecox produce crime bulletins issued by police and the surprisingly accurate psychological profile detectives prepared of the killer. Luck combined with old-fashioned detective work flushed out Chase, who initially would admit only to killing dogs. But Chase told a fellow prisoner that he drank victims’ blood, and after he took the stand in his own defense, jurors decided not to find him insane. He committed suicide on death row in 1980. Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. Buy it here now!

Above is the actual photo of the crime scene. please notice the face inverted above her left thigh. Face perception is the process by which the brain and mind understand and interpret the face, particularly the human face.
The face is an important site for the identification of others and conveys significant social information. Probably because of the importance of its role in social interaction, psychological processes involved in face perception are known to be present from birth, to be complex, and to involve large and widely distributed areas in the brain. These parts of the brain can be damaged to cause a specific impairment in understanding faces known as prosopagnosia.
Perceptions of religious imagery in natural phenomena sometimes glossed simulacrae amongst a suite of other terms are sightings of images with spiritual or religious themes or import to the perceiver. That which is perceived, for cultural sensitivity may be given the nomenclature ‘icon’ following discourses and literature review of Fine Art, Iconography and Semiotics. ‘Icon’ in this usage holds no bias to any particular spiritual worldview, belief system or religious faith and partakes of the richness of the English term. The iconographic simulacrae discerned for example, whether iconic or aniconic, may be the faces of religious notables or the manifestation of spiritual symbols in the natural, organic media or phenomena of the natural world. The occurrence or event of perception may be transient or fleeting or may be more enduring and monumental. The phenomenon appears to approach a cultural universal and may often accompany nature worship, animism and fetishism whether overt, covert or but vestiges and traces of nature worship by implication.
Richard Trenton Chase enlarged image below close up of the face in blood on the floor. If you don’t see Blood Painted face of the dead serial Killer Richard Trenton Chase right away step back from your computer and look at the smaller image comparison below this photo.

The actual graphic Sacramento vampires image appears to be looking up from the blood splattered floor in the image above.
Below is a comparison to known images of richard Trenton Chase Mug Shot and images. Coincidence, paranormal occurrence or did his victim draw her face in her own blood? Or was it possibly made by Chase himself.
Also see: “REAL TRUE VAMPIRE ~ VAMPIRE TALES AND SECRET TRUTHS FINALLY ALL REVEALED”

And is this the Devils head?

THE DRACULA KILLER: An account of the killing spree of Richard Chase describes how Chase murdered two men, two women, and a child and how homicide detective Lt. Ray Biondi spearheaded the investigation that led to Chase’s arrest.
From Publishers Weekly Biondi and Hecox (authors of All His Father’s Sins: The Shocking Truth About California’s Most Gruesome Serial Killer ) offer a fast-paced if facile report of a deranged killer who claimed six victims and drank their blood. The authors first show Richard Chase in a bizarre moment–naked and covered with cow blood–and that glimpse chills as the story proceeds: Chase harassed neighbors, left a perverse token in a house he burgled and seemed paranoid in public. When he graduated to murder, he not only shot his victims but sexually mutilated them. Former Sacramento homicide detective Biondi supplies inside information on the investigation, such as a television crew’s discovery of evidence overlooked by police. In addition, he and Hecox produce crime bulletins issued by police and the surprisingly accurate psychological profile detectives prepared of the killer. Luck combined with old-fashioned detective work flushed out Chase, who initially would admit only to killing dogs. But Chase told a fellow prisoner that he drank victims’ blood, and after he took the stand in his own defense, jurors decided not to find him insane. He committed suicide on death row in 1980. Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. Buy it here now!
Shannon McCabe: I Actually Had a “Conversation with a “Dead” Serial Killer” while filming New TV Series
I was asked by Two Four Productions in the UK (London) to be on their new television series “Conversations With a Serial Killer- Richard Trenton Chase”. I have done plenty of TV in my day but this was just over the top! The first site being the haunted Preston Castle in Ione, CA on Monday, May 19th, 2008. It was so incredible being in the Preston Castle at night; it is a pretty scary and daunting place in the dark! The floors are rotted out, and there are plenty of things that go bump in the night there. READ MORE ABOUT IT HERE NOW!

Psychic Bobby Marchesso, Shannon McCabe and Julie MacDonald Go in searh of Richard Trenton Chase’s ghost… And find Him!
Please also see: Real Vampires Amongst Us

THE VAMPIRE KILLER: MurdersOn December 29, 1977, Chase killed his first victim in a drive-by shooting, Ambrose Griffin, a 51-year-old engineer and father of two. After the shooting, one of Griffin’s sons reported seeing a neighbor walking around their East Sacramento neighborhood with a .22 rifle. The neighbor’s rifle was seized, but ballistics tests determined that it was not the murder weapon.
On January 11, 1978, Chase asked his neighbor for a cigarette and then forcibly restrained her until she gave him an entire pack.
Two weeks later, he attempted to enter the home of another woman but, finding that her doors were locked, went into her backyard and walked away; Chase later told detectives that he took locked doors as a sign that he was not welcome, but that unlocked doors were an invitation to come inside. He was later chased off by a returning couple as he pilfered belongings from their home.
Chase’s next victim was Teresa Wallin. Three months pregnant, Teresa was surprised at her home by Chase, who shot her three times, killing her. He then had sex with the corpse and mutilated it, bathing in the dead woman’s blood.
On January 23, 1978, two days after killing Teresa Wallin, Chase purchased two puppies from a neighbor, killing them and drinking their blood.
On January 27, Chase committed his final murders. Entering the home of 38-year-old Evelyn Miroth, he encountered her neighbor, Don Meredith, who he shot with the same .22 handgun. Stealing Meredith’s wallet and car keys, he rampaged through the house, fatally shooting Evelyn Miroth, her 6-year-old son Jason, and Miroth’s 22-month-old nephew, David. As with Teresa Wallin, Chase engaged in necrophilia and cannibalism with Miroth’s corpse.
A six-year-old girl with whom Jason Miroth had a playdate knocked on the door, startling Chase, who fled the scene in Meredith’s car, taking David’s body with him. The girl alerted a neighbor, who alerted police. Upon entering the home, police discovered that Chase had left perfect handprints and perfect imprints of the soles of his shoes in Evelyn’s blood.
Chase returned to his home, where he drank David’s blood and ate several of the infant’s internal organs before disposing of the body at a nearby church.
In 1979, Chase stood trial on six counts of murder. In order to avoid the death penalty, the defense tried to have Chase found guilty of second degree murder, which would result in a life sentence. Their case hinged on Chase’s history of mental illness and the lack of planning in his crimes, evidence that they were not premeditated.
On May 8 the jury found Chase guilty of six counts of first degree murder and Chase was sentenced to die in the gas chamber. Waiting to die, Chase became a feared presence in prison; the other inmates (including several gang members), aware of the graphic and bizarre nature of his crimes, feared him, and according to prison officials, they often tried to convince Chase to commit suicide.
Chase granted a series of interviews with Robert Ressler, during which he spoke of his fears of Nazis and UFOs, claiming that although he had killed, it was not his fault; he had been forced to kill to keep himself alive, which he believed any person would do. He asked Ressler to give him access to a radar gun, with which he could apprehend the Nazi UFOs, so that the Nazis could stand trial for the murders. He also handed Ressler a large amount of macaroni and cheese which he had been hoarding in his pants pockets, believing that the prison officials were in league with the Nazis and attempting to kill him.
On December 26, 1980, a guard doing cell checks found Chase lying awkwardly on his bed, not breathing. An autopsy determined that he committed suicide with an overdose of prison doctor-prescribed antidepressants that he had been saving up over the last few weeks.
The 1988 movie Rampage was loosely based on Chase’s crimes.
Carey Burtt’s underground short subject The Psychotic Odyssey of Richard Chase retells Chase’s life story using Barbie dolls, not unlike in Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story.
An apparent victim of abuse at the hands of his mother, Chase exhibited by the age of 10 evidence of the MacDonald triad: bedwetting, pyromania, and zoosadism. In his adolescence, he was known as an alcoholic and a chronic drug abuser. He suffered from erectile dysfunction due to “psychological problems stemming from repressed anger”.
Sources and referencesRobert Ressler on profiling the Vampire Killer Richard Chase at the Crime Library Richard Chase Art and Livejournal Group The Psychotic Odyssey of Richard Chase on youtube

AT LAST THERE IS HOPE!
ON SEPTEMBER 1, 2009, AN ANTIDOTE WILL BE RELEASED THAT WILL COMBAT THE HORDES OF SEDUCTIVE CREATURES OF THE UNDEAD WHO HAUNT MOTION PICTURE AND TELEVISION SCREENS PROMISING ETERNAL YOUTH AND UNDYING LOVE WITH THE FIRST BITE.
THE POWERFUL ANTIDOTE CAN BE FOUND IN ALL BOOKSTORES AND INTERNET BOOKSELLERS.  ASK FOR THE ANTIDOTE BY ITS TITLE

