This is an independent avant-garde work that explores environmental causes of crime. Director Benning deals specifically with two locales and their corresponding murderous children--the wealthy Southern California suburb that produced Bernadette Protti (played by Rhonda Bell), a high
school girl who stabbed a cheerleader to death, and the Wisconsin farm town that produced the infamous murderer Ed Gein (played by Elion Sucher), the man who inspired such films as PSYCHO, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, and DERANGED. The film is divided into four sections. The first begins in the
wealthy California suburb where, in 1984, the teenage Protti--disturbed by her own unpopularity in high school--murdered a well-liked cheerleader on the front porch of the girl's home. The second segment is a mock interview with the killer, filmed against a blank wall. Her interchange with the
unseen interviewer is taken wholly from police and courtroom transcriptions. For the third segment, the scene shifts to the farmlands of Wisconsin--Gein's landscape. Again we see roads, fields, farmhouses (because Gein's farmhouse has been destroyed, it does not appear), and the general store
where he shot to death an employee (who, says Gein, resembled his mother). The final part has a simple-looking killer--played by Sucher--here too set agaist the backdrop of a blank wall. He demonstrates how he used the shotgun to kill the employee and answers questions from the unseen interviewer.
(His dialogue was also taken from police records and court transcripts.) More concerned with the film's structure than documenting two murder cases, Benning contends that a landscape produces and influences its inhabitants. The landscape thus, in the case of killers, destroys itself. Unfortunately
these ideas are not fully developed.
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- Released: 1986
- Rating: NR
- Review: This is an independent avant-garde work that explores environmental causes of crime. Director Benning deals specifically with two locales and their corresponding murderous children--the wealthy Southern California suburb that produced Bernadette Protti (pl… (more)