"What is a cult film? A cult film is one that has a passionate following, but does not appeal to everyone. James Bond movies are not cult films, but chainsaw movies are. Just because a film has become a cult movie does not automatically guarantee quality. Some are very bad; others are very, very good. Some make an awful lot of money at the box office; others make no money at all. Some are considered quality films; others are exploitation movies. One thing cult movies do have in common is that they are all genre films - for example gangster films or westerns. They also have a tendency to slosh over from one genre into another, so that a science fiction film might also be a detective movie, or vice versa. They share common themes as well, themes that are found in all drama: love, murder and greed." - of the British TV film slots accompanied by an introduction perhaps the most celebrated is Moviedrome, running between 1988 and 2000 and presented first by Repo Man director Alex Cox and then film critic Mark Cousins. [more inside]
From Vanity Fair, The Murder Hustle: In 1988, 'When businessman Gene Hanson died in a California doctor's office, his partner, John Hawkins, a former Studio 54 bartender, got $1 million in insurance. Nine months later, Hanson was caught in Texas with a new face and a new name, Wolfgang Von Snowden. He and the doctor are awaiting trial for murder. Hawkins, a scam artist and sex addict, has disappeared with the money. Ann Louise Bardach investigates three double lives in the business community of Columbus, Ohio, the Genet underground of West Hollywood, and the luxury condos of Miami's Biscayne Bay.' Part 1. [more inside]
"The truth about the Fast and Furious scandal: A Fortune investigation reveals that the ATF never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. How the world came to believe just the opposite is a tale of rivalry, murder, and political bloodlust." [more inside]
The Ax Murderer Who Got Away - Shortly after midnight on June 10, 1912—one hundred years ago this week—a stranger hefting an ax lifted the latch on the back door of a two-story timber house in the little Iowa town of Villisca. [more inside]
"There was a time when the woods near Duva ate girls. It’s been many years since any child was taken. But still, on nights like these, when the wind comes cold from Tsibeya, mothers hold their daughters tight and warn them not to stray too far from home. “Be back before dark,” they whisper. “The trees are hungry tonight.” Tor.com brings us some short horror/fairy tale fiction from Leigh Bardugo, "The Witch of Duva: A Ravkan Folk Tale."
Body parts suspect the focus of international manhunt. [cbc.ca] The search for Luka Rocco Magnotta, the 29-year-old suspect in the grisly slaying and dismemberment of a victim whose body parts were sent in the mail, has now spread beyond Canada. [thestar.com] Who is Luka Rocco Magnotta? Luka Rocco Magnotta dated Karla Homolka (Canadian serial killer), police confirm. [nationalpost.com]
Los Tocayos Carlos - a comprehensive investigation by Columbia Law School Professor James Liebman and a team of students which uncovers evidence that Carlos DeLuna, a poor Hispanic man with childlike intelligence who was executed in Texas in 1989, was innocent. The issue of The Columbia Human Rights Law Review, entirely dedicated to this investigation, is available at this website.
If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try, try, try, try again: black Mississippi man tried six times for the same crime.
Between 40 and 50 percent of female homicide victims are killed by their husbands, boyfriends, and exes. And, for about half of these victims, police had been alerted to previous incidents of abuse. There is, however, one exception to this grim trend: Maryland. Since 2007, domestic violence homicides in the state have fallen by a stunning 40 percent. What is Maryland doing that other states are not? The answer appears to lie with a former high school nurse, an ex-Washington, D.C., police lieutenant, and their ground-breaking efforts to protect the most vulnerable victims of abuse.—Fighting Back is an article by Tim Stelloh about new method to identify and protect abused women, developed by a group of law enforcement officers and academics (Note: The article features graphic descriptions of domestic violence and murder). The article focuses especially on the work of Prof. Jacquelyn Campbell. You can watch an interview with her here.
Gu Kailai, the wife of senior Chinese party leader Bo Xilai, has been arrested for the murder of an English businessman. Bo, until his sudden fall from power this year, one of the most popular politicians in China, the leading figure of the Chinese New Left and Party Committee Secretary of the megacity of Chongqing, has completed his downfall by being expelled from the politburo and stripped of all party positions. The collapse started in February, when his top lieutenant, Wang Lijun, was suddenly demoted and then fled to the US consulate for a day - supposedly, either attempting to defect or to give incriminating evidence on Bo and Gu to the Americans for safekeeping. [more inside]
"Andrea Yates' story tracks so many of the themes we talk about all the time today. The role of religion in family life. The cognitive dissonance of so many marriages. Lingering stigmas about mental illness, especially as they relate to postpartum depression. The Yates trial was a big deal 10 years ago — even though it was overshadowed by the fallout from 9/11." The Atlantic looks back at the Andrea Yates case and how she's doing now.