REAL VAMPIRES, NIGHT STALKERS, AND CREATURES FROM THE DARKSIDE

† Buy it here now! †
Far more than a book that contains a number of frightening true accounts and a collection of truly magnificent original art,  Real Vampires, Night Stalkers and Creatures from the Darkside expands the definition of the vampire to include parasitic entities that enter our reality from the far reaches of the multidimensional universe to possess their victims and to feed upon their life essence and their very soul.        Real Vampires are not the undead, returning from crypt or cemetery plot to steal blood, the vital fluid of existence from the living. Although they may look like us—and when it serves their purpose they may skillfully impersonate us in order to deceive and to prey upon us—they have never been human.
Real vampires are parasitic, shapeshifting entities that feed upon the energy, the life force,  and the souls of humans.
From whatever dimension of time and space they may have originated, real vampires may be compared to an ancient, insidious virus that first infects, then controls its host body, causing it, in turn, to possess other victims, to form secret societies, blood cults, and hideous rituals of human sacrifice.
Regardless of the seductive aura of the vampire depicted in contemporary novels, films, and television series, none of these romantic transformations of an ancient menace to humankind portray real vampires. While the vampiric virus may infest handsome men and beautiful women, none of those infected have superhuman powers. Real vampires and those whom they possess are loathsome slashers, rippers, and murderers who do not promise immortality with their sensual “bite,” only a painful death.
Real vampires and their human hosts can walk freely in the light of day. The rays of the rising sun do not send them scurrying back to their coffins.  Crucifixes do not cause real vampires to shrink back in fear.
Real vampires are the spawn of ancient entities such as Lilith, the seductive fallen angel, or of other paraphysical beings—such as the Jinn, the Cacodaemons, the Raskshasas, and the Nephilim—who have traversed the boundaries of time and space to prey upon humankind.
While this book focuses on the supernatural, the multidimensional, and the paraphysical beings who have interacted with our species since prehistoric times, we also visit the contemporary vampire community living among us today.  Leading members of the vampire community share with us the basic findings and the extensive demographics of the Vampire and Energy Workers Research Survey for 2009.  These “vampires” are not murderers, sociopaths, or supernatural beings. They are a subgroup within our society who are perhaps unique, but who are not after our blood.
Real vampires are immortal, and when the spirit parasite that has invaded a human body has tired of that fleshly residence, it dispassionately discards its temporary dwelling and possesses another, abandoning its former host to death and decay, rather than to an existence of attractive eternal youth and everlasting sexual prowess.
Although these entities cannot be killed, they can be driven away from their potential victims. We can resist them. We can become immune to their power. We can fight them and defeat them.
Buy it here now!
Real Vampires, Night Stalkers and Creatures from the Darkside (Paperback) BY Brad Steiger (Author) This great new book is soon to be released it has already become the #1 Bestseller (See Top 100 Occultism Bestsellers) at Tower Books AND NUMBER 1 HERE AT OUR
HAUNTED AMERICA TOURS BESTSELLER’S LIST!
Availability: Pre-Order: This Paperback is scheduled to be released on September 1, 2009.
A chilling chronicle of the often ignored history of vampirism as it has surfaced repeatedly in news articles, historical accounts, and first person interviews, this shocking account of occultist rituals and the inhuman forces that influence them shines a light on the horrifying truth. Revealing that real vampires are not immortal, do not have fangs or sleep in coffins, and have no fear of sunlight or crucifixes, the examination dispels many myths but also confirms the truth behind several traits of real vampires, such as the insatiable thirst for blood and the dream of an eternal soul. Complete with 30 spine-tingling tales of the hideous wraiths and creatures that lurk in shadow, this fascinating collection includes the stories of the Mexican prostitute who mesmerized an entire village, convincing them she was an Incan goddess who required human sacrifice for her magic; the three teenagers who left a trail across the South as they conducted blood-drinking rituals with animals; and the mysterious Lady in Black who draws psychic energy from men who dare approach her as she wanders through city streets and parks.
About the Author

BRAD STEIGER

Brad Steiger is an award-winning writer with more than five decades of experience exploring unusual, hidden, secret, and strange occurrences. He is the author of Conspiracies and Secret Societies; Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, and Haunted Houses; and The Werewolf Book. He lives in Forest City, Iowa.
Brad Steiger Official Web Site Visit It Here Now: “www.bradandsherry.com”

Lisa Lee Harp Waugh The American Necromancer
The first lady of conjuring the Dead. The ancient art pf Necromancy is still alive today with Waugh at it’s main investigator. LISA LEE HARP WAUGH Is a necromancer in the 21st century. She is by what may call a real conduit to the world of the dead. She dressers in ceremonial robes, draws magical circles on the floor and commands spirits from Heaven, Hell and all places in between to appear before her and communicate with the living. As a teenager she studied heavily The Black Arts by Richard Cavendish and The Grand Grimoire by A.E Waite, the Malleus Maleficarum and anything she could get her hands on by the great by Eliphas Levi, John Dee and the great beast, Aleister Crowley. http://www.ghosthuntersofamerica.com


