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2.4 out of 5 stars
Chicago Massacre: Richard Speck
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
I know this was a low budget film that went straight to video, still it is worth pointing out to potential viewers that while sometimes this happens to even good films, that isn't the case with this movie.

Poorly filmed, possibly in an unsuccessful effort to appear 'artistic', poorly acted, and very short on reality, this just turns out to be a waste of viewing time for nearly any viewer.

Those interested in 'True Crime' will be turned off by the lack of accuracy, as well as the absence of any real detailed truths. Viewers hungry for 'violence' will be disappoined that only one murder was actually enacted and little gore was depicted and even that will be considered tame and uninteresting by those who enjoy that sort of thing. Inconsistencies will bug even the casual viewer; such as the use of the terms 'forensics' and 'mass murder'; terms not in common usage even by police personnel in 1966. Though mass murder has occurred in the United States long before 1966 and 'forensics' has been practiced for centuries prior to Sherlock Holmes', the terminology had not crept into English usage at the time of these murders. The lack of forensics knowledge in tha era was however accurate in the film (no, not in the dicussion about the preservation of the crime scene, which was rarely a thought in 1966), but in the fact that the first dectectives on the scene freely touched doors and surfaces throughout their initial investigation. Even the locale of the killings was inaccurate. The nurses were murdered in a two-story townhouse setting (then referred to as apartments)not in a dormitory, as in the film. I would think one would be as easy as the other to obtain when scouting movie locales. Even the wardrobe seemed wrong for the era.

The movie-makers could have saved money by shooting in black and white and not lost anything in the exchange.

I would not recommend this film as a movie that any movie lover would likely find interesting.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
With a true crime story you would think the goal is to show what happened and to try and explain why it happened. The standard for such endeavors would be films like "In Cold Blood" and mini-series such as "Helter Skelter." There will be inevitable questions about how much you actually show and whether the explanations will prove at all satisfactory. "Chicago Massacre: Richard Speck" is about the murder of the eight student nurses in Chicago in 1966, which happens to be the first headline crime that I remember after the assassination of JFK. Way back then I was unaware of the story of Ed Gein or the way everything would seem to change after the Manson murders, and long before Michael Meyers) upped the ante in teh cinematic world of splatter flicks. After watching this direct-to-video 2007 film I know a bit more about the murders and the murderer, but not enough in either regard to have a better understanding, assuming, of course, such a thing is possible in such a case.

This film tries to weave together three time lines with the murders, the aftermath involving the investigation and Speck's conviction, and Speck's early life. Just playing with the chronology takes away from the sense of "Chicago Massacre" documenting a true crime story, but what we see does not really follow the murders laid out by the prosecution at the trial. Speck stabbed and strangled his victims to death, with seven of the women found dead in their beds, but the movie shows him using a gun to shoot one woman in a bathtub (Speck did have a gun, but used it to control the women). Writer-director Michael Feifer ("Ed Gein: The Butcher of Plainfield") focuses much more on the eyes of the victims than the blood, so you get more of an impression of the murders than any graphic details. How Speck (Corin Nemec) is eventually captured and convicted is the most historically accurate parts of the film, but seems secondary to the depiction of the killings and it is their muddled depiction that stands out in your mind.

Even less successful is the effort to try and explain why Speck became a killer. The scenes from his past do not come together to create anything close to a psychological profile that would constitute such an explanation. Speck had been arrested previously for burglary and stabbing, as well as having been a suspect in a rape, a beating death, the disappearance of three women, and the murders of four other women. I do not know the specifics, so it could be just a case of Speck become a suspect for every unsolved crime with any similarity to what happened in Chicago after he was caught. Still, the question of whether the murder of the student nurses was the culmination of his career as a serial killer or more of a massive one-time explosion would strike me as being pertinent. However, that is not part of Feifer's agenda and is probably too lofty a goal for a low-budget movie filmed in just 10 days.

