For the first time the documentary that the authorities never wanted you to see is coming to home viewing. From the moment that this film starts to the chilling final words you can tell why this was pushed down and why you were not allowed to see it. The brutal honesty and depiction of American Society from the time that JFK was assassinated to the murder of John Lennon is disturbing.
I want to make this clear now, that this is one documentary you have to see, while at the same time warning you that this is not for the faint of heart. The documentaries that I enjoy the most are the clearly narrated, which tell me something that I knew nothing about or inform me about something I thought that I knew. A few years ago there was one of those click bait posts on Facebook about films that were banned. I have a lot of strange friends on Facebook so these posts happen quite a bit, and I do click on the bait a lot. One of the films on that list was The Killing of America and from the description alone I wanted to check it out. This 1981 documentary shows footage that is just massively disturbing and yet is highly informative at the same time. We are shown footage of the JFK assassination, and you’re probably thinking that you’ve seen all the footage of that event that you can take, but here it’s shown differently and more conclusive to the real events.
The archive footage and some interviews are beautifully restored, the last time that I watched this film was a hugely grainy youtube posting. I hate watching anything on youtube in the first place but this was amazing and captivating, so I endured. When I learned that a BluRay version of this documentary was coming out I jumped up and down with joy, morbid morbid joy.
My dark fascination with the serial killers of the world has led me to write short stories and a graphic novel about them, self promotion segment over, and here we get to see the big ones from America. The Ted Bundy footage is an insight into a deceptive mind, while the Ed Kemp honesty about his killings will make you wonder about the next person that walks by you. Charles Manson and his Family, the girl that the song I don’t like Monday’s is about, and Jim Jones are all topics for the film. They also wonderfully tap into the lesser known killers of the 20 year period between Kennedy and Lennon.
For anyone who thinks that the current state of America is a new experience then you should watch this. It charts the rise of mass murders and serial killers, violence between races, and in some cases how the political landscape of America was changed through suspicious circumstances.
As I said earlier in this review, this is not for the faint of heart, and believe me when I say that this at the same time as being a pleasure to watch is tough going too. It’s like stepping into a bare knuckle fist fight and being happy at the end of the beating. The film pulls no punches and does not ask for forgiveness in showing you the brutal savagery that man does to man. For anyone thinking of exploring the human condition, or the destruction of the American Dream, then this is vital viewing done with a deft hand. There are times you will laugh but other times you’ll be unable to look at the screen. The imagery is vivid and honest and with the narrator giving us a slight insight into the psychological reasoning of the murders you find an unsettling understanding.
This is one documentary that you have to, and I mean have to, buy on BluRay as soon as you can. Trust Uncle Gar.
Directors: Sheldon Renan, Leonard Schrader (uncredited)
Writers: Chieko Schrader, Leonard Schrader
Stars: Chuck Riley, Ed Dorris, Thomas Noguchi