movies

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre part 2
(1986 Directed by Tobe Hooper)
In this sequel to the horror classic, Dennis Hopper plays a former Texas Ranger determined to avenge his murdered family by hunting down Leatherface and his brethren. His trail leads him to caverns of death where victims are the ingredients in a nightmarish enterprise. Body parts and self-referential jokes fly, as the crazed lawman, who’s almost as wacked as the villains he’s stalking, heads toward the final, blood-soaked showdown.
This is an excellent sequel to the horror classic original. This time, however, the movie focuses more on gruesome gore and twisted black humor. Now, I’m not saying that this movie is better because of that, only that this movie has a different tone. Both films are horror classics, and are the only worthy entries in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series.
I saw this movie before I saw the original. It was then, and is now, one of the scariest movies I’ve ever had the pleasure of viewing. Perhaps I shouldn’t use the word scary, it doesn’t quite do the movie justice. This movie made me nervous, and I’ll tell you why…
Bill Moseley. Bill Moseley plays Chop Top, brother to loved psycho Leatherface. His prescence in this movie is unnerving. So unnerving, in fact, that he scares me more than his chainsaw wielding brother.
If I am to be murdered by a psycho, give me Michael Myers. Give me Jason. Give me Leatherface. Give me a killer so intent on killing that they don’t screw around- let them dispatch me quickly and easily. Don’t toy with me. Chop Top likes to toy with people. He likes to laugh maniacly while he cracks sick jokes and puts a flame to that rusty hanger he uses to scrape flesh from around that metal plate in his head. You just know any second he’s going to pull out a hammer to bash in your brains- and the anticipation is nerve wracking. He’s like a cat toying with a mouse. Just kill me already and GET IT OVER WITH! I truly find the anticipation of death infinitely more horrifying than death itself, and Chop Top plays on that fear perfectly.
My absolute favorite moment in this movie (and one of my favorite horror movie moments of all time) occurs close to the beginning. DJ Stretch (Caroline Williams) is being toyed with by Chop Top. He’s chuckling and nibbling on that skin he’s been scraping off his head, asking her questions and making obnoxious comments. He heads over to a small room, asks what’s inside, flips on the light and BAM!, at that exact moment, Leatherface bursts from the room with his chainsaw roaring. It gets me every time. It is one of the greatest unexpected shock scares EVER.
The rest of the movie is equally relentless. So much so that watching the movie is quite a draining experience.
Did I mention that it was funny? Oh yes, there are several hilarious moments- but the humor is sick, twisted, dark, and sticky.
This movie is also notable for Dennis Hopper’s role as a vengeance seeking Texas Ranger who arms himself with dual chainsaws.
This is definitely not a movie for everybody- but for scares, black humor, gore (by master horror SFX man Tom Savini), and pure relentlessness, I recommend this highly.
Bill Moseley as Chop Top-
also known as Otis Driftwood
in the Devil’s Rejects & House
of 1000 Corpses.
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#4    01-12-2007, 09:26 AM
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Ed Wood
(1994 Directed by Tim Burton)
You are interested in the unknown. The mysterious. The unexplainable. That is why you are here. And now, for the first time, we are bringing to you the full story of what happened, on that fateful day. We are giving you all the evidence, based only on a secret testimony, of the miserable souls, who survived this terrifying ordeal. The incidents, the places. My friend, we cannot keep this a secret any longer. Can your heart stand the shocking facts about Edward D. Wood, Jr?
Tim Burton’s masterpiece. Yes, he has created some brilliant work (Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow, Batman, Beetlejuice, Nightmare Before Christmas), but this movie is damn near perfect.
It is the true story of Edward D. Wood Jr.(played by Johnny Depp), a low budget film director who saw his visions through to the very end, regardless of criticism, and subsequently became known as one of the worst directors of all time. The bulk of the movie focuses on his relationship with Bela Lugosi (Martin Landau) and his creation of the cult classic ‘Worst Movie of all Time’, Plan 9 From Outer Space.
The movie is loaded with great actors- Johnny Depp, Sarah Jessica Parker, Bill Murray, Jeffrey Jones, Patricia Arquette, and Vincent D’Onofrio (in a cool cameo as Orson Welles). It is, however, Martin Landau that steals every scene he is in as the heroin addicted Bela Lugosi (who won an Oscar for his hilariously bitter performance). His relationship with Ed Wood is the heart and soul of the movie and, while it is never sappy, it is deeply touching.
A perfect blend of humor, pain, truth, and Angora sweaters- this flick is essential viewing.
Also- be sure not to miss Plan 9 From Outer Space, a movie so goddamn awful that it’s brilliant. The movie that defines the phrase, “It’s so bad it’s good.” Follow up Ed Wood with this classic, and have yourself one hell of a great movie night.
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#5    01-12-2007, 09:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vahauser
BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA
One of my favorites, too. Great choice.
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#6    01-12-2007, 09:30 AM
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Wild At Heart
(1990 Directed by David Lynch)
Young lovers Sailor and Lula take off for New Orleans following Sailor’s release from prison- with Lula’s hysterical mother, a weary detective, and a sinister hitman after them. During their journey, Lula and Sailor relate the events of their lives to date, while encountering a typical gallery of Lynch grotesques. After being stranded in a small town, Sailor agrees to join the loathsome Bobby Peru in a criminal venture.
This is my favorite David Lynch film. It combines several elements that I love- road movies, Elvis, black humor, graphic violence, fairy tales, themes of individuality, sex, smoking, hit men, Sherilyn Fenn, and redemption.
It’s the story of Sailor Ripley (Nicholas Cage) and Lula Fortune (Laura Dern) two young lovers who want nothing more than to be with each other. Unfortunately, Lula’s mother, Marietta (played by Dern’s real life mom Diane Ladd), wants nothing of the sort. As the movie begins, she sends a hit man to deal with Sailor- who, in turn, violently dispatches the hit man with swift and blinding violence. Off to prison Sailor goes.
Upon his release, Sailor hooks back up with Lula and they hit the road- to the dismay of Lula’s vengeful mother, who sends out her detective boyfriend (the always great Harry Dean Stanton) and some hit men to deal with the situation. What follows is bizarre David Lynch beauty.
What a great flick. Not only does it have a truly excellent story, but within the story are tons of unforgettable characters, played by the likes of Isabella Rossellini, Crispin Glover, Sherilyn Fenn, Jack Nance, and Willem Dafoe. I especially love Crispin Glover in this as Cousin Dell- Lula’s cousin who really likes Christmas and placing cockroaches in interesting places. I also have to mention that Willenm Dafoe is superb in this as Bobby Peru, one of the most vile and sleazy bastards to ever grace the silver screen.
This movie is graphic in all kinds of delicious ways. The running Wizard of Oz undercurrent also adds to its unique Lynch flavor. No David Lynch fan should miss this one! Also features a most delectable soundtrack.
This here’s a snake skin jacket. It’s a symbol of my individuality and belief in personal freedom.
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#7    01-12-2007, 09:32 AM
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River’s Edge
(1986 Directed by Tim Hunter)
A high school slacker kills his girlfriend and shows off her dead body to his friends. However, the friends’ reaction is almost as ambiguous and perplexing as the crime itself.
This is a great movie, highly deserving of its cult status. The story is excellent, and the characters (notably the ones played Crispin Glover and Dennis Hopper) are well developed and very interesting.
The story focuses on a group of friends in a small town- it seems that one of them, Samson (Daniel Roebuck), has just murdered his girlfriend- and left her by the river’s edge. He has no problem telling his friends about the murder, going so far as to show them the body. His friends are shocked, but remain pretty apathetic. Throughout the day, friends within the circle question their loyalties and, ultimately, their responsibility in dealing with the whole sordid affair.
Crispin Glover steals the show in this one. He plays Layne, the dominant leader of the circle of friends, who believes in loyalty above all else. Layne is hilarious- quirky and weird, just as you would expect from Glover. I truly believe it is is performance that elevates this movie to cult status. Following close behind is Dennis Hopper as Feck, the local drug dealer with skeletons in his closet and a blow-up doll by his side. Hopper fans should not miss this one! Also in the film are Keanu Reeves (doing an excellent job here) as Matt- one of the few friends who is seriously troubled by the murder (whoa), and Ione Skye as Clarissa- another friend in the group who was also well aquainted with the murdered girl.
Though the movie works exceptionally well as a dark drama, it is also freakin’ hilarious. As I said before, Crispin Glover steals the show as the eccentric Layne. The movie is worth seeing for him alone. His performance is not overbearing- it never detracts from the dark and somber atmosphere of the film, but it sure does add zest.
There is an extreme rip-off of this movie called the Liars Club, which is total watered-down crap, stars Wil Wheaton, and should be avoided at all costs. River’s Edge is original, superbly acted, and is one of those movies that will stay with you long after the credits roll.
——————————————————————————–
Last edited by labrazio; 01-18-2007 at 04:45 AM.
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#8    01-12-2007, 09:34 AM
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Heathers
(1989 Directed by Michael Lehmann)
Three high school girls named Heather run an elite social clique at their high school. One of their anointees, Veronica, isn’t sure she wants to fit into the clique, particularly when she has to snub some of her old friends at the Heathers’ behest. When Veronica meets the new guy at school, she starts pulling away from the clique- soon afterwards some of the more popular students start showing up dead with suicide notes.
This is my favorite teen high school comedy. It’s the anti-John Hughes. The humor is blacker than black, and I love every minute of it.
It concerns Veronica (Winona Ryder), a foxy chick who has just become one of the Heathers (three girls, all named Heather, who are the most popular girls in the school). Veronica enjoys the popularity, but soon realizes her new friends are cruel, superficial bitches. She finds sanctuary with the new guy in school, J.D. (Christian Slater), a loner with point blank methods of dealing with unpleasant people. Before she knows it, Veronica is part of a murder spree- and in over her head with the murderous J.D.
Veronica Sawyer: It’s one thing to want someone out of your life, but it’s another thing to serve them a wake-up cup full of liquid drainer.
Great movie. It’s hilarious and sinister and carries with it the timeless message of accepting people for who they are, regardless of their looks or social standing. Christian Slater delivers his best Jack Nicholson impersonation and is wonderfully psychotic. Winona Ryder is excellent as well.
This movie has achieved cult classic status, and it is well deserved. It is often imitated, but nothing yet has come close to delivering anything near Heathers’ black comic genius.
I love Winona.
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#9    01-12-2007, 09:34 AM
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will any Russ Meyers films make it on this list?
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#10    01-12-2007, 09:35 AM
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Ted Bundy
(2002 Directed by Matthew Bright)
How to pick up chicks, Bundy style.
Docu-drama based on the life of Ted Bundy, a serial killer who killed at least 19 young women during the 1970’s (though some sources say as many as 30 to 35 were murdered). Set from his college student years, to his first victims, his capture, escape from prison (twice), his final killing spree to his trial, conviction and execution.
If you’re familiar with director Matthew Bright (Freeway), then you may be prepared for this. As brutal and disturbing as this movie can be, it is also hilarious. After watching a couple of other (horrible) true-life serial killer movies (Ed Gein, Dahmer, and Gacy), I wasn’t expecting much. As it turned out, Ted Bundy was the exception.
The movie is filled with dark humor, most of which provided by the deviant behavior of Mr. Bundy himself. The beginning of this film is sure to have you laughing as it follows Ted spending his day talking to himself, shoplifting, and peeping in windows. However, the movie soon drifts from humorous to disturbing when Ted discovers his true passion. There are some truly graphic moments of brutal violence in this movie that may make a few folks seriously uncomfortable. Ted just wasn’t a very nice guy.
The DVD features a commentary by the director, who provides plenty of Ted Bundy facts along the way (for those interested in that sort of thing). The film also contains a Tom Savini cameo (which scores it bonus points in my book), as well as Michael Reilly Burke’s excellent, chilling portrayal of the title character. Ted Bundy is certainly worth a look. It may have you looking away during a few of the more intense scenes, but you can rest easy knowing the son-of-a-bitch gets what he deserves (in the most humiliating of ways).
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#11    01-12-2007, 09:36 AM
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Good list, I really like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre part 2.
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#12    01-12-2007, 09:40 AM
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Quote:
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will any Russ Meyers films make it on this list?
Definitely. If you would like to add one, feel free. I see Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! coming up soon.
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#13    01-12-2007, 09:42 AM
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Running Scared
(2006 Directed by Wayne Kramer)
Joey Gazelle (Paul Walker) is a low level mob flunkie who is told to dispose of a gun used for killing some dirty cops. Joey, however, hides the gun in the drywall of his basement instead of tossing it into the river. When Joey’s 10 year-old son (Alex Neuberger) and his best friend, Oleg (Cameron Bright), witness Joey hiding the gun, Oleg steals it — a snub-nosed .38 — and shoots his abusive stepfather (Karel Roden). Things would be bad enough if the stepfather didn’t happen to be the nephew of a psychotic Russian mob boss (John Noble)… who happens to be in business with Joey’s crew on a gasoline scam. But now Joey’s also got the surviving dirty cop (Chazz Palminteri) from the botched drug deal on his case… and that hot .38 out there on the street, changing hands in an underworld of freaks, pimps, hookers and pedophiles. As well as Oleg, who can connect Joey to the gun. And even if Joey can make it through the night, he’s still got to answer to his wife (Vera Farmiga)…
The movie I never wanted to watch. I never cared for Paul Walker. I’d almost go so far as to say I can’t stand the man. To me, this movie had “crap” written all over it. Well, one night at the video store I decided to give it a chance. I’m not sure why, but I’m glad I did.
It would be a mistake to take this movie too seriously. Reality is not a factor here. This flick is all about momentum and reaction. It starts out with a bang (or two) and never lets up. The story itself is a thinly disguised urban fairytale, full of gritty action and loathsome characters. The whole thing goes way over the top, and keeps on going, in a frenzy.
The intensity and insanity of this movie alone makes it a worthy recommendation. Its extreme content may offend some, but it certainly is never boring. This is the type of film that you’ll either really love, or really despise, with a passion. It’s pure trash cinema, but what wonderful trash it is.
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#14    01-12-2007, 09:43 AM
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Flesh for Frankenstein owns this thread.
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#15    01-12-2007, 09:44 AM
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Irreversible
