Tuesday, July 8, 2014

REVIEW: Killer Legends (Breaking Glass DVD) - Urban Legends Debunked

Killer Legends from Breaking Glass Pictures is a tale of the facts behind fable regarding a few urban legends with which you are most likely familiar. Brought to you by the same team that gave us Cropsey, a documentary about a killer on Staten Island that shocked and titillated more than a few of us, Killer Legends attempts to look into, in depth, a wide array of tales that we learn when we’re younger, believe into adulthood and pass down to our children. It isn’t flawless and was featured on Chiller, a channel that does not garner as much respect as its kith and kin ala Fearnet or Monsters HD but it is informative and entertaining and coming to you shortly on DVD.  There’s definitely a reason to watch Killer Legends at least once.

Synopsis from Breaking Glass:

Joshua and Rachel travel to Houston, Texas where they explore the tainted candy legendparents fear every Halloween. In Columbia, MO they compare The Baby-Sitter and the Man Upstairs legend to the unsolved murder of Janett Christman - a babysitter found murdered in 1950. In Texarkana, Texas, the filmmakers investigate the real life case of akiller known as The Phantom and how it inspired "The Hook" urban legend. Joshua and Rachel then head to Chicago to answer the question of how clowns became so evil and creepy to the public.

One of the reason I am not entirely convinced that folks will enjoy Killer Legends is because I don’t always believe our narrators/guides. That’s a problem for me. It’s not that their facts incorrect because many of the underlying details are tidbits  that I have heard before; something about the way they are conveyed makes me feel like I’m being “sold” an urban legend or rather the absence of a true killer in the midst. It’s probably just the matter of fact manner in which certain details are conveyed or way in which certain interviewees are approached. In short, Killer Legends shows its budget and doesn’t convey absolute professionalism. Still, once you turn the corner and realize that perhaps the method of communication is somewhat flawed the details are great.

The movie touches on one of my favorite urban legends, the story of trick or treat candy on Halloween being poisoned or filled with sharp objects. I can remember my mother checking all my candy. I remember the TV news covering candy safety every year. I love this story. I’ve written songs about it even though I know that it isn’t exactly based in reality. Still, there are a few tales that have substance to them especially the focal point of their investigation. This is worth watching the rest of the documentary even if the other stories are only moderately interesting. The archival video footage will take you back like one great big nostalgia trip for days of Halloween past (much in the same way that WNUF Halloween Special did).

If you’re like me, then you can’t turn off these unsolved mysteries, history channel style horror fact shows. I would have watched it on Chiller had I had the channel. I’m glad to have checked it out, and I hope that the modest flaws in production and technique will still allow you to enjoy the contents. I’d definitely watch another release from this documentary creating team.

Available July 15th

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