Bad Blood BOOK review

Book Reviews
Bad Blood BOOK review
Mar 15, 2002, 17:25

BAD BLOOD: AN ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO PSYCHO CINEMA by Christian Fuchs; Creation Books, 2002

With Bad Blood the already wordy genre of insight into the minds of the filmography of serial killers gets even more verbose. Christian Fuchs revisits ideas he spawned in a previous German entry Kino Killer and delves even deeper into the cinematic thoughts of fictional and true crime nutcases. Fuchs sets himself a criteria to be dealt with: no movies based on terrorists, dictators, mafiosi, etc. However, this “criteria” quickly gets dismissed as films about such as Bonnie and Clyde, Ma Barker and Ilsa Koch get entries along with Peter Kurten and Henry Lee Lucas. Jim Jones gives way to pieces about Cannibal films. Needless to say, the discussion of Charles Manson is chock full of any “killer hippy” films he can dig up, including the very tangential Deathmaster vampire hippy film. While this is a minor point, the analysis of the films is rather rudimentary, with no new ideas being presented on this already well-trod material. When Fuchs gets to the fictional characters, 200 pages in, he seems to be where he wants to truly be. Frenzied runs through Natural Born Killers, Blue Velvet, Peeping Tom and Taxi Driver get the full treatment (with even more question inducing entries on White Heat and The Ninth Configuration, while both great films, not about random and amok killers). His chapters on Sadean (think Lecter), murderous women and couples that kill are fresh and interesting before finally settling in with your average (that is NOT a critical judgement) slasher genre entries like Nightmare on Elm St. and Halloween. Fuchs never really ties all his trains of thought together. His introduction reads like a doctoral treatise. Sectionalized philosophical points that don't reach beyond the obvious: “What if there are visionaries locked away in padded cells” and “It is institutionalized mechanisms… which serve the dominating norms and accept the existing system of values as the only “normal one.” I don't know if such clumsily stunted ideas are the product of a cheap translation or a case of writing in English as a second language syndrome, but such surface skimming of an intellectual premise harms any pretense this book has as a serious scholarly work. Despite what I consider fundamental flaws, I still appreciate this entry into the very worthy Creation series on outsider Cinema.

 Les Scurry

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