(2002 Directed by Gaspar Noe’)
Events over the course of one traumatic night in Paris unfold in reverse-chronological order as the beautiful Alex (Monica Bellucci) is brutally raped and beaten by a stranger in the underpass. Her boyfriend and ex-lover take matters into their own hands by hiring two criminals to help them find the rapist so that they can exact revenge. A simultaneously beautiful and terrible examination of the destructive nature of cause and effect, and how time destroys everything.
Monica Bellucci and her real-life guy Vincent Cassel star in this dark and disturbing look at cause and effect. This movie starts out in hell, and slowly and surely draws back to a better place. It’s of no consequence, however, since the images presented are so graphic and bleak that the bright and sunny moments of the film do little to erase what has gone before.
This movie is fucked up. It contains two of the most graphic and disturbing scenes I have ever seen, ever. Once you have viewed either of these scenes they will stay with you for quite some time. I have only seen this movie once, and I never plan on seeing it again. This does not mean the movie is bad, it just means it’s not something you’d want to re-visit again and again. As the movie begins, the camera twists and sways in a sickening motion, accompanied by some seriously creepy music. Here we see two gentlemen pushing their way through a sleazy sex club called the Rectum. What follows is probably one of the sickest looking acts of violence you will ever set eyes on, and the camera doesn’t flinch for a moment. Later on, the camera remains still once again during a brutal and explicit scene featuring Bellucci and a bastard Frenchman known as la Tenia (the tapeworm).
This is not an easy movie to watch, nor is it a movie everyone should watch. However, it is an experience and it will stay with you for days afterward. Is it worth it? I’m not sure, but I won’t be forgetting this movie anytime soon.
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#16    01-12-2007, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
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Flesh for Frankenstein owns this thread.
I haven’t seen that one.
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#17    01-12-2007, 09:47 AM
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Videodrome
(1983 Directed by David Cronenberg)
Lowlife cable TV operator Max Renn discovers a “snuff TV” broadcast called Videodrome. But Videodrome is more than a TV show – it’s an experiment that uses regular TV transmissions to permanently alter the viewer’s perceptions. Max is caught in the middle of the forces that created Videodrome, and the forces that want to control it, his body itself turning into the ultimate weapon to fight them.
This movie will blow your mind. It’s one of Cronenberg’s best, and it’s pretty bizarre from start to finish. I think all of us have experienced Videodrome in one way or another. I myself can relate to the image above, where Max Renn (played by James Woods) is tripping balls and placing his face into his television screen. I’m not talking about relating to tripping balls (which I guess I could), but actually getting so involved in television or movies or what-have-you that it blends with you and becomes part of what you are (altering your very mind in the process). In that respect, Videodrome is very, very, real. Luckily, the side effects of my addiction do not cause huge vaginal-like openings to erupt on my abdomen. Max Renn is not so fortunate.
This movie also features Blondie singer Deborah Harry as a kinky S&M chick who develops a dangerous Videodrome fetish. It’s good stuff. There is a Criterion version of this film which is absolutely amazing. If you know Criterion, you know they provide extra features even on the extra features. This film is a must-have for any Cronenberg fan, as well as those with a taste for the bizarre or even good sci-fi.
Long live the new flesh.
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#18    01-12-2007, 09:50 AM
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Paradise Lost:The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills
(1996 Directed by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky)
Berlinger and Sinofsky’s documentary of a gruesome triple murder in West Memphis, Arkansas, and the subsequent trials of three suspects, takes a hard look at both the occult and the American justice system in small-town America. Three teenagers are accused of the horrific crime of killing three children, supposedly as a result of involvement in Satanism. Things turn out to be more complex than initial appearances; this film presents the real-life courtroom drama to the viewer as it unfolds.
This is the very best documentary I have ever seen. It tells of a gruesome crime- the murder and mutilation of three young boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. Three teenagers are accused of the crime and, because of their interest in the occult and heavy metal music, it seems their fate is sealed. Impossible to look away from, this documentary will keep you riveted from start to finish. This thing is sinister, and plays out like a horror movie.
Honestly, stay the fuck out of Arkansas. This film is frightening for three reasons: 1) the ghastly crime 2) the fact that these three guys are convicted with little to no evidence- that they listen to Metallica and read Aleister Crowley is enough to condemn them for life 3) the person who should be the prime suspect is not. He is featured several times in the documentary, and you will find yourself saying, “There he is! That’s the real murderer! Why the fuck don’t they get him?” more than once. How this guy gets to still walk among us is beyond me. Yeah, he’s in Arkansas. Watch out.
I promise you, if you start to watch this you will be lost to it until the end. It will creep you out and offend your sense of justice. What more could you ask for?
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#19    01-12-2007, 09:55 AM
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Lifeforce
(1985 Directed by Tobe Hooper)
I am naked. You cannot stop me.
A space shuttle mission investigating Halley’s Comet brings back a malevolent race of space vampires who transform most of London’s population into zombies. The only survivor of the expedition and British authorities attempt to capture a mysterious but beautiful alien woman who appears responsible.
If you can get through that synopsis, then you can enjoy this movie. It’s a perfect choice for the midnight show. It may have no logic, but it sure is entertaining. The fact that every character in the film takes things so seriously, no matter how insane or bizarre, is fun in its own right.
This film has three things going for it. The first is the whole, insane, plot. It’s ridiculous, yet it’s played dead serious. It will have you asking, “What the fuck could possibly happen next?”, in a good way. The second thing to look forward to is Patrick Stewart. Captain Picard has a few insane moments of his own, which he delivers in his trademark style. The third (and possibly greatest) thing about this movie is Mathilda May. She plays the lead space vampire, and what a stunning performance it is. She’s a beauty, this one, and she spends most of her time bare-ass naked. This is why she cannot be stopped. She is too naked. She is too foxy. You cannot resist. It’s shallow, yes, but these shallow waters are held in the Fountain of Truth.
Space vampires, naked women, and zombies. It’s worth it.
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#20    01-12-2007, 09:55 AM
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[QUOTE=labrazio]Videodrome
(1983 Directed by David Cronenberg)QUOTE]
Cronenberg’s best!
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#21    01-12-2007, 09:57 AM
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Blood: The Last Vampire
(2000 Directed by Hiroyuki Kitakubo)
Japan, 1966. Saya is part of a secret team who destroy demons. She is sent undercover as a student at the Yokota Air Base in Fussa-shi, Tokyo, just before Halloween. She discovers that two of her classmates are vampires in disguise just as they are preparing to attack the school nurse; meanwhile, her colleagues have discovered another vampire acting as a bartender in the local red-light district. A spectacular battle ensues.
I haven’t seen a lot of anime’. I’m limited to Ghost in the Shell, Ninja Scroll, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Akira, and Blood: The Last Vampire. Blood is my favorite (right next to Ghost in the Shell). It’s fast and furious and amazing to look at. There is never a dull moment. The soundtrack adds beautifully to the mounting tension. The demons are fucking scary.
I’ve shown this to many people, most of whom don’t care for anime’ or movies of this nature, and they’ve all loved it. I’ve never heard a negative thing about it, other than that it’s too short (It’s a little under an hour). It’s so good and intense that it breezes by much too quickly. It also holds up well under repeat repeat viewings.
Saya (the demon slayer) is a great character. She only says what is necessary. She’s always moving towards her target. She does not hesitate to draw her sword and slice chunks from her enemies.
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#22    01-12-2007, 09:59 AM
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Red Rock West
(1992 Directed by John Dahl)
When a promised job for Texan Michael fails to materialize in Wyoming, Mike is mistaken by Wayne to be the hitman Wayne hired to kill his unfaithful wife, Suzanne. Mike takes full advantage of the situation, collects the money, and runs. During his getaway, things go wrong and soon get worse, when he runs into the real hitman, Lyle.
The plot of this movie is very similar to Oliver Stone’s U-Turn. You have a stranded drifter, stuck in a small town with no cash, who winds up taking money to murder another man’s wife. You also have everything going wrong at every turn. I think this movie does it better.
It’s not a big movie, but there is enough going on to sustain plenty of interest. It’s small town noir, with interesting characters, much like the Coen brother’s Blood Simple. It twists and turns and keeps a steady flow of suspense throughout. It also features Nicholas Cage, Laura Flynn Boyle, J.T. Walsh, and Dennis Hopper (in yet another good and sleazy performance). Dwight Yoakum also has a brief cameo as a matter-of-fact truck driver.
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#23    01-12-2007, 09:59 AM
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MY HORRORTHON THREAD
ENDED OCTOBER 31, 2009 AT 9:30PM. Still gotta finish the thread…sorry…
TOTAL MOVIES VIEWS FROM 10/1 TO 10/31: 122 !!!
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#24    01-12-2007, 10:00 AM
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Tromeo & Juliet
(1996 Directed by Lloyd Kaufman)
A surprisingly moving retelling of the Bard’s famous romantic tragedy in fine Troma fashion, complete with a Manhattan setting, gratuitous violence, body-piercing, and a hard-driving alternative soundtrack. Winner of the Raindance Audience Award.
What a delightfully fucked up movie this is. Most know the story of Romeo & Juliet. Well, throw in some punk rock, tattoos, lesbians, ultra-violence, incest, torture, Internet porn, and a penis monster, and you have Troma’s version. What’s surprising about this is that somehow, through all the bad taste and gore, this movie has a heart and soul. It’s also pretty damn funny.
This is one of the very best Troma movies. The screenplay was written by James Gunn, who also wrote the Dawn of the Dead remake and wrote and directed Slither. I’m a big James Gunn fan, and it all started with this movie.
One of the great things about Troma DVDs are the extras. They throw in everything and more. The commentaries are great for providing insight on low budget filmmaking AND they are always fun to listen to. You’ll also most likely find some bonus feature with Trey Parker and Matt Stone (South Park) and lots of naked women (for you pervs out there).
Not all Troma movies hit the mark. In fact, most are pretty fucking horrible. There are a few exceptions though, and this is one of them. When Troma does it right, nobody does bad taste better.
Phone sex, Joe Fleishaker style.
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#25    01-12-2007, 10:00 AM
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I have quite a few movies to check out from the list.
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#26    01-12-2007, 10:02 AM
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The Fly
(1986 Directed by David Cronenberg)
An update of the original horror classic about a brilliant scientist who develops a machine that molecularly transports objects in seconds, but inadvertently combines his DNA with that of a fly. Jeff Goldblum gives an outstanding performance as Seth Brundle, the heart-wrenching victim. Cronenberg’s classic won an Academy Award for Best Makeup.
One of my favorite horror movies ever. It’s intense, entertaining, well-acted, and absolutely disgusting. What’s not to love? Jeff Goldblum is perfect as Seth Brundle, the reclusive scientist who develops a way to teleport objects. Unfortunately, he decides to test his contraption on himself and, with the aid of a pesky housefly, the fun begins. At least the guy has a gorgeous woman (Geena Davis) to help him deal with his new “problems” but, once his insect side starts to take over, that relationship pretty much goes to hell, too.
This is a rare horror movie where there really is no villian (unless you count the housefly, I suppose). All the characters are normal folks, forced to deal with a horrific situation the best they can. The true horror here is Brundle’s transformation- body parts fall off left and right, and Brundle’s new style of digestion is wonderfully repulsive.
This is required viewing for any horror fan. I hear a re-make is being considered and I’m not sure why- this film holds up as beautifully today as it did in 1986, and the effects are still stomach-churning and top notch. Cronenberg was the perfect director for this film, I doubt a re-make will be capable of reproducing the gooey green beauty found here. A true horror classic!
Uh, someone pass me the bug spray.
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#27    01-12-2007, 10:05 AM
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Tromeo! Thats great!Thumbs up for The Fly.
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#28    01-12-2007, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pirate Steve
I have quite a few movies to check out from the list.
If you would like to add to it, go ahead. I’d like to see some other people’s choices.
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#29    01-12-2007, 10:10 AM
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The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th dimension.
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#30    01-12-2007, 10:11 AM
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Rubin & Ed
(1991 Directed by Trent Harris)
Yeah, shitty image. Not much available on this one.
Reclusive Rubin Farr teams up with vocal but unsuccessful multi-level salesman Ed Tuttle on a quest to bury Rubin’s dead cat in the “perfect spot.” Their trip takes them across Utah’s desert where they have run-ins with Ed’d ex-wife Rula and an elusive Andy Warhol critic.
This is a bizarre comedy that is outrageously funny and strange. It stars Crispin Glover (great actor, weird as ever in this) as Rubin, and Howard Hesseman as Ed. Ed is a traveling salesman who latches on to Rubin in a desparate attempt to make a sale. Rubin is a social outcast and shut-in, with a recently murdered cat, who agrees to accompany Ed to a seminar to prove to his mother that he can make friends. On the way, Rubin decides he must bury his cat out in the desert- and the two soon get lost.
I love this movie. Both Rubin and Ed are outstanding characters and Glover and Hesseman are pitch perfect in the roles. The whole movie is surreal and downright hilarious. This flick is a true cult classic. Those who are fortunate enough to have seen it know. It is wholly original, filled with quotable dialogue and sublime weirdness.
Unfortunately, this movie is not widely available on DVD. After years of searching, however, I have found the answer. I was lucky enough to have a chat with the director and discovered, to my astounding joy, that the movie IS available on DVD and isn’t too hard to come by. You see, Trent Harris himself produces the DVDs and will sell them to anyone interested. All you have to do is send him $25 and he’ll hook you up. If anybody out there would like a copy of this hilariously fucked up film, I will gladly provide you with Mr. Harris’ address and e-mail information.
If you can appreciate Crispin Glover, then you must see this. It is one of his best, no doubt! If you can appreciate a good bizarre, cult classic comedy, then you must see this. It is highly unique- and an experience you won’t soon forget!
Lost in the desert, Rubin searches for the pefect spot to bury
his murdered cat (stashed in the cooler).

