You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Ten Monologues from the Lives of the Serial Killers

Voices: Edmund Emil Kemper, Geto Boys, David Swatling, Ted Bundy, Colman Hogan, Kenneth Bianchi.

Voices: Edmund Emil Kemper, Geto Boys, David Swatling, Ted Bundy, Colman Hogan, Kenneth Bianchi.

(English dialogue)

Drawn from a mix of fictional and factual writings, “Ten Monologues From the Lives of the Serial Killers” brews a heady cocktail of psychopathic and sociopathic experience. Director Ian Kerkhof applies a medley of styles to material that runs from unsettling, purely textual rants to blasts of discomforting imagery. Though it makes no pretense of offering real insight into the mind of a murderer, this killer compendium is a guaranteed attention-getter for festival lineups.

Most disquieting and penetrating of the 10 episodes is one featuring a scratchy home movie of a child playing in a park. Accompanying the seemingly happy footage is an almost tender voiceover in which a sexually abused son recounts how his need for his father turned to revulsion. His darkening recollections culminate in the father’s being slain in the same secluded park, and the son’s confession of feeling closer to the butchered corpse than to the living man.

Parental hatred is also a driving force for the opening piece, “Mother’s Day.” The camera dances a slow, probing circle around the expressionless figure of a chain-smoking convicted killer as his offscreen voice recalls how he beheaded his belittling mother, and the remorse he felt afterward.

Other sequences are more abstract, with the standout a passage from English author J.G. Ballard’s “Crash.” The excerpt, which fuses love and morbidity in the aftermath of an auto accident, is read against a black screen flashing to a succession of brutal images.

Ballard’s “The Atrocity Exhibition” is the source of a murderous litany recited by an inmate as a soul chant, and later as a solemn death count. The Geto Boys’ Jeffrey Dahmer-inspired rap, “Murder Avenue,” provides a more explicit linguistic shocker, sure to incite adverse reactions.

Also provocative is a murderer’s discussion of pornography, and his condemnation of the entry of graphic violence into the average home via television. The diatribe is laid over footage of a naked man (Kerkhof) masturbating while watching an S&M video.

Kerkhof’s one foray into slightly more conventional narrative terms — a bitter, soft-spoken Brit’s ruminations as he follows a potential victim across a park — reps the film’s least distinctive chapter.

Lenser Joost van Gelder’s work takes a different approach to each episode, at times stalking his subject from a distance and at others observing from a static position, with shifting light patterns. Editing travels from jumpiness to fluidity, in line with the shifting tones of the monologues.

Popular on Variety

Ten Monologues from the Lives of the Serial Killers


Production: A Stichting Zapruder production. (International sales: Rieks Hadders, Amsterdam.) Produced by Ian Kerkhof, Joost van Gelder. Directed, written by Kerkhof, partly based on the writings of Charles Manson, J.G. Ballard, Roberta Lannes, Henry Rollins.

Crew: Camera (color), Joost van Gelder; editors, Rene A. Hazekamp, Herbert van Drongelen; sound, Fokke van Saane. Reviewed at RiminiCinema Film Festival, Italy (competing), Sept. 29, 1994. (Also in Chicago fest.) Running time:? 58 MIN.

With: With: Rodney Beddal, Kain, Lorand Sarna, Ian Kerkhof, Mark Bellamy, Pieternel Pouwels, Liz Savage.

More Film

  • Benedict Andrews (L) and US actress

    Kristen Stewart on the 'Insane Gall' of Directors as 'Seberg' Arrives in San Sebastian

    SAN SEBASTIAN – On Friday, Kristen Stewart and Benedict Andrews’ political thriller “Seberg” plays at the 67th San Sebastian Film Festival, where it opens Perlak, a section dedicated to the Spanish premieres of major international films. The star and her director addressed the media prior to the screening in the festival’s first high-profile press conference, [...]

  • Les Miserables

    Ladj Ly's Cannes Prize-Winner 'Les Miserables' Is France's Oscar Submission

    Ladj Ly’s politically charged drama “Les Miserables,” which won the Jury Prize at Cannes, has been chosen by France’s Oscar committee to enter the international feature film race. In one of the most competitive years for French movies, “Les Miserables” beat out Celine Sciamma’s “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” the 18th-century-set romance which won [...]

  • David Kehrl neuer Head of Acquisitions

    'Resident Evil's' Constantin Names Acquisitions, International Co-Production Chief

    David Kehrl is to join Constantin Film, Germany’s leading independent movie producer and distributor, as the head of acquisitions and international co-production. He will report to Martin Moszkowicz, chairman of the executive board at Constantin Film, which produces the “Resident Evil” movies. Starting in February, Kehrl will be responsible for the acquisition of international theatrical [...]

  • The Plague Season 2 Spanish TV

    Telefonica, Atresmedia to Create Content Factory Behemoth

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — In a game-changing move for Spanish-language production Telefonica, Europe’s third biggest telco, and Atresmedia, the original co-creators of “La Casa de Papel,” are uniting to create a new joint contents production giant. Aimed at gaining more scale and uniting talent relations – writers, directors and producers – the 50/50 joint venture will [...]

  • KKR-Backed German Media Conglomerate Finally Has

    KKR-Backed German Media Conglomerate Finally Has a Name: Leonine

    The KKR-backed German media company formed through the merger of Tele München Group, Universum Film, i&u TV, and Wiedemann & Berg Film finally has a name: Leonine. The company revealed its moniker Friday, saying that “Leonine” met its criteria of being associated with its home region of Bavaria and Munich, in southern Germany, and of [...]

  • Scattered Night

    San Sebastian New Directors Jihyoung Lee and Kim Sol Talk ‘Scattered Night’

    After taking the Korean Competition Grand Prize and the best acting award (Moon Seung-a) at the Jeonju Intl. Film Festival, “Scattered Night” now heads to San Sebastian’s New Directors selection. An intimate portrayal of a family whose members are deeply isolated from one another, the film follows two parents overwhelmed by their responsibilities, their own [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content