Americans since the 1900s have always been obsessed with serial killers. News tabloids always go into a frenzy for serial killings.
And today, horror movies fill the space for rare serial murders. Whether in the early 1900s or late 2000s, one thing is clear: Americans like serial killer stories. David Fincher’s new Netflix drama, Mindhunter, examines this unhealthy obsession.
Mindhunterr is set in the 1970s – the Golden Age of serial killings. The drama series is about FBI profilers who took up investigations into serial killings after a visit to a prison. Cameron Britton played Edmund Kemper, a serial killer. Jonathan Groff played FBI Agent Holden Ford. Holt McCallany played Bill Tench, Ford’s colleague.
Serial Killing Is Not Common Today As It Used To Be In the Early 70s And 80s
Serial killings peaked in the United States and across Europe in the early 70s to early 80s. As many as 700 serial killers were on the loose during this period. But it gradually tapered off in the 90s and very rare in the 2000s. Horror movies took the center-stage and films such as Hannibal and Dexter became quite popular for depicting dark justice meted out by murderers on bad people.
In Mindhunter, Kemper kidnaps and kills several female students in California. Agent Ford is tasked with interviewing him to understand his motives. Kemper has the sordid habit of dismembering victims and then having sex with their severed heads. But there is a problem: he doesn’t seem to have any motives. A fact that is troubling to the FBI profilers in the face of several serial killers on the loose.
Profiling a Serial Killer to Obtain a Motive Is Hard Work
“If we’re looking for a motive, we suddenly find there is none,” Agent Ford tells a class of FBI rookies. “It’s a void. It’s a black hole. The world barely makes any sense, so it follows that crime doesn’t either.”
The recent Las Vegas shooting where millionaire Stephen Paddock opened fire on a group of fun-seekers raises questions on the motives of serial killers. Agent Ford meets Debbie, acted by Hannah Gross, a behavioral scientist student at a bar. Tench convinces Debbie to join the FBI profilers to interview convicted killers in order to probe criminal psychology.
The film Mindhunter is based on the book The Silence of the Lambs written by John E. Douglas. A pioneer criminal profiler, Douglas also wrote Criminal Minds. Mindhunter is filmed in several episodes and where it will end is not yet certain.