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre part 2(1986 Directed by Tobe Hooper)

In this sequel to the horror classic, Dennis Hopper plays a former Texas Ranger determined to avenge his murdered family by hunting down Leatherface and his brethren. His trail leads him to caverns of death where victims are the ingredients in a nightmarish enterprise. Body parts and self-referential jokes fly, as the crazed lawman, who’s almost as wacked as the villains he’s stalking, heads toward the final, blood-soaked showdown.
This is an excellent sequel to the horror classic original. This time, however, the movie focuses more on gruesome gore and twisted black humor. Now, I’m not saying that this movie is better because of that, only that this movie has a different tone. Both films are horror classics, and are the only worthy entries in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series.
I saw this movie before I saw the original. It was then, and is now, one of the scariest movies I’ve ever had the pleasure of viewing. Perhaps I shouldn’t use the word scary, it doesn’t quite do the movie justice. This movie made me nervous, and I’ll tell you why…
Bill Moseley. Bill Moseley plays Chop Top, brother to loved psycho Leatherface. His prescence in this movie is unnerving. So unnerving, in fact, that he scares me more than his chainsaw wielding brother.
If I am to be murdered by a psycho, give me Michael Myers. Give me Jason. Give me Leatherface. Give me a killer so intent on killing that they don’t screw around- let them dispatch me quickly and easily. Don’t toy with me. Chop Top likes to toy with people. He likes to laugh maniacly while he cracks sick jokes and puts a flame to that rusty hanger he uses to scrape flesh from around that metal plate in his head. You just know any second he’s going to pull out a hammer to bash in your brains- and the anticipation is nerve wracking. He’s like a cat toying with a mouse. Just kill me already and GET IT OVER WITH! I truly find the anticipation of death infinitely more horrifying than death itself, and Chop Top plays on that fear perfectly.
My absolute favorite moment in this movie (and one of my favorite horror movie moments of all time) occurs close to the beginning. DJ Stretch (Caroline Williams) is being toyed with by Chop Top. He’s chuckling and nibbling on that skin he’s been scraping off his head, asking her questions and making obnoxious comments. He heads over to a small room, asks what’s inside, flips on the light and BAM!, at that exact moment, Leatherface bursts from the room with his chainsaw roaring. It gets me every time. It is one of the greatest unexpected shock scares EVER.
The rest of the movie is equally relentless. So much so that watching the movie is quite a draining experience.
Did I mention that it was funny? Oh yes, there are several hilarious moments- but the humor is sick, twisted, dark, and sticky.
This movie is also notable for Dennis Hopper’s role as a vengeance seeking Texas Ranger who arms himself with dual chainsaws.
This is definitely not a movie for everybody- but for scares, black humor, gore (by master horror SFX man Tom Savini), and pure relentlessness, I recommend this highly.

Bill Moseley as Chop Top-also known as Otis Driftwoodin the Devil’s Rejects & Houseof 1000 Corpses.
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#4    01-12-2007, 09:26 AM   labrazio  the HessianJoin Date: Jun 2006Location: walking the Earth, collecting headsPosts: 1,367   Ed Wood(1994 Directed by Tim Burton)

You are interested in the unknown. The mysterious. The unexplainable. That is why you are here. And now, for the first time, we are bringing to you the full story of what happened, on that fateful day. We are giving you all the evidence, based only on a secret testimony, of the miserable souls, who survived this terrifying ordeal. The incidents, the places. My friend, we cannot keep this a secret any longer. Can your heart stand the shocking facts about Edward D. Wood, Jr?
Tim Burton’s masterpiece. Yes, he has created some brilliant work (Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow, Batman, Beetlejuice, Nightmare Before Christmas), but this movie is damn near perfect.
It is the true story of Edward D. Wood Jr.(played by Johnny Depp), a low budget film director who saw his visions through to the very end, regardless of criticism, and subsequently became known as one of the worst directors of all time. The bulk of the movie focuses on his relationship with Bela Lugosi (Martin Landau) and his creation of the cult classic ‘Worst Movie of all Time’, Plan 9 From Outer Space.
The movie is loaded with great actors- Johnny Depp, Sarah Jessica Parker, Bill Murray, Jeffrey Jones, Patricia Arquette, and Vincent D’Onofrio (in a cool cameo as Orson Welles). It is, however, Martin Landau that steals every scene he is in as the heroin addicted Bela Lugosi (who won an Oscar for his hilariously bitter performance). His relationship with Ed Wood is the heart and soul of the movie and, while it is never sappy, it is deeply touching.
A perfect blend of humor, pain, truth, and Angora sweaters- this flick is essential viewing.
Also- be sure not to miss Plan 9 From Outer Space, a movie so goddamn awful that it’s brilliant. The movie that defines the phrase, “It’s so bad it’s good.” Follow up Ed Wood with this classic, and have yourself one hell of a great movie night.

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#5    01-12-2007, 09:29 AM   labrazio  the HessianJoin Date: Jun 2006Location: walking the Earth, collecting headsPosts: 1,367   Quote:Originally Posted by vahauser BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA
One of my favorites, too. Great choice.
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#6    01-12-2007, 09:30 AM   labrazio  the HessianJoin Date: Jun 2006Location: walking the Earth, collecting headsPosts: 1,367   Wild At Heart(1990 Directed by David Lynch)

Young lovers Sailor and Lula take off for New Orleans following Sailor’s release from prison- with Lula’s hysterical mother, a weary detective, and a sinister hitman after them. During their journey, Lula and Sailor relate the events of their lives to date, while encountering a typical gallery of Lynch grotesques. After being stranded in a small town, Sailor agrees to join the loathsome Bobby Peru in a criminal venture.
This is my favorite David Lynch film. It combines several elements that I love- road movies, Elvis, black humor, graphic violence, fairy tales, themes of individuality, sex, smoking, hit men, Sherilyn Fenn, and redemption.
It’s the story of Sailor Ripley (Nicholas Cage) and Lula Fortune (Laura Dern) two young lovers who want nothing more than to be with each other. Unfortunately, Lula’s mother, Marietta (played by Dern’s real life mom Diane Ladd), wants nothing of the sort. As the movie begins, she sends a hit man to deal with Sailor- who, in turn, violently dispatches the hit man with swift and blinding violence. Off to prison Sailor goes.
Upon his release, Sailor hooks back up with Lula and they hit the road- to the dismay of Lula’s vengeful mother, who sends out her detective boyfriend (the always great Harry Dean Stanton) and some hit men to deal with the situation. What follows is bizarre David Lynch beauty.
What a great flick. Not only does it have a truly excellent story, but within the story are tons of unforgettable characters, played by the likes of Isabella Rossellini, Crispin Glover, Sherilyn Fenn, Jack Nance, and Willem Dafoe. I especially love Crispin Glover in this as Cousin Dell- Lula’s cousin who really likes Christmas and placing cockroaches in interesting places. I also have to mention that Willenm Dafoe is superb in this as Bobby Peru, one of the most vile and sleazy bastards to ever grace the silver screen.
This movie is graphic in all kinds of delicious ways. The running Wizard of Oz undercurrent also adds to its unique Lynch flavor. No David Lynch fan should miss this one! Also features a most delectable soundtrack.

