Ripped from the Headlines! The Shocking True Stories Behind the Movies’ Most Memorable Crimes

Little A. Jul. 2020. 441p. ISBN 9781542041805. $24.95; . $14.95. CRIME
True crime aficionados and movie buffs know that murderers Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb inspired Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope (1948) and that Elephant (2003) was informed by the Columbine shootings, but they might be surprised to learn that the killers in Scream and The Hills Have Eyes have real-world counterparts, too. With this riveting compendium, true crime guru Schechter (Hell’s Princess: The Mystery of Belle Gunness, Butcher of Men) provides the ghoulish details behind 40 films, from classics such as Arsenic and Old Lace to grindhouse fare including Eaten Alive! Every entry summarizes the movie (beware spoilers) and offers Schechter’s account of the crime. He also expands his discussion when a killer has inspired several movies—Ed Gein, the basis for Psycho’s Norman Bates, also influenced The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) and The Silence of the Lambs (1991).
VERDICT Schechter’s expertise is such that three of his previous titles appear as works cited in this well-researched and gripping read. This fascinating look at the intersection of true crime and pop culture is a must.
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