Tuesday, May 23, 2017

I Killed Cap'n Crunch!!

Confessions of a Serial Killer shows us the jet-set life of a down-home serial killer/rapist, and introduces us to his wacky partners in crime. Oh, the hijinks they get up to!

Okay, that's pretty much how Hollywood would try to spin this movie if they ever decided to do a remake. Or maybe they would make the movie a statement about how we should be more accepting of serial killers because they live an alternative lifestyle and are really just expressing themselves in a way to draw attention to their rejection by society.

Okay, enough ragging on Hollywood.

Our film today popped up on video back when VHS was king. So, let's take a look at the packaging for this film so you can see how, even then, the release undermined the film before you ever rented the thing.

Here's an idea: Let's rip off an image from The Silence of the Lambs to promote our movie which has little to do with that big-budget smash of a movie other than serial killers. If you were around back in the 80s and wrote off Confessions as an attempt to cash in on the success of Lambs based on the cover, you could hardly be blamed.

Unfortunately, you would have missed out of a genuinely uncomfortable film that removed all the glamour and glitz of Hollywood-style films on the same subject matter. Sure, Confessions is on the same basic level as Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, but with one feather in its cap -- it came out before Michael Rooker's classic role.

Confessions gives us a lightly disguised retelling of the crimes of Henry Lee Lucas. If you aren't aware, Henry Lee Lucas was, at least in his own mind, one of the most prolific serial killers in history. He confessed to nearly 3000 murders, but he also changed his story on almost all of them. He was pretty much implicated in at least 12 murders, including his own mother's death.

Our movie works through flashbacks as our main character relates details of his killing spree to the police holding him in a Texas jail. For those who enjoy such things, there are a good number of set pieces that are fairly well done given the size of the budget, and the horror of the crimes are evident in the expressions and struggles of the victims.

The best thing about this movie is that the lead actor, the late Robert Burns, provides a performance that seems too casual at first, but as the film progresses, you see that his actions are those of some inner demon that the character has made his peace with. Pretty much a killer who gives no lingering thought to what he has done and rarely plans what he will do.

Other performances in the film range from stiff to pretty good. For those looking for blood, you get a reasonable amount of that, along with a solid helping of well-mounted tension during the various killings. The minimal use of music also gives the film an unnatural quality.

Overall, Confessions is a gem in the rough, for those who like their films as dark as the inside of a well digger's ass at midnight. It would be a prime selection for a re-release on Blu-Ray, though I can see how it would be a tough sell.

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