The willing murder of one individual by another is one of the most despicable acts anyone could imagine. Sure, to some people the image of two men fucking might seem disgusting, and watching two women swap their homemade soft serve (if you donâ€™t understand this reference, then you will live a much happier life) will certainly scar you, but ‘despicable’ wouldn’t be the proper description. Gobbling cock and swilling bacteria babies might be gross, but straight up murder is an undeniable evil. It doesn’t matter what philosophy or religion you follow, no one of sane moral standings will say that taking someone’s life should be adopted as a cultural norm.
Despite this, we’re really intrigued by the kind of people who are willing to commit such acts. Cults that are willing to sacrifice members for an ideology, gruesome genocides that sees their victims as less than people, and war atrocities that stretch medical and scientific morality into ‘mad doctor’ territory are all fascinating topic to us regular folk. These are the same people who would probably throw up if they ever saw a dead body in real life. There’s something about people killing people that’s tantalizing, even though it goes beyond our moral boundaries. It seeps into what we find entertaining. Our films, art, and literature include extensive scenes of death or murder, so unless it’s a huge coincidence that these popular topics keep popping up, we’re not even hiding our infatuation.
Nowhere is this more noticeable than with our ongoing fascination of the serial killer. We don’t understand them, we don’t know what triggers them, we’re scared of them, we hate them, yet we love them. How could they break these moral boundaries and do all the batshit crazy stuff they do? Why do some take the time to prepare the tools and methods to murder a specific individual while others pick some random asshole and beat them to death with a baseball bat? Why don’t they just take out their aggression on pests and rodents in secret to get their aggression out instead of murdering contributors to their society (that’s something they actually do? well, isn’t that embarrassing…)? It’s like a little mystery wrapped up in a Polo shirt and a creepy smile. There are people out there that are damaged and thereâ€™s no way to know who they are. More frighteningly, it’s not something that can be fixed. Still, as fucked up as it is to hear about how little Billy was arrested for creating a Menorah out of human hands each Hanukkah, it adds a little danger and excitement to what could be considered a dull existence.
This is where the murkiness between the actual actions of a serial killer and our perceptions of a serial killer start. Whether it’s a documentary or true crime novel, there’s a barrier between a horrible series of events and the form of entertainment itâ€™s become. Picture this: an elderly woman on an electric scooter is texting while blindly heading towards an open manhole. People try to warn her about the danger, but she waves them off, and almost runs them over, because the amount of fucks she has to give matches the amount of times her son has visited her in the nursing home. She looks up just as the front of her scooter dips into the hole and she’s able to get out one last “Whooo!” before disappearing from sight. Kind of a funny thought, right? Of course it is! But what if you were there? Take away the biased print based medium and put yourself in this situation. Suddenly itâ€™s not so funny. You’ll have to call for an ambulance, the police, hell, you might even have to help her yourself. She could be hurt, or dead…her body twisted and mangled alongside the wreck of her scooter. As you tug to free her, youâ€™re batting aside diseased rats, while alligators and homeless mole people fight over the choicest cuts of old lady meat (actually, this is getting kind of funny again)!
There’s something about the detachment from situations like these that allow us to become fascinated with amoral actions and behaviors. There’s something about oddities that we as humans love to see, and vicious murderers are lumped in with them. Remember the ol’ timey Freak Show? People were drawn in by the sight of those who were in some way deformed. If someone had no limbs and managed to find ways to function, they could get their own showcase. Can you bite the head off a chicken? Suddenly you’re a star! Have no limbs but can light a cigarette? Three shows a night! These are otherwise normal people with their own friends, hobbies, and interests. The only thing about them that attracted the attention of other people was one specific detail that was meaningless to their overall lives. Never the less, this ‘detail’ was hyped up because it was something that no one else had/wanted. While their disabilities were a non-issue to the performers, to the observer, this was the closest they could get to seeing a fucked up part of the world without it directly affect them.
Need a more recent example? Pay attention to where your eyes go the next time your buddy gets a cold sore. It’s fucking gross, right? So why do you keep looking at it? Do you want one? Of course not dummy! If you ever ran into the source of your friendâ€™s ailment, youâ€™d try to ward them off with fire before allowing them to give you a peck on the cheek! Yet, try as you might, your gaze is going to keep drifting towards that crusty red spot.
Take this fascination with weird shit and now apply it to a different kind of person. These people aren’t fucked up on the outside, they’re fucked up on the inside. You canâ€™t look at from a distance while they do a fun little song and dance for you. If you manage to get close enough to witness their little ‘quirks’, you’re going to come down with a case of ‘being murdered’.
We stare and judge the same way we would with any other oddity. Weâ€™re revolted and outraged by what we find, yet even though we absolutely despise the very idea that there are people out there capable of justifying the taking of multiples lives as easily as a twelve year old can justify fucking his mattress each night, we canâ€™t turn our heads and look further into the horrible things these people are capable of.
And we are not disappointed.
Fiction cannot do justice to the reality of serial killer crimes. There are some killers out there who have done things so fucked up, that if they were pitched to a film/television producer, they would think it was unrealistic. Crushing the skulls of multiple babies? Murdering people because a dog told them? Ripping off prostitutes’ heads, then fucking the hole while your wife watches and takes care of her own business? Yeah…these actually happened.
Since we don’t want our severed parts fucked in any way, we look to others who have waded through the horrors set upon innocent people and utilize their knowledge of these accounts and filter them into something more accessible to the modern public. Go to any book store (or whatever apps supply words to your tablet of choice [you uncultured swine]) and check out how many books are available on serial killers. The public wanted to know about these vicious people so badly that hundreds, if not thousands, of reporters have badgered witnesses, victims, police, and forensic experts in order to gather stories about how a bunch of sick fucks were able to mutilate innocent women, thoughtlessly castrate men, and fuck a bunch of babies (Jesus, again with the babies! I need some new sourcesâ€¦which contradicts my arguments, but you know how that old saying goesâ€¦go fuck yourself).
The most frightening aspect of this is how most serial killers get away with killing people for an absurd amount of time without getting caught. Your own neighbor might have a Buffalo Bill style death pit in their basement, yet unless you become a victim, youâ€™ll probably never notice.
We may not like it, we might flat out deny it, but this is a part of us. The evidence is too outstanding to deny. We harshly judge the people who commit these crimes, yet the moment there’s news about someone shooting, stabbing, beating, or sexing another person to death, the populous will scramble to their televisions, computers, or newspapers (if theyâ€™re old men stuck in the 50s who prefer to be outraged a day behind everyone else) to know more. It’s a small piece of a bigger part of what makes us, us. Humans slow at car wrecks, gasp at the deformed, study up on genocides, and listen to stories about murderers. Sure, it may be a mild curiosity or a deep obsession, but itâ€™s there. We justify ourselves by saying things like “That’s horrible!” or “How could anyone do that?!?”, yet it’s unlikely (keep in mind I’m not saying impossible) that you’ll hear “No more! I don’t want to hear about that!” from the same person. As outraged and incensed the actions of a serial killer makes you, on the inside, a part of you wants to know every last gory detail.