In the early 1990s, Robert Kemp savagely raped, tortured, and murdered thirty-two people before being caught and sentenced to death. The Great American Serial Killer is the account of the final interview by Dr. Jeremiah Stone. Kemp’s story, in his own words, lets us all see into the mind of the twisted and sadistic mind of a true psychopath.
My wife constantly watches true crime shows on television. They can be interesting but when they are played on a constant loop, the result is overload and I feel as if my head will explode. When those aren’t etching their stink into my brain, the “LAW & ORDER” franchise plays just as much causing a similar effect on my mind (except when Chris Meloni is on, the dudes a badass). Many of their episodes boast the “inspired by true events” line, so it can sometimes be interesting to see if you can name the case. Now that I’ve babbled on long enough about a subject that’s practically non-related to the film that I’m about to review, I bring you to “The Great American Serial Killer”. It’s a film that I was given to review from the fine folks over at Blunt Force Cinema, while criminally low budget, still manages to leave you feeling unsettled and a bit dirty.
The film follows Robert Kemp (Todd Servo), a serial killer on death row who is being interviewed by Dr. Jeremiah Stone (Eddie Benevich) about his conquests as a killer. Through a series of flashbacks, we learn of his twisted origins, his bloody rampage, and his horrifying demise. In between these flashbacks, we learn a bit more about Robert through his discussion with Dr. Stone.
“The Great American Serial Killer” tackles the subject with an interesting approach. There really isn’t much of a plot. It’s kept real simple. In my younger days, I spent hours reading and researching serial killers, just because I had found them fascinating. You learn a lot about how a killer operates or the types of events that happen in their childhood that leads them to their current state. I really felt the film captured the evolution of the killer in a realistic manner. The main murders that are presented in the film are often disturbing. You get dismemberment, necrophilia, gunshots, just name it and most likely there is at least one scene like it. The scenes also tend to build in their intensity.
Not everything in the film works though. Filmmaker Saint Matthew does a great job at sculpting his film on such a noticeably tiny budget. There are times when the acting isn’t real believable but that is to be expected. One thing I did notice was that the majority of the film takes place in the daylight. By doing so, they avoid the common problem that many low budget films tend to face, under lighting night shoots. I have no idea if that was a conscious choice or not but it works to their advantage. I also have to note a couple of continuity errors as well. The most notable is when Kemp is being interviewed, at one point he is facing his interviewer, the next the opposite direction, then back again. That is only a very minor thing that is easily overlooked.
Some of the events and violence in the film tend to be difficult to watch. Rape and torture in this context is very serious. Most notably the scenes involving Playboy model Angelina Leigh. Her performance is BY FAR the best of the lovely ladies featured in the film as well as the most heartbreaking. Also, for all the sickos out there, almost every female featured in the film ends up naked. As much as I love to look at the naked ladies, the situations in which they are naked kind of ruins anything sexy about it.
“The Great American Serial Killer” is a really strong film. The portrayal of Robert Kemp is very realistic as are the events in the film. For a low budget indie film, Director Matthew does a really great job at creating a compelling story and delivering a frightening world. This isn’t a widely distributed film as of yet so be sure to visit the Blunt Force Cinema Store for more info. **** (out of 5)
The Great American Serial Killer (2011)