11. Sinners

Jim Shelley flips from serial killers to cynical snappers

Tapehead no 11

Less than two per cent of serial killers are found insane, so, if not madness, what makes a serial killer ? Tape To Kill And Kill Again to find out. Maybe you’ll even find out if you are a serial killer.

It starts with the call to arrest Jeffrey Dahmer: “Squad 126, report to 924, North 25th Street and investigate a head in the refrigerator.”

From there on in, the film’s attempt to justify its (gruesomely fascinating) examination of the Dahmer case as a scientific analysis of the components of your archetypal serial killer is soon reduced to a single equation. (Disassociation + Trauma + Fantasy + Pre-disposition + Facilitators = Murder).

Summing up serial killers, one detective also sums up To Kill And Kill Again: “these people are, to use a scientific word…scum.”

Dahmer was the model serial killer; a really disturbed individual. Masturbatory sexual fantasies mingled with thoughts of “dissection of a foetal pig he’d done at school.”

As a youth, he looked a lot like Joe 90, not to mention John Denver. Scary.

Though not as scary as the criminologists and forensic psychiatrists who discuss him. One of them looks like Terry O’Quinn in The Stepfather, grinning eerily as he analyses the development from necrophilia to cannibalism, pointing out that “it’s not because they’re hungry, I assure you.”

Very scientific – as is the perfectly gratuitous reference to gas-mask fetish magazines in the UK.

Which brings us to the Food And Drink Christmas Quiz, in which food and drink experts have to perform blindfold wine-testing (giving a new meaning to the phrase blind drunk), prepare a starter for two against the clock and identify which fruit is being rubbed against them. Guests include Helen Atkinson-Wood.

On this week’s Short Stories: Snappers, paparazzi
scumbags Phil and Hugh also admit to a spot of “feeding frenzy”, especially when someone major like Clint Eastwood or Madonna actually shows up.

The high-light is the Celebrity Stake-Out/Chase in which members of the paparazzi secretly stalk the likes of Jason Donovan or Patsy Kensit in the search for a perfectly pointless tabloid snap. Very entertaining it is too, and an excellent idea for a live game show – Hunt The Celebrity.

Phil and Hugh are, by the way, the men who brought us the “Who’s The Bag Lady ?” shot of a severely dressed-down Joan Collins.

Sadly, La Collins is strangely absent from Hollywood Women’s episode, Fear and Power, in which two classic LA beauties/airheads actually give out their home phone number in the hope that some poor sod will approach them. But, as Lauren Bacall says when men tell her they’re intimated by beauty: “You’re intimidated?! Well, then go in a corner!”

Tape-To-Believe the ‘How to Marry Money’ seminar, which teaches gold-diggers to read the obituaries, attend costly charity events and check out which men have expensive food in their supermarket trolleys.

What makes Hollywood Women perfect taping material is that it has no editorial argument whatsoever; just a scattergun assault of soundbites from The Mad and the “Beautiful” (not). Hollywood Women is as vacuous as its subject(s).

Theresa Russell looks like a goddess and a genius compared to the other Hollywood Women. In A Woman’s Guide To Adultery she performs heroics dressed in a pair of fat shorts, saying lines like “I’m scared Paul. I’m so scared,” and “it’s like a different planet, far away, above the stars, where nothing can reach us.”

Like Hollywood Women, it’s better than it seems, with more twists and pricks than Bouquet of Barbed Wire, but not even that had a flower stall on every street corner. Outstanding romantic conversation include: (sighs)
“Oh – freshly-squeezed.” (bashful) “Yeah, I squeezed it,” (sighs harder still) “you certainly know how to treat a woman.”

Collector’s Tape 15
• To Kill and Kill Again: Sun, 9pm-10.0pm, C4
• A Woman’s Guide To Adultery: Mon, 9.0pm-10.0pm, ITV
• Food And Drink Xmas Quiz: Tue, 8.30pm-9.0pm, BBC2
• Hollywood Women: Thu, 9.0pm (any five minutes), ITV
• Short Stories – Snappers: Fri, 8.0pm (any five minutes) C4