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Fernando Di Leo
Loosely based on the notorious Richard Speck murders, this is the grim tale of a disturbed Vietnam vet returning home via Belfast, who invades a house shared by eight nurses and proceeds to terrorize and murder them. Written by
An horrific historical document of madness and nightmares.
Richard Franklin Speck (1941 - 1991), the killer of eight student nurses living together in a Chicago Community Hospital during 1966. It was to be the night of July 13th - 14th that Specks inadequacies were to come to resurface, killing them one-by-one throughout the night. This was to be another dark night in America's history that was to add his name to the list of serial killers that have tainted its name: Ted Bundy, the Hillside Strangler, the Boston Strangler and David Berkowitz etc, etc.
With typical relish the film industry around the world then immortalised his deeds, within a certain scope, onto celluloid; Chicago Massacre: Richard Speck (2007 V) by Michael Feifer, Okasareta hakui (Violated Angels) (1967) by K. Wakamatsu, Speck (2002) by Keith Walley and 10 to Midnight (1983) by J. Lee Thompson and starring Charles Bronson as the cop on his tail. The lesser known, and possibly the less seen, of these films portraying the acts of his crime is the actual war zone setting of Northern Ireland during the mid nineteen-seventies that is the Naked Massacre. Giving too, its conjunctive title Born for Hell, this latter title comes from a segment of a tattoo that was on Speck's arm, and in the end, was to be his undoing, the full tattoo reads: BORN TO RAISE HELL.
What is intriguing about Naked Massacre, with its West German production that whilst being shot in Hamburg and Studio Bendestorf, Germany, again, and being dubbed into English, it is the 1970's exterior Belfast locations that sets this film apart to give it an air of historical reference. Ironically, too or just sheer coincidence, as both, then, Germany and Ireland were divided by the political, and with Northern Ireland, religious beliefs. Seeing our protagonist wander the derelict war-torn streets of Belfast, with its IRA slogans and with the English army patrols and armoured vehicles setting an atmosphere of desperation and bleak overtones in an environment were faction Vs. faction and soldier Vs. stone throwing youths. An interesting reflective on harsh times in both English and Ireland's history.
German born Mathieu Carriere is the US' Vietnam vet' drifter Cain Adamson, reprising the role as Richard Speck, who, while trying to get back home, finds himself waiting for a passage back to the States. It is here, while waiting, kicking stones and hanging around the local pub, he finds the dwelling of the student nurses.
Denis Heroux the Montreal born film director, producer and here, writer and director, has our woman hater disturbing these residents with his grudges and psychosis that are brutal and disturbing. While, in general, a film of female degradation, with its grainy film stock and basic environment, these European writers' too, have given us a tale of woes from the perspective of an eroding mind of a war vet' who questions his own existence while very easily blames others for his predicament. This downward spiral of sanity leads to a very claustrophobic and tense world of hate and retribution to those he finds responsible most: the female of the spices.
Whilst being a work of fiction here, one has to remember that the narrative is, loosely, based around fact, and the reality is that this film is hard-hitting and plays testament to the weakness of this male mind and its overpowering of the enduring "weaker sex". As the night progresses, we see the completeness of his insanity; vile, ruthless and completely out of control.
We can see violations of the fairer sex in films as I Spit on Your Grave (1978), Last House on the Left (1972) and in hindsight, Salo; 120 Days of Sodom (1975), this too, Naked Massacre, is not pleasant viewing. One should not fall into the trap of thinking this as macabre entertainment but it being a visual nightmare of a state of mind that in one summer's night in a nurse's dormitory, in the USA, a little piece of it died. Most mercilessly.
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