Killer Legends Movie Review
Written by Michel Sabourin
DVD released by Breaking Glass Pictures
Written and directed by Joshua Zeman
2014, 85 minutes, Not Rated
DVD released on July 15th, 2014
Rachel Mills as Herself
Joshua Zeman as Himself
Killer Legends is a fascinating documentary from Joshua Zeman, the co-director of the outstanding Cropsey. It's a detailed look at the real truth (if any) behind a few of the more popular urban legends, including the killer with a hook for a hand, the calls coming from inside the house, Candy Man and more. Zeman goes beyond the tired old stories we've all heard a dozen times or more, exploring the facts and backstories that helped spawn and spread these tales across the world and across time. What is it that spurs us to tell scary stories as parables for life lessons?
Having lived through a few of the real stories shared in the documentary, I can recall the fervor created and I witnessed firsthand how the mania and largesse spreads into unrecognizable accounts of the truth. I still recall the year my parents essentially cancelled Halloween due to scares over tainted candy and the possibility of copycats poisoning or inserting needles or razorblades into our treats.
There is a certain fascination that takes us over when we hear of the depraved acts of a twisted individual, especially in the pre-internet connected society, that makes us build on those stories and pass them down as cautionary tales to protect our loved ones. We change the story a little (usually for the worse) and location to suit our needs and everyone grows up saying "No, that really happened in my town" because it's what we're told.
The style and atmosphere Zeman creates in this documentary is compelling and suitably moody and mildly eerie. It's the same style used in Cropsey that made that documentary so good. He has a deft hand at pacing, something other docs suffer from. Killer Legends moves briskly and cleanly through its story lines, doling out just enough information to satisfy without browbeating or over-saturating the viewer with inanity. He makes his points clearly and succinctly and moves on. It leaves you wanting more, and that's just the way I like it.
I look forward to what's to come from Zeman and crew. They seem to have a razor keen ability to hook viewers and I hope they continue to do more of these granular looks at the legends that surround us. As stated in Cropsey, every town has a boogeyman, which should ensure them enough fodder to entertain us for years to come.