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Lesley Ann Warren,
A web of deceit, lies and sex sends a woman on a risky mission to catch a deranged killer in this tightly wound thriller. Two decades of brutal and mysterious murders have gone unsolved as a concerned wife begins to suspect that her seemingly mild mannered husband could be responsible. The key to trapping the unlikely maniac lies deep in the man's bizarre and twisted psyche: his greatest sexual turn on is actually talking about his victims. Now, can his wife manage to seduce her husband while getting him to admit his crimes on tape? Written by
The barebones of the story are pretty close to the truth: a dentist in a blue collar neighborhood in south St. Louis has been intermittently killing people over a period of twenty years. Mostly the victims are husbands of women he's involved with, who he splits the insurance proceeds with. His operation starts to unravel when he assasinates the woman who owns a dental lab that he owes alot of money to. An ex-wife with whom he maintains a relationship is instrumental in bringing him down and turning him into authorities. Growing up in St. Louis, I remember this as a fascinating story, as it played out in the local news and the press, beginning when the dentist was very publicly put under investigation well before his arrest. The main problem with the TV movie is the problem I'm sure exists with all made for TV movies that tell fact-based stories: everything is "genericized" and there is no real local flavor to the story; it takes place in that parallel suburban universe where all of tv takes place even though the actual story took place in an urban locale. The actual characters were really very ordinary looking people, not beautiful Markie Post and Corbin Berenson. The actual Glennon Engelmann was a scary looking dude, which made his ability to control so many women so mysterious and fascinating. Even though it's credited as based on a book explicitly about the case, the names have all been changed, which is the tv-movie makers way of saying that this is only a "story based on fact" and not a journalistic movie that tells the story, but point for point it's a lot closer to some movies that do, even with the part of the kitty cat starting to chew up the wiretap.
You can get an idea of the story here, but for the real flavor of the case, see the Learning Channel true crime documentary with re-enactments, entitled Deadly Dentist.
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