Directors: Solita Hanna, Shannon Sears-Rivera
Starring: Josefina Rivera, Jacqueline Askins .USA. 1h 32m
Over the years, a majority of the serial killer cinematic adventures have always been a total let down. Not giving enough of the gory insights for hardcore fans, or trying to make excuses for killing patterns that we may never understand as the killers have been long gone or don’t wish to talk. In stark contrast Monster Preacher manages to almost circumnavigate the killer himself and tightly focuses on two victims, two brave women who survived an horrendous ordeal the killers hands, and yet somehow had never reunited until this documentary.
It could be argued that, the phenomenon of having first-hand accounts of the inside of a serial killers lair is enough to make a movie work on its own, however having two women who managed to survive Gary heidnik bizarre underground church / torture chamber, is astonishing and really makes this movies time fly bye.
The fetid intro features scenes of Heidnik justifying his actions to a presenter, and for a lot of the historical reports, fiction and factual books written about the man and his warped sense of righteousness, have always been focused on him, his bizarro church, his upbringing and the events which occurred in his church or what he thought was a excuse for a church. Luckily Heidnik is just the intro of this movie and is soon forgotten. The meat and bones are all about two of the victims, two African-American women who were at some point kidnapped by Heidnik in their teens and then trapped in his basement level torture chamber, and violently raped and beaten, pitted against each other and made to pray for hours. Heidnik had some notion that he should father a new generation and try to make as many women pregnant as possible.
One of the women befriended Heidnik in a way to try and become a favourite to him in order to try and escape and then turn free the other women in the basement who were systematically being mistreated alongside her. However by trying to get into his good graces she was “forced” to keep the other girls under control and to exact punishments on them, to the point of possibly killing one of the girls herself! The other women assumed she was really in on the game and that she has become a really sidekick to the killer, this was even assumed in court.
Rivera and Askins, both have brutally honest and unbiased interviews to describe their individual and personal accounts of their hell at Heidnik’s hands. At time it’s not easy to listen to, and it’s almost breathtaking that they still have such courage to talk about the worst ordeals of their lives. The film actually manages to one up it’s own game, once the two women are reunited to air their grievances with each other which is done in a level playing field and total honesty. why they waited so long is quite battling however at least it has been done and somehow magically captured on film for you to make up your mind on what the true intentions might have been. And we all know how relevant it is to be feel a part of a real killer case.
Related: Joel (2018), Bundy (2008), My Friend Dahmer (2017)
Lists: Serial Killer A-Z