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A Thin(ner) Plot
on December 2, 2014
"How about a nice piece of cherry pie?" After all, when I look at crime-scene photos -- they are all over the web for true-crime aficionados, after all -- all I want to do is dip a fork into a pie that is blood red. And gooey. Just like Edmund Kemper likes it, according to this film, I guess. Ah, I can't wait to get a taste of it! Yummy. . . .
This would be one of the attempts at a joke in "Kemper," and I will admit that I found it mildly humorous. After all, I did order up this film about one of the least understood serial killers ever, and so I must have at least a mildly-twisted sense of humor. But there is probably more unintentional humor here than intentional, as if the director never screened it to a living audience before its most likely straight-to-DVD release.
I don't claim to be an expert on Mr. Kemper, but I have seen enough documentaries to know the basic story. And I've read books from FBI profilers such as John Douglas, where most of those profilers seem to have an odd "soft spot" for a guy with around a 140 IQ that had the bad habit of killing people, including his grandparents first and then his mother later. But most profilers tend to find Mr. Kemper a real enigma, even though many admit they "like him," in an odd sort of way.
But this film seems to stray completely away from the true tale, for no apparent reason. Is it because Mr. Kemper is still alive, and even though he's hanging out in prison, he could sue if the story is too close to reality? He's 65 years old or so, so you have to figure that won't last much longer. But I will confess I don't know the legality of these types of situations. However, the original true story is so twisted, so bizarre, so interesting, why change it? Truth is stranger than fiction, as they say. Except what is stranger is why the creators of this film diverged so far from the truth. (From memory, I believe that Mr. Kemper was somewhat of a "cop groupie," hanging out in lounges to be near them. The writer seems to have "elevated" this idea, making him more involved than he was. Suffice it to say, I think it was a huge mistake.)
It is interesting though that nowadays, especially with the advent of inexpensive HD cameras, almost anyone can make a movie that looks pretty good. This is in HD widescreen, presented in 1080P for your Amazon Fire box, and I think that it does look pretty sharp. But it doesn't sound as good, in the sense of what the actors say and how they say it. The acting is really pretty bad, just behind how bad the writing is. The direction? Well, what was the director to do? Hire better actors? He probably didn't have the budget would be my guess.
With a pretty bizarre story such as Mr. Kemper's, would somebody PLEASE make a movie that's actually good? It shouldn't be too hard, as he's already been fairly forthcoming in interviews with regards to his crimes. I've got it! Let HIM write the script! He has plenty of spare time, hanging out in a prison cell only wishing that he could kill again, and he knows this story best as he was there. And I'm sure that he could do better; he surely couldn't do worse.
Instead of this film, why not watch a Stephen King film instead? Might I recommend "Thinner," even though it's not my favorite, but it does a better job with dark humor and dark desserts. Either way, most if not all of his films are fiction too, but at least his movies have some decent moments here and there. But don't forget to grab a piece of cherry pie first, before making that One-click purchase. Come to think of it, why not make that strawberry pie instead? After all, that would make for a bloody-good combination.