HORROR DVD/BLU-RAY REVIEWS

Search by title # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
RICHARD SPECK: CHICAGO MASSACRE
Download Movie
Reviewed by: Ammon Gilbert

Directed by: Michael Feifer

Starring:
Corin Nemec
Andrew Divoff
Tony Todd

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
A psychopath named Richard Speck brutally murders 8 young nursing students in Chicago, leaving one survivor behind. We follow two detectives as they attempt to track him down, while catching glimpses of the crime scene and Speck's past sprinkled througout.
Is it good movie?
The actual true story this film is based on is pretty hardcore and heart wrenching, as for no apparent reason in 1966 Richard Speck decided to break into a nurses dorm room and brutally rape, stab, shoot and murder 8 nursing students, with only one survivor left alive. That another human being is capable of something so horrendous is disturbing in itself, so a movie that attempts to explore the killer's mind, his motives, and why he would do such a thing would be a great watch and interesting, especially if you're into true crime stories.

Unfortunately, this is not that movie. While it does show us the the events leading up to the mass murders, the actual murders themselves, and the hunt and eventual capture of Speck afterwards, it doesn't really show why this guy just snapped one day, or what made him so crazy. It basically explored the story from a newspaper article level, giving a few details here and there, but never really explaining anything at all.

The performances given here were also less than noteworthy, as it had a few character actors that generally do a great job in whatever they're in fall flat on their face due to shoddy dialog and a script that was all over the place. The great Tony Todd as Captain Dunning probably pulled off one his worse performances ever, as I never believed that he was actually a detective, and it felt like he was just going through the motions. Every piece of dialog sounded like he was reading straight from the script. Then there's Andrew Divoff as Detective Whitaker- he may have done an even worse job than Todd , as he too sounded like he was reading directly from the script.

Maybe it's because I expected more from these two, or that they generally put on really great performances, but both their efforts combined here wasn't nearly half the job they probably could have done. CANDYMAN and WISHMASTER were nowhere to be found here!

The rest of the cast fell prey to the same 'look at me, I'm reading a script' performance (especially the lone survivor-yikes!), and in the end was one of the film's biggest downfalls. Bad script and bad perfomances equals one bore of a movie.

The one saving grace here was Corin Nemec as Richard Speck- the guy did a lot with what he was given (which wasn't much), and painted a great picture of how absolutely apeshit crazy this guy really was. His performance stood out like a sore thumb, blowing the rest of the cast away in his wake. Scary and amusing all at the same time, he pushed the envelope on creating one psychopathic mofo without going too far. Great job!

Sadly, Nemec couldn't save the picture as a whole, as the storytelling was all over the place, with flashbacks and glimpses into what happened and why. Problem was, they weren't really the what's and the why's that really needed answering here. After listening to director Michael Feifer on the film's commentary track it made a lot more sense why the final product was the way it was. Shot in 10 days on a shoestring budget, the script was a bunch of sequences and flashbacks without any real direction or order to them, mostly put together in the editing room after production was over. Guess what? That's exactly what it felt like! A jumbled storyline and performances that felt rushed and uninspired.

Video / Audio
Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) Enchanced for 16X9 TVs. The video was crisp and clear.

2.0 Stereo & 5.1 Surround Sound. Audio was adequate, not bad but not spectacular either.

The Extras
Audio Commentary with Director Michael Feifer & star Corin Nemec: This feature was actually my favorite part of the whole disc. Hearing the two of them talk about making the film on a tiny budget, their obvious passion for the film itself, and how proud they were of how it turned out was inspiring, and actually enhanced my respect for the flick as a whole. You wouldn't know it from the final product, but this was a true and blue independent film.

Deleted Scenes: We get two deleted scenes here, the first being a throw away scene that didn't need to be there, with a hobo calling the cops on Speck. The second, however, was far more interesting, as it follows one of the victims families going to one of Speck's parole hearings. It's a good scene that probably didn't make the cut due to pacing and the film's overall run time.

Still Gallery: Images upon images from the film, like stumbling across a still gallery on the film's official website. Nothing more, nothing less.

Trailers: A selection of other straight-to-DVD horror flicks from Lionsgate here, including MURDER SET PIECES, BTK KILLER, ED GEIN: THE BUTCHER OF PLAINFIELD, and CURSE OF THE ZODIAC.

Last Call
The box claims that it's a movie that every fan of true crime must see. I would actually say that RICHARD SPECK is a movie that only fans of true crime should see, and even then, don't expect an explanation, or a concurrent telling of events. Nemec does a great job as SPECK, unfortunately everyone else flounders and drowns in the sporadic story line and flat dialog. If you do check it out, be sure watch it with commentary on, as you'll likely get more enjoyment out of the whole experience.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

Featured Youtube Videos

Views and Counting

Mistress Of The Week

More
Lowndes, Jessica