"Homicide Watch is a community-driven reporting project covering every murder in the District of Columbia. Using original reporting, court documents, social media, and the help of victims’ and suspects’ friends, family, neighbors and others, we cover every homicide from crime to conviction." [more inside]
Need a spouse or uncooperative business associate taken care of? Have no fear! HitmanForHire.net is here.
The Chicago Reader's current cover story, "The Color of His Skin," (parts 1 and 2,) revisits the murder of a black man on Chicago's South Side in 1970 by a gang of white teens. Last September, a similar article by the same author, "The Price of Intolerance," (parts 1 and 2,) examined an incident from 1971, in which a twelve year old boy and thirteen year old girl were killed.
With a tough economy and less money to go around, gang members in New York City are resorting to sharing guns hidden in easily accessible places.
Flick Knives, Dance Music and Edwardian Suits: Teddy Boys, Christmas Humphreys and the murder of John Beckley on Clapham Common in 1953.
David Grann of the New Yorker writes about the power of the Aryan Brotherhood inside America's federal prisons.
Eighteen years after the death of Stephen Lawrence, Gary Dobson and David Norris have been found guilty of his murder. [more inside]
June 25th 1906, was the opening night of the musical revue Mamzelle Champagne on the roof of Madison Square Garden. In attendance were Stanford White, renowned architect (Washington Square Arch, Judson Memorial Church, Madison Square Garden itself), and Harry Kendall Thaw, eccentric coal and railroad scion. During the performance of the song I Could Love a Million Girls, Thaw "left his seat near the stage, passed between a number of tables, and, in full view of the players and of scores of persons, shot White through the head." (pdf) Standing over White’s body, Thaw said “You’ll never go out with that woman again.” [more inside]
Zaire Paige had a breakout role in Antoine Fuqua's movie, Brooklyn's Finest. He was seen as a rising star. But, it all went away when he murdered a gang rival and was sentenced to 107 years in prison. [more inside]
This past August a murder charge was dismissed against Nga Truong, a young mother who had confessed to Worcester, MA Police interrogators in 2008 that she had smothered and killed her 13 month-old baby, Khyle. A judge later concluded that confession was coerced -- extracted in part by police "deception," "trickery and implied promises" -- and the case was dropped. (pdf). Her case raises questions: What coercive power do detectives have who are driven to extract confessions? Under what circumstances might someone admit to a crime they have not committed? WBUR (Boston's NPR station) investigated Truong's case and has an extensive report, Anatomy of a Bad Confession: Part One and Two [more inside]
'To celebrate the release of the remastered Throbbing Gristle back catalogue Rough Trade are proud to announce a unique intimate Q&A evening with Chris Carter & Cosey Fanni Tutti (37 minute Soundcloud streaming audio) discussing the rich and unique history of TG.' [more inside]
After almost 30 years of appeals and legal maneuvering, Philadelphia prosecutors have abandoned attempts to impose the death penalty on Mumia Abu-Jamal for killing police office Daniel Faulkner in December 1981. Background, previously.
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of vial of arsenic, must be in want of a wife."
Jane Austen 'died from arsenic poisoning'. [The Guardian] Crime writer Lindsay Ashford bases claim on reading of author's letters and claims murder cannot be ruled out. Almost 200 years after she died, Jane Austen's early death at the age of just 41 has been attributed to many things, from cancer to Addison's disease. Now sleuthing from a crime novelist has uncovered a new possibility: arsenic poisoning.
In 1933, Anthony Marino, Joe Murphy, Frank Pasqua and Dan Kriesberg decided to make money by taking out life insurance on drunks and then letting the victims drink themselves to death. Then they encountered Mike Malloy...
My purpose here has been to inquire into mediated understandings of Hindley, and to question how popular texts delineate between the deeds of a human being and the way those deeds are culturally inscribed. The task is neither conclusive nor complete, for monsters are illusive. There is always some part of them that evades both enunciation and comprehension.
