I am not a big fan of ‘death’ or mondo videos. If you don’t know what those are, they are basically compilation tapes featuring footage from other sources, mostly deaths and bizarre behavior. It was a genre created by the Italians in the early 60’s with Mondo Cane, and there have been many notorious titles, from Africa, Addio which features real executions and sickening footage of animals being hunted for the movie, to the infamously fake Faces of Death series, to the ones that came out on the 90’s which is basically autopsy footage set to really bad death metal music. I’m sorry but it’s very hard for me to watch this shit. You can only stand watching R. Budd Dwyer’s suicide so many times before it just gives you the urge to shower.
To that degree, I just saw a mondo film that could be considered art. That’s right, art. That film is The Killing Of America, which you probably figured out since you’re e reading the review right now. It was compiled by Leonard Schraeder, who is Paul Schraeder’s brother, the same man who gave us the script for Taxi Driver. Basically this is a filmic study of why the United States has become such a violent place, and why there is more gun violence on the US than in any other place in the world. We begin with the Kennedy assassination, which Schraeder sees as the match that lit the fire, and we go down onto the ranks of notorious incidents such as the Charles Whitman sniper shootings, the Manson Killings, serial killers like Ted Bundy, political assassinations, and random footage of people going nuts with guns, the most memorable being a man who takes prisioner a banker/stock broker (I think) and parades him around for three days with a shotgun beneath his chin. Talk about having a bad week!
If you feel the message of the film sounds familiar, yes, this movie will remind everyone of Bowling For Columbine. But the thing is, this was made 20 years BEFORE Michael Moore’s documentary, so it really shows how things haven’t gone better at all, they’ve gotten worse in fact! This is a very engaging film, and I recommend everyone who has a strong stomach and an interest in history and culture to watch it. But be warned: the movie is violent and we see everything in very explicit details. A powerful work of art.