This here’s a snake skin jacket. It’s a symbol of my individuality and belief in personal freedom.
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#7    01-12-2007, 09:32 AM   labrazio  the HessianJoin Date: Jun 2006Location: walking the Earth, collecting headsPosts: 1,367   River’s Edge(1986 Directed by Tim Hunter)

A high school slacker kills his girlfriend and shows off her dead body to his friends. However, the friends’ reaction is almost as ambiguous and perplexing as the crime itself.
This is a great movie, highly deserving of its cult status. The story is excellent, and the characters (notably the ones played Crispin Glover and Dennis Hopper) are well developed and very interesting.
The story focuses on a group of friends in a small town- it seems that one of them, Samson (Daniel Roebuck), has just murdered his girlfriend- and left her by the river’s edge. He has no problem telling his friends about the murder, going so far as to show them the body. His friends are shocked, but remain pretty apathetic. Throughout the day, friends within the circle question their loyalties and, ultimately, their responsibility in dealing with the whole sordid affair.
Crispin Glover steals the show in this one. He plays Layne, the dominant leader of the circle of friends, who believes in loyalty above all else. Layne is hilarious- quirky and weird, just as you would expect from Glover. I truly believe it is is performance that elevates this movie to cult status. Following close behind is Dennis Hopper as Feck, the local drug dealer with skeletons in his closet and a blow-up doll by his side. Hopper fans should not miss this one! Also in the film are Keanu Reeves (doing an excellent job here) as Matt- one of the few friends who is seriously troubled by the murder (whoa), and Ione Skye as Clarissa- another friend in the group who was also well aquainted with the murdered girl.
Though the movie works exceptionally well as a dark drama, it is also freakin’ hilarious. As I said before, Crispin Glover steals the show as the eccentric Layne. The movie is worth seeing for him alone. His performance is not overbearing- it never detracts from the dark and somber atmosphere of the film, but it sure does add zest.
There is an extreme rip-off of this movie called the Liars Club, which is total watered-down crap, stars Wil Wheaton, and should be avoided at all costs. River’s Edge is original, superbly acted, and is one of those movies that will stay with you long after the credits roll.
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#8    01-12-2007, 09:34 AM   labrazio  the HessianJoin Date: Jun 2006Location: walking the Earth, collecting headsPosts: 1,367   Heathers(1989 Directed by Michael Lehmann)

Three high school girls named Heather run an elite social clique at their high school. One of their anointees, Veronica, isn’t sure she wants to fit into the clique, particularly when she has to snub some of her old friends at the Heathers’ behest. When Veronica meets the new guy at school, she starts pulling away from the clique- soon afterwards some of the more popular students start showing up dead with suicide notes.
This is my favorite teen high school comedy. It’s the anti-John Hughes. The humor is blacker than black, and I love every minute of it.
It concerns Veronica (Winona Ryder), a foxy chick who has just become one of the Heathers (three girls, all named Heather, who are the most popular girls in the school). Veronica enjoys the popularity, but soon realizes her new friends are cruel, superficial bitches. She finds sanctuary with the new guy in school, J.D. (Christian Slater), a loner with point blank methods of dealing with unpleasant people. Before she knows it, Veronica is part of a murder spree- and in over her head with the murderous J.D.
Veronica Sawyer: It’s one thing to want someone out of your life, but it’s another thing to serve them a wake-up cup full of liquid drainer.
Great movie. It’s hilarious and sinister and carries with it the timeless message of accepting people for who they are, regardless of their looks or social standing. Christian Slater delivers his best Jack Nicholson impersonation and is wonderfully psychotic. Winona Ryder is excellent as well.
This movie has achieved cult classic status, and it is well deserved. It is often imitated, but nothing yet has come close to delivering anything near Heathers’ black comic genius.
I love Winona.
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#9    01-12-2007, 09:34 AM   andarsoninflame  .Join Date: Mar 2006Location: Cop cars on every corner( We’re crawling home)Posts: 17,104   will any Russ Meyers films make it on this list? __________________
favorite films-IYPC-Icine.org / Matchcutmyspace15K/11K-A double list
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#10    01-12-2007, 09:35 AM   labrazio  the HessianJoin Date: Jun 2006Location: walking the Earth, collecting headsPosts: 1,367   Ted Bundy(2002 Directed by Matthew Bright)

How to pick up chicks, Bundy style.
Docu-drama based on the life of Ted Bundy, a serial killer who killed at least 19 young women during the 1970’s (though some sources say as many as 30 to 35 were murdered). Set from his college student years, to his first victims, his capture, escape from prison (twice), his final killing spree to his trial, conviction and execution.
If you’re familiar with director Matthew Bright (Freeway), then you may be prepared for this. As brutal and disturbing as this movie can be, it is also hilarious. After watching a couple of other (horrible) true-life serial killer movies (Ed Gein, Dahmer, and Gacy), I wasn’t expecting much. As it turned out, Ted Bundy was the exception.
The movie is filled with dark humor, most of which provided by the deviant behavior of Mr. Bundy himself. The beginning of this film is sure to have you laughing as it follows Ted spending his day talking to himself, shoplifting, and peeping in windows. However, the movie soon drifts from humorous to disturbing when Ted discovers his true passion. There are some truly graphic moments of brutal violence in this movie that may make a few folks seriously uncomfortable. Ted just wasn’t a very nice guy.
The DVD features a commentary by the director, who provides plenty of Ted Bundy facts along the way (for those interested in that sort of thing). The film also contains a Tom Savini cameo (which scores it bonus points in my book), as well as Michael Reilly Burke’s excellent, chilling portrayal of the title character. Ted Bundy is certainly worth a look. It may have you looking away during a few of the more intense scenes, but you can rest easy knowing the son-of-a-bitch gets what he deserves (in the most humiliating of ways).
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#11    01-12-2007, 09:36 AM   Pirate Steve  Super-Supernatural.Join Date: May 2006Location: Keyboard being a cliche.Posts: 16,089   Good list, I really like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre part 2. __________________We Came, we saw, we kicked its ass.
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#12    01-12-2007, 09:40 AM   labrazio  the HessianJoin Date: Jun 2006Location: walking the Earth, collecting headsPosts: 1,367   Quote:Originally Posted by andarsoninflame will any Russ Meyers films make it on this list?
Definitely. If you would like to add one, feel free. I see Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! coming up soon.
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#13    01-12-2007, 09:42 AM   labrazio  the HessianJoin Date: Jun 2006Location: walking the Earth, collecting headsPosts: 1,367   Running Scared(2006 Directed by Wayne Kramer)

Joey Gazelle (Paul Walker) is a low level mob flunkie who is told to dispose of a gun used for killing some dirty cops. Joey, however, hides the gun in the drywall of his basement instead of tossing it into the river. When Joey’s 10 year-old son (Alex Neuberger) and his best friend, Oleg (Cameron Bright), witness Joey hiding the gun, Oleg steals it — a snub-nosed .38 — and shoots his abusive stepfather (Karel Roden). Things would be bad enough if the stepfather didn’t happen to be the nephew of a psychotic Russian mob boss (John Noble)… who happens to be in business with Joey’s crew on a gasoline scam. But now Joey’s also got the surviving dirty cop (Chazz Palminteri) from the botched drug deal on his case… and that hot .38 out there on the street, changing hands in an underworld of freaks, pimps, hookers and pedophiles. As well as Oleg, who can connect Joey to the gun. And even if Joey can make it through the night, he’s still got to answer to his wife (Vera Farmiga)…
The movie I never wanted to watch. I never cared for Paul Walker. I’d almost go so far as to say I can’t stand the man. To me, this movie had “crap” written all over it. Well, one night at the video store I decided to give it a chance. I’m not sure why, but I’m glad I did.
It would be a mistake to take this movie too seriously. Reality is not a factor here. This flick is all about momentum and reaction. It starts out with a bang (or two) and never lets up. The story itself is a thinly disguised urban fairytale, full of gritty action and loathsome characters. The whole thing goes way over the top, and keeps on going, in a frenzy.
The intensity and insanity of this movie alone makes it a worthy recommendation. Its extreme content may offend some, but it certainly is never boring. This is the type of film that you’ll either really love, or really despise, with a passion. It’s pure trash cinema, but what wonderful trash it is.
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#14    01-12-2007, 09:43 AM   dismal_dream  The Wicker ManJoin Date: Dec 2005Location: SummerislePosts: 1,291   Flesh for Frankenstein owns this thread. __________________IYPC-HAIL LORD XENUTop 15 Favorites
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#15    01-12-2007, 09:44 AM   labrazio  the HessianJoin Date: Jun 2006Location: walking the Earth, collecting headsPosts: 1,367   Irreversible(2002 Directed by Gaspar Noe’)

