Director: Michael Feifer
Starring: Corin Nemec, Andrew Divoff, Tony Todd, Debbie Rochon .USA. 1h 32m
This was Michael Feifer’s first, bold attempt to retell the bloody history of a serial killer. Chicago Massacre follows the childhood and killing spree of one of America’s most deranged individuals, Richard Speck. This debut saw Feifer pair up with Corin Nemec, playing the lead role of a prominent killer. A year later the two would reunite for Bundy: A Legacy of Evil (2008). This could have continued with Nemec playing Gacy, Gein and even Kemper if the duo had the desire but it seems this is all we’re getting folks!?
It feels that the movie was conceived with a lot of promise, a couple of well known names were thrown into the mix, Todd and Divoff , who seemed eager to help as law enforcement officers trying to understand and track a man who single handedly slaughtered a number of women in july 1966, but their acting expertise is often overshadowed by the need to show Speck not killing people, they could have been the B Movie versions of Somerset and Mills, however the focus is on Speck and not the people tracking him, although their scenes are quite special, but always seem like some kind of pensive Film Noir.
Starting with a startling insight into Specks childhood, we don’t really see many warning signs that he’s a total asshole just yet, but as he ages and beings exploring drink, drugs and women his whole persona changes and he develops into an incredibly domineering individual who you wouldn’t want to leave unattended for a second. Nemec does a great job in personifying Speck, it wouldn’t be too hard to research as there’s a lot of footage of him both online and in various documentaries, however I feel his brief appearance in Mindhunter really topped the scales in mimicking his “style”. Nemec, kinda looks like Speck, kinda acts like Speck, but in fairness he’s only given so much maneuvering as the keen lens of Feifer’s vision is often trying to fit in as many “events” and it’s time line it doesn’ have time to settle into who/what Speck is about and a great opportunity is missed.
Speck tortures everyone around him, metally and physically, he maninuples women and lives off their kindness and purse, then slaps them about when hedpreswants to, his perception of woman is that they owe him a living, but we’re not really concerned with his lifestyle we want to perceive the fateful night that made Speck notorious and there’s not a lot to bite into.
Chicago Massacre seems to want to suggest that there was an incredible build up to this one night of maniacal violence. It doesn’t necessarily sink into the events, which Speck explained that it was just random, even for him. But kudos for any director to attempt to bring a well known killer’s story to the bigger screen as there’s always going to be a fan base who knows more and pearl clutching old ladies who will be astounded by the grates on screen violence. If you knew nothing about Speck beforehand then this will certainly paint a certain picture of the greaser wild boy, touching on, but not really emphasizing his prison gender change. It’s not misleading but just doesn’t get under the skin of this deranged individual. However I feel the 5 minute representation of him in Mindhunter did more than this full length movie… but that’s just my opinion.
Related: Bundy : A Legacy of Evil (2008),
Lists: Serial Killer Movies Vol 1
Spotlight: Corin Nemec