Film Reviews:

Addicted to Murder

(Kevin J. Lindenmuth, US, 1995)

Whatever you might think of the films themselves, you have to admire video label Screen Edge's attempts at pushing back the genre boundaries by releasing an unrivalled series of low, low budget (mostly) American independent features. The label's tag line, "Nothing like Hollywood" suitably sums up most of their output (mainly shot on 16mm) and is usually a reliable guide. Kevin Lindenmuth's Addicted To Murder is one of the label's recent releases, and concerns a serial killer who wants to surpress his impulses but cannot. He meets a woman - a masochistic vampire - who he can take out his murderous desires on, killing her in a variety of (humourously depicted) gruesome ways, and who can pop up seconds later, having met her need for masochistic pain, whilst providing the killer with another outlet for his serial killing needs! The two form a bizarre relationship that is destined to implode.

Using numerous documentary techniques, Lindenmuth employs a rudimentary approach to Freudian theory to explain how the killer became what he did - he feared his mother as a child and was abused by his older sister. But the emphasis is on tongue-in-cheek horror not psychology. The shortcomings in both the script and direction in Addicted... are that Lindenmuth plainly wears his influences on his cinematic sleeve. In its structure and visual approach it draws heavily on John McNaughton's seminal Henry: Portrait of A Serial Killer. It share the compulsive behaviour of George Romero's Martin and even turns to big studio Hollywood and to Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula for its vampire design. Whilst most of the influeces are not typical Hollywood, the derivative nature of the film spoils its independent advantages. Although the special effect are very impressive for the budget and a good lead performance, the production never fulfills its potential by having the conviction to 'break the mould' in any way - something the Screen Edge label can usually boast.

Rob Dyer