The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007)
October 12, 2021 4:37 PM - Subscribe

In an abandoned house in Poughkeepsie, New York murder investigators uncover hundreds of sequential tapes showing decades of a serial killer's work.

Framed as a true crime documentary about serial killer Ed Carver, who is still at large, this movie is combines the mockumentary and found footage sub genres of horror. It was written by Drew Dowdle and John Eric Dowdle who would go onto write two other well known found footage horror films: Quarantine (adapted from the Spanish film REC) and As Above, So Below.
posted by miss-lapin (7 comments total)
This film is absolutely not for the faint of heart. It is a brutal and effective use of the found footage genre. Those familiar with true crime will notice nods to familiar individuals and tropes. Actor Ron Harper plays Mike Moakes who is modeled on Bill Hagmaier. There's even a "clip" of Moakes interviewing "Bundy" about Ed Carver. There's the too excited to use all his toys leader of the raid on Carver's home. There's the exploitative use of Cheryl's chanting softly in the background of montages as well as flashes of nude murdered sex workers. Paired together, there's the subtle accusation of true crime docs being just as exploitive to victims as the killer themselves. In this, it reminded me of the classic horror film Peeping Tom.

While I'm not a fan of their other two well known entries in this genre, this is a well crafted and effective horror film.
posted by miss-lapin at 4:56 PM on October 12, 2021 [1 favorite]

I fucking despised this picture. Not because I found it scary — I didn’t — but because it’s straight up torture porn, and I have less than zero use for torture porn. I can count on one hand the horror movies I was genuinely sorry I finished watching, but this would be the first one I’d count.

The one part I found mildly clever was when one of the detectives being interviewed says that if this movie made it into theaters, the killer would definitely be there in the theater watching it. Ok, you got me there — had I seen this movie in a theater, I would have found that pretty creepy. But this thing went direct to streaming, so I think the joke's on the filmmaker.
posted by holborne at 8:03 PM on October 12, 2021 [3 favorites]

Everyone draws a different line, but mine is torture porn. I love horror movies, but I can't enjoy prolonged suffering, such Hostel or Saw, nor would I feel comfortable hanging out with people into shit like that. Some Slashers I like, such as Scream, but prolonged pain or anything ritualistic is not my cuppa.
posted by Beholder at 3:00 AM on October 13, 2021

I don’t really have any opinion of people who like that sort of picture; every big horror movie fan is trying to work something out for themselves, and if people are into Hostel or what have you, I don’t really feel like I have any basis to criticize them based on that. Hell, I like some pretty gnarly stuff that a lot of people won’t even be in the same room with (see e.g. “I Saw the Devil” and “Haute Tension”). I mean, I don’t get it, but as I always say when people are really into stuff I don’t get: Hey, I like opera, so.
posted by holborne at 8:10 AM on October 14, 2021

My complaint about this film is not its representations of torture, which I actually found pretty restrained, but that it's another "genius serial killer outwits cops" film, when the reality is that most serial killers get away with being serial killers because they target people that society doesn't care about, because cops are terrible at their jobs, and because the supposed forensic science of profiling and whatnot is mostly hokum.
posted by maxsparber at 9:37 AM on October 14, 2021 [5 favorites]

I don't know what I expected going into this, really. But I saw a trailer for it in a theater, and something about the trailer unnerved me enough that I kept an eye out for it. I'm often looking for something to genuinely scare me, and I usually wind up disappointed. This wasn't the kind of movie that makes me look for the lightswitches in my house, but it was a little more off-the-beaten-track than the kinds of horror movies I usually go for.
I wound up watching it on Youtube, some number of years ago, which seemed like a more appropriate venue for it than a theater. And the movie stuck with me in ways I'm not always happy about.
I do recommend it to people who say they're interested in "extreme" horror movies, when I know they're not really extreme horror fans (gorehounds? screamfans? horrorheads? whatever they're called). I like horror movies a bunch, and I've certainly seen worse serial-killer movies than this one. I thought it was well-executed enough for the kind of thing it was.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 3:38 PM on October 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

I watched this because I saw a clip that was extremely intriguing in how bizarre/upsetting/messed up it was (here's a gif excerpt, depicts torture but not gore). I don't love torture porn either, but at least this succeeded in horrifying me instead of trying and failing to titillate me (like the Hostel films, or most films by Eli Roth for that matter).

A well-crafted and effective movie that I would recommend to almost no one.
posted by ejs at 6:19 PM on October 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

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