Connecting the dots to form a coherent picture becomes infinitely more difficult when you take into account the bizarre video of Speck in prison, recreated in the film, sporting female-like breasts grown from smuggled hormones and boasting, "If they only knew how much fun I was having, they'd turn me loose." The quote appears at the start of the film, out of context, and then again at the end, I think the line is privileged as explaining Speck, when it does no such thing. The incongruity of seeing Speck on that video, snorting cocaine and parading around in women's panties, as the man who raped and slaughtered these young women as depicted in this film, is simply too great despite a valiant effort by Nemec. When this film ends all you can do is dismiss Speck as a freak and flush him from your mind, wishing that this film had made his victims more memorable (and not so nameless). It may just be that no matter how great of a number you multiply by zero, in the end all you get is zero.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2007
Format: DVD
I have got to think that maybe it's not a great idea to make feature length videos about dull-witted and very boring criminals who go on alcohol/drug-induced murder sprees.What we end up seeing is sa dull-witted and boring as the villian we watch, It's just not entertaining.

I knew this was a clunker from the first scene when "Texan" Richard Speck wearing what else but a cowboy hat steals his neighbors car and is chased on foot by a woman calling his name. This is the poorest character/location establishment I've seen outside an elementary school production.

Other lowpoints (or lowerpoints I should say) are the sole survivor Filipina nurse who confronts Speck in court. Here's a woman the viewer might want to empathise with, but not so. The actresses performance couldn't be crappier or more unbelievable had it been on Lifetime channel.
Locations are often poor. The crime scene could have used a few extras playing cops, as the only people who seem to be at the "crime of the century" are a very poorly portrayed detective and assistant. There are some anachronistic haircuts and speech as well, something that makes me think this was grinded out in a few weeks by a group of filmakers who lost interst (or money) before the project began.

Richard Speck was a dull man who became famous by a horrible act. "Chicago Massacre" is a dull and horrible video that will never be famous.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2008
Format: DVD
I watched part of this movie the other night. I just couldn't finish the whole thing. And I am not talking about the subject. I know the Richard Speck story and how he slaughtered 8 student nurses in 1966. It just did not come together like it could have. I thought the acting was good but the film is terribly made.

The Asian girl who survived by hiding under a bed really did get out of the witness chair and walk over to Speck, point and say he was the man who killed her roommates. The film makers show this moment, but on film, or at least this film, it didn't pack the punch it could have.

The film was dark, bizarre and boring. If you want to learn about Richard Speck and the student nurses he murdered, watch a good documentary or read a good article.
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on December 20, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
I barely made it through this one. So bored because it was so bad. I actually re-organized my CD and DVD collections while watching it.

I've read some of the other reviews and am glad to know that I'm not the only one who could see all the flaws in this film. Sure, there are plenty of movies that I just didn't enjoy because the story wasn't interesting, but in this case, the filmmakers took an interesting TRUE story and made it boring. There was no sense of drama, urgency, reality, fear, etc. There's nothing in this film that makes you care about what happens, which is strange because the story of Richard Speck is definitely a fascinating one.

Some of the flaws I'm speaking about are obvious. The script was pretty poor. Lots of cheesy lines. Nothing compelling is said by one single character. The acting was pretty poor. The main guy was okay, and the guy who played Candyman (don't care enough to look up his name) wasn't bad. But pretty much everyone else sucked. Another reviewer pointed out that the term "forensics" wasn't around in 1966. I'm glad I'm not the only one to see this. Another thing was the clothing. The worst example has to be Richard's stepfather. The scene took place probably in the early fifties and the guy is wearing a shirt that looks like he bought it at JC Penny in 2005. Give me a break. Don't forget the cars/cityscape. Richard is in 1966, looking out the window of a hotel and you can see a modern Chicago skyline and modern cars driving around. Lousy.

Besides those things, anyone who is a true crime buff will tell you how insanely inaccurate this film is. The film is filled with errors and falsehoods. There are too many to list, so I won't even bother. But one thing that annoyed me was the makeup. Yes, he had acne scars on his face, but they were no where near as bad as in this film. They made it look like he had third-degree burns on his face. Way overdone. They even goofed up the epilogue! He died in a hospital at the age of 49, not in his cell at the age of 50.