"On the 28th October 1975 my mother gave birth to a heroinhead - that was/is me. My father was a young Glaswegian junkie nicknamed Puggy. I was born with heroin in my veins. 7 years after my birth, my father was brutally murdered by infamous British serial-killer Dennis Nilsen. [more inside]
Not in Our Town [autoplay 1hr PBS video]: the story of how the community of Patchogue, NY responded to the murder of Marcelo Lucero [more inside]
This week has seen a lot of discussion of the American criminal justice system and its failings, and a lot of concern about what can be done to fix it. In 1947, a working class black man looked like he was about to have the full weight of the system brought down on him for taking justice into his own hands. But after Chicago leftists - including labor unions, religious leaders, artists, civil rights activists & others - launched a movement, James Hickman was set free after an all-white jury, in a trial presided over by a white judge, failed to convict, and the DA chose not to re-try because of the magnitude of public support for Hickman. According to a review in The Nation, a new book tells the story in a way that turns the typical right-wing biases of the true crime genre on their head. [more inside]
In 1991, Troy Davis was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1989 murder of policeman Mark MacPhail in a Savannah, Georgia parking lot. Since then, seven of the nine prosecution eyewitnesses have recanted all or part of their testimony, with some citing pressure from the police to make false statements. An exception is Sylvester "Redd" Coles, who made the initial report of Davis’s guilt, and is regarded by the defense as the chief suspect. New witnesses have sworn affidavits that Coles confessed the crime to them. An array of figures have called for a stay of execution, including death-penalty supporters Senator Bob Barr and former FBI director William S. Sessions. Today, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denied clemency; barring action from the District Attorney, Davis is set to be executed by lethal injection tomorrow at 7pm. [Previously]
A year ago this August, 72 migrant workers -- 58 men and 14 women -- 'were on their way to the US border when they were murdered by a drug gang at a ranch in northern Mexico, in circumstances that remain unexplained. Since then, a group of Mexican journalists and writers have created' a "Day of the Dead-style Virtual Altar" Spanish-language website, 72migrantes.com, to commemorate each of the victims, some of whom have never been identified. The New York Review of Books has English translations of five of their profiles. [more inside]
About one person is murdered every 35 minutes in Mexico. Statistics are bland, so the WSJ decided to track down the 25 murders on July 29th, an ordinary day of death.
“Before me as I write lies an inch-square bit of brown leather --- not, you would think, an inspiring subject for a tale. But perpend. This fragment of human skin, for such it is, has been since 1829 in the possession of three persons only: The original owner, my grandfather, and myself. Inconsiderable in size and unimpressive of aspect, it was nevertheless potent to influence the direction of my future studies… While yet a small boy, my grandfather would often show me by request this singular relic and I never wearied of hearing how he came by it. As a matter of history, its first proprietor, the late Mr. William Burke of Edinburgh, in the circumstances hereafter to be related, was publicly anatomized, his carcass thereafter flayed, his hide tanned, and his skeleton by order of Court preserved in the Anatomical Museum of Edinburgh University, where it remains as a memorial of his infamy even unto this day. Mr. Burke’s integument being cut up into sortable parcels to suit buyer’s tastes and exposed for sale by private bargain, my grandfather, who was then but a young man, invested a modest shilling’s worth. Wealthier purchasers bought larger lots --- I have heard that the late Professor Chiene had a tobacco pouch made of this unique material. Personally, despite my predilection for crime, I prefer India-rubber.” --- "The Wolves of the West Port" [more inside]
Russia had never seen anything quite like the prolific serial killer Alexander Pichushkin, for whom “life without killing is like life without food.” In the end, the Maniac was what his mother and Suprunenko say he was: ordinary. He didn’t have strong opinions. He lacked preferences or ideas about other people, God, art, beauty. He could talk about these things, and did, but these were simply words in the service of killing; they were bits of theater; they were nothing. [more inside]
Thirteen-year-old Milly Dowler was kidnapped and murdered on her way home from school in 2002. During the six-month hunt before her body was found, her parents gave exclusive interviews to the News of the World, saying they believed she would be found alive. That hope was based partly on the fact that her voicemails were still being listened to and deleted. Today, it was revealed that the deleting was being done by the News of the World. [more inside]
The Neverending Nightmare of Amanda Knox. In an in-depth new article in Rolling Stone, writer Nathaniel Rich makes a compelling case for the innocence of the American student at the center of a sordid, long-running Italian crime drama. [via Longreads]
The Bravest Woman in Seattle "The reason for her sitting on the witness stand of a packed and sweltering eighth-floor courtroom at the King County Courthouse on June 8, in jeans and a short-sleeved black blouse, hands clasped over knees, a jury of strangers taking notes, a crowd of family and friends and strangers observing, a bunch of media recording, was to say: This happened to me. You must listen. This happened to us. You must hear who was lost. You must hear what he did. You must hear how Teresa fought him. You must hear what I loved about her. You must know what he took from us. This happened." (Trigger warning for rape and violence.)