Events over the course of one traumatic night in Paris unfold in reverse-chronological order as the beautiful Alex (Monica Bellucci) is brutally raped and beaten by a stranger in the underpass. Her boyfriend and ex-lover take matters into their own hands by hiring two criminals to help them find the rapist so that they can exact revenge. A simultaneously beautiful and terrible examination of the destructive nature of cause and effect, and how time destroys everything.
Monica Bellucci and her real-life guy Vincent Cassel star in this dark and disturbing look at cause and effect. This movie starts out in hell, and slowly and surely draws back to a better place. It’s of no consequence, however, since the images presented are so graphic and bleak that the bright and sunny moments of the film do little to erase what has gone before.
This movie is fucked up. It contains two of the most graphic and disturbing scenes I have ever seen, ever. Once you have viewed either of these scenes they will stay with you for quite some time. I have only seen this movie once, and I never plan on seeing it again. This does not mean the movie is bad, it just means it’s not something you’d want to re-visit again and again. As the movie begins, the camera twists and sways in a sickening motion, accompanied by some seriously creepy music. Here we see two gentlemen pushing their way through a sleazy sex club called the Rectum. What follows is probably one of the sickest looking acts of violence you will ever set eyes on, and the camera doesn’t flinch for a moment. Later on, the camera remains still once again during a brutal and explicit scene featuring Bellucci and a bastard Frenchman known as la Tenia (the tapeworm).
This is not an easy movie to watch, nor is it a movie everyone should watch. However, it is an experience and it will stay with you for days afterward. Is it worth it? I’m not sure, but I won’t be forgetting this movie anytime soon.
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#16    01-12-2007, 09:46 AM   labrazio  the HessianJoin Date: Jun 2006Location: walking the Earth, collecting headsPosts: 1,367   Quote:Originally Posted by dismal_dream Flesh for Frankenstein owns this thread.
I haven’t seen that one.
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#17    01-12-2007, 09:47 AM   labrazio  the HessianJoin Date: Jun 2006Location: walking the Earth, collecting headsPosts: 1,367   Videodrome(1983 Directed by David Cronenberg)

Lowlife cable TV operator Max Renn discovers a “snuff TV” broadcast called Videodrome. But Videodrome is more than a TV show – it’s an experiment that uses regular TV transmissions to permanently alter the viewer’s perceptions. Max is caught in the middle of the forces that created Videodrome, and the forces that want to control it, his body itself turning into the ultimate weapon to fight them.
This movie will blow your mind. It’s one of Cronenberg’s best, and it’s pretty bizarre from start to finish. I think all of us have experienced Videodrome in one way or another. I myself can relate to the image above, where Max Renn (played by James Woods) is tripping balls and placing his face into his television screen. I’m not talking about relating to tripping balls (which I guess I could), but actually getting so involved in television or movies or what-have-you that it blends with you and becomes part of what you are (altering your very mind in the process). In that respect, Videodrome is very, very, real. Luckily, the side effects of my addiction do not cause huge vaginal-like openings to erupt on my abdomen. Max Renn is not so fortunate.
This movie also features Blondie singer Deborah Harry as a kinky S&M chick who develops a dangerous Videodrome fetish. It’s good stuff. There is a Criterion version of this film which is absolutely amazing. If you know Criterion, you know they provide extra features even on the extra features. This film is a must-have for any Cronenberg fan, as well as those with a taste for the bizarre or even good sci-fi.
Long live the new flesh.
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#18    01-12-2007, 09:50 AM   labrazio  the HessianJoin Date: Jun 2006Location: walking the Earth, collecting headsPosts: 1,367   Paradise Lost:The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills(1996 Directed by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky)

Berlinger and Sinofsky’s documentary of a gruesome triple murder in West Memphis, Arkansas, and the subsequent trials of three suspects, takes a hard look at both the occult and the American justice system in small-town America. Three teenagers are accused of the horrific crime of killing three children, supposedly as a result of involvement in Satanism. Things turn out to be more complex than initial appearances; this film presents the real-life courtroom drama to the viewer as it unfolds.
This is the very best documentary I have ever seen. It tells of a gruesome crime- the murder and mutilation of three young boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. Three teenagers are accused of the crime and, because of their interest in the occult and heavy metal music, it seems their fate is sealed. Impossible to look away from, this documentary will keep you riveted from start to finish. This thing is sinister, and plays out like a horror movie.
Honestly, stay the fuck out of Arkansas. This film is frightening for three reasons: 1) the ghastly crime 2) the fact that these three guys are convicted with little to no evidence- that they listen to Metallica and read Aleister Crowley is enough to condemn them for life 3) the person who should be the prime suspect is not. He is featured several times in the documentary, and you will find yourself saying, “There he is! That’s the real murderer! Why the fuck don’t they get him?” more than once. How this guy gets to still walk among us is beyond me. Yeah, he’s in Arkansas. Watch out.
I promise you, if you start to watch this you will be lost to it until the end. It will creep you out and offend your sense of justice. What more could you ask for?
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#19    01-12-2007, 09:55 AM   labrazio  the HessianJoin Date: Jun 2006Location: walking the Earth, collecting headsPosts: 1,367   Lifeforce(1985 Directed by Tobe Hooper)

I am naked. You cannot stop me.
A space shuttle mission investigating Halley’s Comet brings back a malevolent race of space vampires who transform most of London’s population into zombies. The only survivor of the expedition and British authorities attempt to capture a mysterious but beautiful alien woman who appears responsible.
If you can get through that synopsis, then you can enjoy this movie. It’s a perfect choice for the midnight show. It may have no logic, but it sure is entertaining. The fact that every character in the film takes things so seriously, no matter how insane or bizarre, is fun in its own right.
This film has three things going for it. The first is the whole, insane, plot. It’s ridiculous, yet it’s played dead serious. It will have you asking, “What the fuck could possibly happen next?”, in a good way. The second thing to look forward to is Patrick Stewart. Captain Picard has a few insane moments of his own, which he delivers in his trademark style. The third (and possibly greatest) thing about this movie is Mathilda May. She plays the lead space vampire, and what a stunning performance it is. She’s a beauty, this one, and she spends most of her time bare-ass naked. This is why she cannot be stopped. She is too naked. She is too foxy. You cannot resist. It’s shallow, yes, but these shallow waters are held in the Fountain of Truth.
Space vampires, naked women, and zombies. It’s worth it.
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#20    01-12-2007, 09:55 AM   dismal_dream  The Wicker ManJoin Date: Dec 2005Location: SummerislePosts: 1,291   [QUOTE=labrazio]Videodrome(1983 Directed by David Cronenberg)QUOTE]Cronenberg’s best!  __________________IYPC-HAIL LORD XENUTop 15 Favorites
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#21    01-12-2007, 09:57 AM   labrazio  the HessianJoin Date: Jun 2006Location: walking the Earth, collecting headsPosts: 1,367   Blood: The Last Vampire(2000 Directed by Hiroyuki Kitakubo)

Japan, 1966. Saya is part of a secret team who destroy demons. She is sent undercover as a student at the Yokota Air Base in Fussa-shi, Tokyo, just before Halloween. She discovers that two of her classmates are vampires in disguise just as they are preparing to attack the school nurse; meanwhile, her colleagues have discovered another vampire acting as a bartender in the local red-light district. A spectacular battle ensues.
I haven’t seen a lot of anime’. I’m limited to Ghost in the Shell, Ninja Scroll, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Akira, and Blood: The Last Vampire. Blood is my favorite (right next to Ghost in the Shell). It’s fast and furious and amazing to look at. There is never a dull moment. The soundtrack adds beautifully to the mounting tension. The demons are fucking scary.
I’ve shown this to many people, most of whom don’t care for anime’ or movies of this nature, and they’ve all loved it. I’ve never heard a negative thing about it, other than that it’s too short (It’s a little under an hour). It’s so good and intense that it breezes by much too quickly. It also holds up well under repeat repeat viewings.
Saya (the demon slayer) is a great character. She only says what is necessary. She’s always moving towards her target. She does not hesitate to draw her sword and slice chunks from her enemies.
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#22    01-12-2007, 09:59 AM   labrazio  the HessianJoin Date: Jun 2006Location: walking the Earth, collecting headsPosts: 1,367   Red Rock West(1992 Directed by John Dahl)

When a promised job for Texan Michael fails to materialize in Wyoming, Mike is mistaken by Wayne to be the hitman Wayne hired to kill his unfaithful wife, Suzanne. Mike takes full advantage of the situation, collects the money, and runs. During his getaway, things go wrong and soon get worse, when he runs into the real hitman, Lyle.
The plot of this movie is very similar to Oliver Stone’s U-Turn. You have a stranded drifter, stuck in a small town with no cash, who winds up taking money to murder another man’s wife. You also have everything going wrong at every turn. I think this movie does it better.
It’s not a big movie, but there is enough going on to sustain plenty of interest. It’s small town noir, with interesting characters, much like the Coen brother’s Blood Simple. It twists and turns and keeps a steady flow of suspense throughout. It also features Nicholas Cage, Laura Flynn Boyle, J.T. Walsh, and Dennis Hopper (in yet another good and sleazy performance). Dwight Yoakum also has a brief cameo as a matter-of-fact truck driver.
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#23    01-12-2007, 09:59 AM   radioman970  Bear, Goldie, Scooter…(repeat)Join Date: Mar 2002Location: Greaving over another 4-legged loss. Posts: 23,230   *puts 12 bags of microwave popcorn in the oven and sets on “high”* __________________RIP ‘Dusty’-I’ll miss you my little friend. Died suddenly of parvovirus on 1/18/2010.
INFO ON PARVO (click if you’re a dog owner)—————————————–
MY HORRORTHON THREAD
ENDED OCTOBER 31, 2009 AT 9:30PM. Still gotta finish the thread…sorry…
TOTAL MOVIES VIEWS FROM 10/1 TO 10/31: 122 !!!
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#24    01-12-2007, 10:00 AM   labrazio  the HessianJoin Date: Jun 2006Location: walking the Earth, collecting headsPosts: 1,367   Tromeo & Juliet(1996 Directed by Lloyd Kaufman)

A surprisingly moving retelling of the Bard’s famous romantic tragedy in fine Troma fashion, complete with a Manhattan setting, gratuitous violence, body-piercing, and a hard-driving alternative soundtrack. Winner of the Raindance Audience Award.
What a delightfully fucked up movie this is. Most know the story of Romeo & Juliet. Well, throw in some punk rock, tattoos, lesbians, ultra-violence, incest, torture, Internet porn, and a penis monster, and you have Troma’s version. What’s surprising about this is that somehow, through all the bad taste and gore, this movie has a heart and soul. It’s also pretty damn funny.
This is one of the very best Troma movies. The screenplay was written by James Gunn, who also wrote the Dawn of the Dead remake and wrote and directed Slither. I’m a big James Gunn fan, and it all started with this movie.
One of the great things about Troma DVDs are the extras. They throw in everything and more. The commentaries are great for providing insight on low budget filmmaking AND they are always fun to listen to. You’ll also most likely find some bonus feature with Trey Parker and Matt Stone (South Park) and lots of naked women (for you pervs out there).
Not all Troma movies hit the mark. In fact, most are pretty fucking horrible. There are a few exceptions though, and this is one of them. When Troma does it right, nobody does bad taste better.

