Although none of Manson’s music was featured in the film, his music was mentioned frequently as an influence and his ugly mug was featured prominently on posters and t-shirts. Of course, a high school student desirous of a career in serial killing would listen to Marilyn Manson, a band in which all of the band members are named after famous serial killers. The film is quick to point out that the stereotype doesn’t hold – serial killers don’t make a habit of listening to music that glamorizes serial killing. In fact, they’re just the opposite – ordinary guys that no one would ever believe would hurt a fly.
The basic premise of the film is that a misunderstood teen decides on a career as a serial killer as a response to a class project on careers. Not a wise move, since there’s a REAL serial killer in the area, but it does gain him the interest of a girl in his class. Lisa Loeb (well past 30, but somehow she works as a teenager) decides that she wants to be his first victim and helps him research how to become a serial killer.
The film reminded me of my high school days. In Sociology class, we were tasked with writing a paper on a deviant behavior. Not surprisingly, I wrote a paper on serial killers, mainly focusing on the recently apprehended Jeffrey Dahmer. I tried to be as disgusting as I thought I could get away with and not get in too much trouble. At the time, I thought I was a total badass. Unfortunately, I came across the paper while cleaning some stuff out my parents’ house a while back. It was just plain BAD. Wretchedly bad…but somehow, I still got an ‘A.’ If I come across it again, I’ll upload it to the site for a good laugh.
Thomas Haden Church is hilarious as the high school gymnasium coach. His character flip flops several times in the film, going from a total dickwad to a pretty alright guy, then back again and so forth. It doesn’t seem likely, but he really makes it work. I was kind of confused by his bleached white-blonde hair. What was that about?
I don’t want to ruin the ending for you, but it kind of ends up like an ABC Afterschool Special – hugs all around. Awww…
When I DVRed the film off Showtime, the title was “Serial Killing 101.” Imdb however, listed the title as “Serial Killing 4 Dummys” which is also the title of Casey’s final paper. If you ask me, both titles are kind of on the lame side, but the film actually wasn’t bad for a low budget slasher. I’d actually recommend it.