Visually, the film was pretty poor too, but that is to be expected from a direct-to-video b-movie.

It really sucks that there are so many intriguing true crime stories in American history, but the only time movies are ever made about them, they are done by subpar filmmakers and studios with low-budgets. Add this one to the growing list.
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on September 2, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
I read the book and could hardly make it to the end it was so evil and detailed the nurses death's to a point of nausea. Speck is on YouTube showing him in the cell with his boyfriend. This ending of him in the cell in this movie is somewhat different.
What he did to those nurses is unforgiveable and unforgettable. I was 7 years old when this happened and I lived far from Chicago. I was afraid for along time. Watching it now after all these years, how I wish these women had the courage to knock him to his death but to obey him they believed they'd live and I'm sure horrific fear played a huge factor in being unable to do as the only survivor did. The movie is just ok the book I'll never pick up and read again.
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on August 31, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
I was very young and I live in Illinios, when this happen and the hospital were this happen was also in my community.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2008
Format: DVD
I caught "The Chicago Massacre" Richard Speck" on fearnet the other night. It's hard to believe that a movie could do a worse job of retelling the Richard Speck story than this one does. First of all, I should preface this review by stating that I really do not consider serial killer movies to be horror movies in the first place. To me, these are crime movies belonging to the crime genre, and are therefore distinct from horror movies much the same way mystery, suspense and thriller movies should also be distinguished as well. This does not mean that there are not horror elements to these movies, but they, with very few exceptions, just do not work very well as horror movies.

Richard Speck was a very interesting and truly sickening mass murderer who brutally assaulted nine (9) nursing students eventually killing eight (8) of them in a dormitory in Chicago during the 1960s. While the story of Richard Speck is remarkable, the movie itself is disjointed, poorly acted overall, and horribly executed. Perhaps one of the most glaring weaknesses of "The Chicago Massacre" is its reliance on flashback scenes as well a lot of completely unnecessary and boring scenes which serve as nothing but filler-space accomplishing absolutely nothing, all of which reflect a very poorly organized movie sorely lacking in structure, cohesiveness, style and spirit. Indeed, it appears that the creators of this movie just did not know how to make this story into a movie. The script was simply awful.

Aside from the fact that movies like this belong to the crime genre, I am not sure why anyone would classify "The Chicago Massacre" as a horror movie anyway as it is simply not scary in the slightest. The acts committed by Speck are despicable, horrible, and quite disturbing. However, this movie's depiction of those events reflects a very poor effort on the parts of the creators of this flick to tell the Richard Speck story which results in a completely ineffective movie no matter how you characterize it.

For those who are interested in the true crime genre, I recommend "The Deliberate Stranger" (a great movie on Ted Bundy, much better than "Ted Bundy", "Fatal Vision" (another great movie about the Jeffery MacDonald story-non-serial killer), "Murder in Texas" (non-serial killer) and "Murder Ordained" (non-serial killer). Also, if interested, other serial killer movies which are dubiously effective and sometimes inaccurate are "Henry" (an inaccurate account of the serial killer, Henry Lee Lucas, and his buddy, Ottis Elwood Toole), "Gacy", "Dahmer", "Ed Gein", and the aforementioned "Ted Bundy". I believe there may also be another Ed Gein movie out there, and I am sure there are other serial killer movies not mentioned herein.

P.S. I wish I could find a movie on the South Carolina serial killer, Donald "Pee Wee" Gaskins, but to my knowledge, no such movies exists. If anyone knows of one, I would greatly appreciate it if you would drop me a line in the comments section. Thanks, HorrorMan.
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on February 13, 2015
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
Horribly done. Poor casting. The actress(i use that term very loosely) that portrayed the only nurse that survived did such an awful job it made me not want to even watch the end of the movie.
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on October 21, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
this was an okay movie. It really was not what I expected it to be. I was kind of disappointed in this movie overall. Again I felt it was missing something.
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