Monday, March 05, 2007

"Yeah, this is the Zodiac..."

So the new David Fincher movie about the Zodiac killer, “Zodiac”, came out this weekend and despite it’s tedious running time, uneven reviews, and the magnetic comedy lure of “Wild Hogs” I’ll probably make an effort to see it; on the sole basis that it brought back some old memories of my interest in serial killers in high school. It’s one of those phases you go through growing up. It may not be as common a phase as the POGs, soccer, karate Jim Carey movies, or the Smiths phases many of us through in our formative years, but I wouldn’t say it’s a totally abnormal interest. People have always been interested in serial killing; no other type of crime has been depicted so often in media (with the possible exception of bank robbing).

Of course there’s tons of literature that examines our morbid fascination with it, the reflections it makes on the alienation and nihilism of modern society, etc., etc. I think people are so intrigued because it’s the closest thing we have to real life monsters. These entities are straight up going around, killing indiscriminately like a gumba from Super Mario Bros. When you start the game you have no history with the gumba, but it’s there just lurking, waiting to instantly kill you if you run into it with a touch. Such as the case out there, people just lurking around ready to strike for reasons exclusive only to them. It’s freaky, it’s fascinating.

Anyway, my take on the Zodiac; I recall the Zodiac to be both the most boring and the most frightening serial killer I’ve read about. Much like Chloe Sevingy, I never actually finished any real detailed book about him on account of the tediousness of it all. The complex cryptograms, the ciphers, the cryptic messages, there was so much of it I always ended up losing interest. The most fascinating, and the frightening parts was the fact that he was never caught (I’d say it’s a movie spoiler, but then again come on it’s been like 40 years the news is out) and the freaky getup he wore. I mean seriously, no other serial killer wore this ridiculous pseudo Klan hood and packed a utility belt. He was one of the only guys with enough crazy sanity to try and conceal their identity when working. I also always imagined he’d walk in some sort of stiff robotic manner with minimal knee bending like C-3PO, an extra detail that further freaked me out. Further dehumanizing him was the fact that since he was never identified, he never had a name, just this super villain-esque title of “The Zodiac”. It was like the boogeyman. Imagine how less scary the boogeyman would be to children if it had a name like Joe or Gary or Ron.

There just aren’t serial killers like the Zodiac anymore. Nowadays it’s just an unorganized rabble of sexually arrested loners strangling hookers and hobos in dark alleys. It’s a lot safer for us many of us in the “mainstream” of society; unless you’re hitchhiking at midnight on the interstate, chances are you won’t be a victim of a serial killer, nobody’s threatening to pick off a bus full of school kids unless their demands are met. It’s not a lament or anything, just an observation and if the real Zodiac is still around today and catches one of the ubiquitous commercials for the film on TV, I can totally see him putting down his sudoku puzzle and thinking “man, that Donovan song really captures how scary I must have been!”.

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