I am often tempted at the grocery counter to impulsively purchase a magazine, but ultimately I know that I probably won’t really read it; I’ll just skim through the pictures, read a paragraph here and there, and have probably learned nothing new. However, I always give myself permission when I know I’m going to be on an airplane, and to my delight I scored this one for last week’s trip to Kansas.
If you’re curious about this one (because let me tell you it was goooooooood), I’m going to blog about it next week when I wrap up my Books of October.
What does this have to do with my classic movie of October? Well this baby was chocked full of serial killers I didn’t know much about, and right now I’m considering it a “jumping off” point for my next genre obsession. One of the profiled “serial killers” was a midwestern teen couple, Charles Starkweather and Caril Fugate, who went on a seemingly random killing spree for a couple weeks back in the 50s. They murdered her family, and then a bunch of random people who must have just been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Starkweather ended up taking most of the blame, Fugate she still got a pretty heavy sentence (considering she was only 14) and was eventually paroled later on. Not so lucky, Starkweather was sentenced to the electric chair.
When I saw Sissy Spacek was in the film that’s loosely based on the story, I knew I had a winner.
Badlands (1973) – I say this film was loosely-based because after viewing it, I immediately went back and re-read the article about them (the woman next to me on the plane inched a little farther away from me when she saw my face buried in the mag). Clearly there were scenes that were absolutely connected to the real-life events, and then others that were not. While I was expecting a lot of emotion and suspense, Badlands employs a lot of distanciation that was characteristic of the 70s. There was no “Bonnie and Clyde” love story here, just a couple of detached kids acting almost like people were toys they got tired of. That being said, there were still a few moments where I physically jolted in my tiny plane seat.
Sissy Spacek continues to rock my world, and I forgot that Martin Sheen was actually a babe back in the day. The cinematography is super vibrant and it’s a good reminder that we don’t need all that damned CGI to have a beautiful movie. I definitely picked a good one this month, and if you’re looking for a classic killer movie for the Halloween holiday, Badlands is a smart alternative to the slasher stuff that normally gets all the play.