Phone sex, Joe Fleishaker style.
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#25    01-12-2007, 10:00 AM   Pirate Steve  Super-Supernatural.Join Date: May 2006Location: Keyboard being a cliche.Posts: 16,089   I have quite a few movies to check out from the list. __________________We Came, we saw, we kicked its ass.
——————————————————————————–Last edited by Pirate Steve; 01-12-2007 at 10:01 AM.
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#26    01-12-2007, 10:02 AM   labrazio  the HessianJoin Date: Jun 2006Location: walking the Earth, collecting headsPosts: 1,367   The Fly(1986 Directed by David Cronenberg)

An update of the original horror classic about a brilliant scientist who develops a machine that molecularly transports objects in seconds, but inadvertently combines his DNA with that of a fly. Jeff Goldblum gives an outstanding performance as Seth Brundle, the heart-wrenching victim. Cronenberg’s classic won an Academy Award for Best Makeup.
One of my favorite horror movies ever. It’s intense, entertaining, well-acted, and absolutely disgusting. What’s not to love? Jeff Goldblum is perfect as Seth Brundle, the reclusive scientist who develops a way to teleport objects. Unfortunately, he decides to test his contraption on himself and, with the aid of a pesky housefly, the fun begins. At least the guy has a gorgeous woman (Geena Davis) to help him deal with his new “problems” but, once his insect side starts to take over, that relationship pretty much goes to hell, too.
This is a rare horror movie where there really is no villian (unless you count the housefly, I suppose). All the characters are normal folks, forced to deal with a horrific situation the best they can. The true horror here is Brundle’s transformation- body parts fall off left and right, and Brundle’s new style of digestion is wonderfully repulsive.
This is required viewing for any horror fan. I hear a re-make is being considered and I’m not sure why- this film holds up as beautifully today as it did in 1986, and the effects are still stomach-churning and top notch. Cronenberg was the perfect director for this film, I doubt a re-make will be capable of reproducing the gooey green beauty found here. A true horror classic!

Uh, someone pass me the bug spray.
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#27    01-12-2007, 10:05 AM   dismal_dream  The Wicker ManJoin Date: Dec 2005Location: SummerislePosts: 1,291   Tromeo! Thats great!Thumbs up for The Fly. __________________IYPC-HAIL LORD XENUTop 15 Favorites
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#28    01-12-2007, 10:09 AM   labrazio  the HessianJoin Date: Jun 2006Location: walking the Earth, collecting headsPosts: 1,367   Quote:Originally Posted by Pirate Steve I have quite a few movies to check out from the list.
If you would like to add to it, go ahead. I’d like to see some other people’s choices.
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#29    01-12-2007, 10:10 AM   silent roger  Growing MemberJoin Date: Sep 2006Location: WhitefallPosts: 126   The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th dimension.
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#30    01-12-2007, 10:11 AM   labrazio  the HessianJoin Date: Jun 2006Location: walking the Earth, collecting headsPosts: 1,367   Rubin & Ed(1991 Directed by Trent Harris)

Yeah, shitty image. Not much available on this one.
Reclusive Rubin Farr teams up with vocal but unsuccessful multi-level salesman Ed Tuttle on a quest to bury Rubin’s dead cat in the “perfect spot.” Their trip takes them across Utah’s desert where they have run-ins with Ed’d ex-wife Rula and an elusive Andy Warhol critic.
This is a bizarre comedy that is outrageously funny and strange. It stars Crispin Glover (great actor, weird as ever in this) as Rubin, and Howard Hesseman as Ed. Ed is a traveling salesman who latches on to Rubin in a desparate attempt to make a sale. Rubin is a social outcast and shut-in, with a recently murdered cat, who agrees to accompany Ed to a seminar to prove to his mother that he can make friends. On the way, Rubin decides he must bury his cat out in the desert- and the two soon get lost.
I love this movie. Both Rubin and Ed are outstanding characters and Glover and Hesseman are pitch perfect in the roles. The whole movie is surreal and downright hilarious. This flick is a true cult classic. Those who are fortunate enough to have seen it know. It is wholly original, filled with quotable dialogue and sublime weirdness.
Unfortunately, this movie is not widely available on DVD. After years of searching, however, I have found the answer. I was lucky enough to have a chat with the director and discovered, to my astounding joy, that the movie IS available on DVD and isn’t too hard to come by. You see, Trent Harris himself produces the DVDs and will sell them to anyone interested. All you have to do is send him $25 and he’ll hook you up. If anybody out there would like a copy of this hilariously fucked up film, I will gladly provide you with Mr. Harris’ address and e-mail information.
If you can appreciate Crispin Glover, then you must see this. It is one of his best, no doubt! If you can appreciate a good bizarre, cult classic comedy, then you must see this. It is highly unique- and an experience you won’t soon forget!

Lost in the desert, Rubin searches for the pefect spot to buryhis murdered cat (stashed in the cooler).


execution of dhananjoy

A man convicted of raping and killing a schoolgirl 14 years ago has been executed in India.

It is the country’s first execution since 1995.

Dhananjoy Chatterjee, 39, was hanged at dawn at the Alipore Central Jail in Calcutta where he had spent the last 13 years in solitary confinement.

Chatterjee was convicted for the 1990 rape and murder of 16-year-old Hetal Parekh, who lived in the building where he worked as a security guard.

“Dhananjoy Chatterjee was hanged at 0430 (2330 GMT),” Inspector General of Prisons Joydeb Chakraborty told reporters.

Chatterjee’s family did not collect his body for cremation

inputs from bbc

——————————————————————

Dhananjoy hanged to death


Hangman Nata Mallik, who complained of uneasiness after hanging Dhananjoy in Kolkata on Saturday is brought in an ambulance to his residence. His son (extreme left), who assisted him to hang Dhananjoy, is also seen in the picture. — PTI photo

Kolkata, August 14
Dhananjoy Chatterjee, the rapist and killer of 14-year-old schoolgirl Hetal Parekh, was hanged to death today at Alipore Central Jail sharp at 4-30 in the morning, ending a prolonged chapter of legal battle over his crime and punishment, his life and death.

It also ended the continuing hopes, anxieties and agonies of Dhananjoy’s parents, wife and other relatives at their remote Kuldihi village home in Bankura, about 200 km from here.

Dhananjoy was subsequently cremated at the Keoratala burning ghat in Kalighat, south Kolkata under heavy police escort. None of his family members was present either at the Alipore jail or the Keoratala burning ghat.

Students offer prayer in front of Hetal Parekh’s photo on the campus of Welland Goldsmith School after Dhananjay was hanged to death at Alipore Central Jail in Kolkata on Saturday. — PTI photo

Dhananjoy’s last wishes of donating his eyes and kidneys for the cause of humanity, however, could not be fulfilled as “no objection” to this act, had not been obtained at the last moment from his family, the IG (Prison), Mr Jaidev Chakraborty regretted.

He said Dhananjoy was perfectly in good spirits and there was no resistance from his side when he had been brought to the gallows and put on the deck for hanging.

He kept silent all through as if he had been reconciled with the situation. However, at the penultimate moment, he became a bit philosophical and was heard saying, “Oh God, let there be good to all,’’ the IG said describing Dhananjoy’s last moments.

Dhananjoy had a sound sleep last night after he had been administered a heavy dose of sleeping injection. He had his supper with roti, fish curry and vegetables. At noon during lunch he had been served with rice, fish, fried vegetables and dahi as desired by him.

Throughout the day till late evening, Dhananjoy listened to Anup Jalota’s bhajans and Manna Dey’s songs on a tape-recorder which the jail authorities had arranged for him as he wished. But most of the time, he maintained a deep silence. He wanted to write something to his parents and wife on the postcards supplied to him, but he could not complete his writing.

The hangman, Nata Mallick, declared soon after the hanging that it was his last act as hangman.

Eightyfour-year-old Mallick, who had so far acted as hangman in 25 cases since Independence, will now start a new livelihood by selling puja items on the streets near a Kali temple.

Dhananjoy did not resist at the time of being hanged, but some human rights organisations, including the APDR, brought out a protest march from South Kolkata to Alipore Central Jail last night, demanding the suspension of his death penalty.

On the other hand, teachers and students of Well & Goldsmith School, of which Hetal was a student, today held a prayer meeting inside the school campus in the memory of Hetal as well as Dhananjoy. At the remote village home in Bankura, Dhananjoy’s parents and other family members spent silent hours, refusing to meet and talk to outsiders.

(published onAugust 15, 2004, THE TRIBUNE)