So, to get my students in my four-hour intensive class this afternoon in the mood for Halloween, I decided to show them a film. But not your traditional Halloween fare….oh no.
I showed them David Fincher’s Zodiac, about the real-life Zodiac Killer. I started off by explaining the background of the case, and letting them know that film is based on actual events, with the names of the real people involved in the film.
After it was over - that great ending scene where Mike Mageau ID’d the late Arthur Leigh Allen as the man who shot him - and while ‘Hurdy Gurdy Man’ was still playing over the speakers, I wrapped up with this little extemporaneous spiel:
“In most films about serial killers, or slashers, or whatnot, the killer is easily identified as some kind of monster. Hannibal Lector, Jason, Freddy Krueger, or Norman Bates. It’s easy to see, especially in films like Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street or what have you. But in real life, the monsters are the people waiting in line next to you at the Post Office, or sitting at the table at the pub drinking a beer - they could be your next-door neighbor, the person you work with, or if you’re really unlucky, maybe your brother-in-law or even your husband. In real life, you’ll never know who the monsters are, and sometimes……every now and then, they get away with it, just like the Zodiac Killer did. So keep that in mind, and Happy Halloween.”
I have a naturally gravelly voice that lends itself to such things, and one of the students, Sarka, you could see the shivers running down her spine and the hair on her arms standing up as I concluded the film. She said, “Well, I guess I’ll be sleeping with the lights on for the next ten years.”
They all loved the film, and none of them had ever seen it before.