Interview with a Serial Killer (TV Movie 2008) Poster

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A look in the mind of a murderer
Horst_In_Translation18 December 2018
Warning: Spoilers
"Interview with a Serial Killer" is a 44-minute American documentary short film from 2008, so this one still has its 10th anniversary this year and according to imdb, it is the only filmmaking effort by director Christopher Martin. The star or "star" in here is Arthur Shawcross, an old man who was convicted of having killed a double-digit amount of people in his life. And we have the interviewer ask several questions to him about his crimes, but also his life in general. In-between we get to see scenes from locations and police investigations connected with the murders while also listening to interviews with people that were linked to them like a judge for example. It should not be taken for granted this documentary got made because Shawcross died the exact same year this got released, so it was a close call. subject-wise it was pretty much exactly what I expected. It does not really stand out quality-wise compared to other documentaries about (serial) killers, but still offers a nice summary on the subject of Art Shawcross and the fact that he comments on a lot definitely makes it even more worth seeing. A good watch overall and I recommend checking it out. The material in terms of graphic depiction or graphic language is also not so severe that a mild-mannered person with an interest in the case(s) cannot watch it. Of course, there are still a whole lot question marks if he killed more people than was found out about or how true these accusations against his mother really were. I will end my review now with some words by Shawcross himself because very early on he says something along the lines that he is indeed an evil man, but at the end he seems to struggle with elaborating on the two times he killed children, which either shows how he sees this as an unjust act, but maybe could not suppress his evil spirit back then or it could be a completely different reason. Nobody knows. Nobody ever will. Thumbs up for these three quarters of an hour from me. Recommended.
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A bit misleading.
rememberdave14 June 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Very little was learned from Arthur, himself, in this interview. The important details of his crimes we learn from detectives and the narrator. At the very least, one could say that Arthur was less than candid. He does tell us about a few horrible events of his life, but he only spoke about what is already known, or what he has claimed. There were no secrets revealed, no motivations acknowledged. He often put the blame for being killed on the victim. The victim wronged him in someway. When the topic of the two murdered children came up, he refused to speak and threatened to end the interview. This may have been because he was ashamed of killing kids and could not justify their murder in his mind. This is very common in serial killers that usually target adults, but had killed children along the way. Ted Bundy, Ottis Toole, and others did not like to talk about killing children. Being stuck in prison as a pedophile with violent offenders does not help getting these creeps to talk about their crimes. He would go back and visit the bodies that he dumped, but he never acknowledges this. When he was caught taking a piss next to a body he previously dumped, he claimed that he forgot it was there. In sum, he has been, and continues to be, in denial and vague. The doctors and detectives talk about this fact. This seems to be a widely known attribute of Arthur; that he is in denial and cannot face the facts of his desire and motivation.

We learn that he has a daughter and grandchildren. They love him like any child would. He loves them just the same. They learned about each other after he was convicted. His children did not get to know him on the outside, so he never had the opportunity to let them down. He was already a serial killer when they met. They never have, or will, live with him on the outside. The description of this film mentions his surprising family bonds. After watching this, what did the filmmaker want us to infer from the usage of surprising family bond? That his daughter loves her dad that she never knew pre-conviction? Or that a serial killer says that he has love for his family? All serial killers have family members that they love, and parents of serial killers continue loving their child that is behind bars. There was no surprise presented in this familial relationship. This could have been better without Arthur involved. I am sure the filmmaker knew ahead of time that they would be walking on eggshells during this interview. Given this knowledge, I would have prepared more informative material regarding his crimes to include in this film in case Arthur was a bad interview. The interview was bad, at least what was presented. Arthur acknowledges that he is a monster, but would not acknowledge any facts of any of the crimes that could incriminate his dignity or make him look any more repulsive. I appreciate that the filmmaker landed the interview, and if I assume that there were such stringent ground-rules, I would have sought out a head-doctor to teach me how to get this man to talk about his crimes like many of the other deranged individuals do. Since they are behind bars for the rest of their natural lives and can no longer be charged for the crimes, get them to open up. Arthur does little opening up. More time of this film could have been spent ABOUT Arthur than it does WITH Arthur. In sum, many of the issues with this interview were well known in advance. Doctors and detectives all have known about his denial. Given these facts, it is not surprising that the interview turned out like it did. It is just a shame that the filmmaker chose to use so much of this interview in this film. With the amount of shame Arthur seems to feel about himself and not his victims, more time could have been spent on his crimes and what was learned from his crime scenes.
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