Directed by Anthony Spadaccini
It’s serial killer time here at the Necropolis Macabre, and today I’m talking about Head Cases: Serial Killers In The Delaware Valley. My thanks go to director Anthony Spadaccini, who was nice enough to hook me up with a screener earlier in the week. It’s been a while since I watched either a serial killer movie or a mockumentary, so let’s get into it and see what I thought of this.
The central character of the movie is Wayne Montgomery, who killed 41 people between 1979 and 2007. The mockumentary focuses more on the impact Montgomery has made on those around him more so than the man himself. And everyone around him is as screwed up as he is it seems. His wife Andrea kills her abusive first husband because a divorce or a restraining order didn’t cut it for her I guess. Her son John followed in Wayne’s footsteps and began his own serial killer career. Later in life Wayne had a protegé named Michael Jared Sutton who took up the life with glee. And after Wayne’s death there was a wannabe killer named Luke Crossen who felt it was his legacy to continue.
This is actually the fourth entry in the Head Cases series, the first three being Head Case (2007), The Ritual (2009) and Post-Mortem (2010). From what I understand, it ties in the characters and events of the first three and is its own stand-alone movie. While watching the previous entries may help you become more familiar with the characters, I didn’t feel confused or left out of the story, so it’s up to you whether or not to watch the entire series.
There is a bit of inconsistency with the style around the middle. The first hour plays like a pure documentary style, but when it gets to Montgomery and his protegé Michael the film style goes more into a found-footage style, with some shots that look like a regular studio production. This goes on for nearly half an hour, then goes back to the documentary style, as if it forgot what it initially started as.
The acting varied for me as well. In the first hour I thought the acting felt rather natural, like there really was just normal people (normal used loosely of course) you’d see everyday being filmed on camera. But after that first hour the acting gets a little spotty. Paul McCloskey was great in the role of Montgomery, but it seemed that later in the movie, when he had more dialogue to deliver, the performance wasn’t quite as convincing. And I personally found the Michael Jared Stratton character to be rather annoying in general. Otherwise, all-around solid performances.
The main issue I seemed to have is that the movie felt like it went on longer than it actually did. It has a running time of nearly two hours, but when I got through the first hour, I had thought the movie must have been nearly done, until I looked at the time remaining. I think if the Luke Crossen story had been cut out entirely and the rest of the movie focused more or Wayne and Michael’s relationship, the movie would have felt less slow. But then, I don’t know how important Luke was to the previous movies, so I’ll leave it at that.
Despite my issues, the movie as a whole was done well enough to recommend giving it a try. At least, to those who can sit through documentaries without losing your minds. I know a few people who have trouble with that sort of thing. At least the amount of blood you see and the violence might help with that somewhat. Until next time, rest in peace.
Macabre Rating: 3 out of 5 tombstones