Man confesses to Tupac Shakur robbery and shooting Dexter Isaac, now serving a life sentence for murder, told AllHipHop.com that he robbed Shakur outside the Quad Studio in Manhattan in November 1994 on the orders of hip hop management mogul James "Jimmy Henchman" Rosemond. [more inside]
"For about six months now, Sound of Young America editor Nick White and I (Jesse Thorn) have been working on a secret project. Now, the secret can be revealed... please welcome WTF with Marc Maron, the public radio series!" [more inside]
The Lazarus File. "In 1986, a young nurse named Sherri Rasmussen was murdered in Los Angeles. Police pinned down no suspects, and the case gradually went cold. It took 23 years—and revolutionary breakthroughs in forensic science—before LAPD detectives could finally assemble the pieces of the puzzle. When they did, they found themselves facing one of the unlikeliest murder suspects in the city’s history." [more inside]
Bill James, a pioneer in the field of baseball statistics, has now turned his attention to serial killers and their methods.
"For the progress of humanity, work alone is not adequate, but the work should be associated with love, compassion, right conduct, truthfulness and sympathy. Without the above qualities, selfless service cannot be performed."On Sunday morning, Indian guru Sri Sathya Sai Baba passed away. He leaves behind a massive empire, several million mourning devotees worldwide, an extensive religious philosophy, a great deal of controversy and a legacy of large-scale philanthropic projects in India, including free hospitals and mobile medical facilities, a free university and schools, and other efforts which included supplying clean water to hundreds of rural villages. [more inside]
"This conflict of interest hits at the heart of the attorney-client relationship." Robert Caulley has served 14 years of a life sentence for the murder of his parents, a crime he says he didn't commit. Some hope that unknown DNA found on a gun at the crime scene will prove his innocence, citing similar exonerations in other high-profile Ohio cases, but so far Caulley's attempts to revisit his case with further DNA testing have failed. But look, Caulley already had his day in court with his lawyer by his side, doing everything possible to clear him, right? So he thought -- until he learned that his defense attorney was sleeping with his wife during his trial.
On June 30, 1999, sheriff’s officers in St. Louis, Missouri discovered the body of 41-year-old Ricky McCormick. He had been murdered and dumped in a field. The only clues regarding the homicide were two encrypted notes found in the victim’s pants pockets. The FBI is now asking the public to help them solve the murder.
"My name is Rodrigo Rosenberg Marzano and, alas, if you are hearing or seeing this message it means that I’ve been murdered by President Álvaro Colom, with the help of Gustavo Alejos." Rosenberg went on, "The reason I'm dead, and you're therefore watching this message, is only and exclusively because during my final moments I was the lawyer to Mr. Khalil Musa and his daughter Marjorie Musa, who, in cowardly fashion, were assassinated by President Álvaro Colom, with the consent of his wife, Sandra de Colom, and with the help of . . . Gustavo Alejos."
Betty Anne Waters's brother Kenny was sent to prison for first degree murder and armed robbery in 1982. Over the next 16 years, Betty Anne got her GED, college degree, and law degree, all in an effort to prove Kenny was innocent. With the assistance of the Innocence Project, Betty Anne was able to use DNA evidence to show Kenny was innocent. [more inside]
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives deliberately allowed assault rifles to be smuggled into Mexico, so they could be tracked. The weapons were then used in a spree of murders, including that of US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. The operation was called "Fast and Furious". The Mexican government was apparently unaware of the operation, and is investigating. The ATF is going to have a review of whether their strategy supports "the goals of ATF to stem the illegal flow of firearms to Mexico".