Serial Killing 101

This movie brought to you by Marilyn Manson and Taco Bell.

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.