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28 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

Quite dull

Author: Zbigniew_Krycsiwiki from United States
22 October 2008

Only for the most desperate true-crime buff, this TV movie-quality dramatization is about serial killer Ed Kemper and one certain cop's bond with him and his pursuit of him. Lame acting, worse dialogue (written by a former soft-core porn screenwriter), plot holes aplenty, and lackadaisical direction and editing. Many scenes are wide angle master-shots with no real framing, as the actors just meander on screen and recite their lines of dialogue. The plot is not very fact based considering it claims to be inspired by true events, it deviates from the facts of the case almost from square one. It seems like the screenwriters were not even familiar with the case when they wrote the screenplay. An interesting movie could have been made out of the story, but they did just about everything wrong here. And I did not know that people had laptop computers and cell phones with text messaging and photos in the 1970s?

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16 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Pathetic...and has nothing to do with Kemper killings

Author: scootmandutoo from Long Island, New York
29 November 2009

This movie was downright wretched. I watched it on Showtime Extreme and found myself cleaning while it was on, it was THAT awful.

What offends me most is this has nothing to do with the killings.

The real story is so much more compelling. A 15 year old kills both grandparents, then gets committed, only to go on a killing spree when he gets out of the psychiatric facility at the age of 21. He was also 6'9".

This film has the era wrong...this was the late 60s and early 70s. It also has all the facts, essentially wrong. Kemper was not an average-size man in his 40s. He was a giant of a man in his early 20s.

A decent film would have recreated the entire case, so there would at least be come thought provoking questions (i.e. how do you let out a psychopath to kill again). Halloween (the remake), is probably closer to the true story than this one was.

This was just a cheesy, badly-done splatter film that slapped the name Kemper on it, for no apparent reason.

"Psycho" really had little to do with the Ed Gein case. But it didn't really pretend to, and it was extremely well made.

"Kemper," on the other hand.....bottom of the barrel.

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20 out of 28 people found the following review useful:


Author: JackAwful from United States
9 October 2008

Maybe it was my mood, maybe I was drawn in by the "based on a true story" lure, but I found this film peculiarly entertaining. I don't know how accurate it is as to the facts, but we do know there was this strange killer. The problem with the facts has to do with the description of Ed Kemper being a serial killer of the sixties and seventies, yet we're seeing newer cars and cell phones. Maybe I'm just obtuse, but when TV shows like the new "Life On Mars" are more accurately portraying a time period I have to wonder. Still, I was sucked in by the presentation and the story enough to watch it until the end. It's not that gory and it does rely heavily on character, it might be too mild for those seeking a real creep-out.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Please make an actual true story

Author: s264445 from United States
15 January 2011

I rated this movie a 2 out of 10 for the simple reason it is fictional. The story of Ed Kemper is interesting especially to people who enjoy reading and studying serial killers like him, but this movie isn't that. They take the name of Ed Kemper and use it to make a movie and use the whole "based on actual events" trick to get it to sell. While they did use little tid bits here and there that were factual(like Ed sticking his moms vocal cords in the garbage disposal), this movie was fictional. That ruined the movie for me knowing that while watching it I wasn't seeing the actual story of Ed Kemper. Overall, if this was just another movie I would rate this up to a 5 for it just being a straight up independent film of new actors and directors(people have to start somewhere). But since this film used a serial killer's name to sell and claim to tell a true story, I give a 2.

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:


Author: anaciporta from United States
16 November 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Not only is the use of cell phones and laptops incredible for the early 70s, but the character playing Edmund Kemper is unbelievable--He appears to be in his early 40s. Kemper was only 24 years old when he was caught. In addition, they show scenes of heads in of a girl whose head is in the oven and the other of his mother whose head is attached to his kitchen wall after her death. I don't understand...his mother's head was actually stuffed in a closet and they don't even mention how he killed his mother's friend.

As for Harris, he has a very limited vocabulary and rather boring dialog. He puts some emotion into his character, but along with the cheap feeling the camera shots give, there is little to elevate the movie except for the character of Kemper and even that is lacking.

It seems as if they wanted to portray Kemper as a sad sort of Norman Bates type person...from what I understand, he was openly friends with several officers due to his gregarious personality. If the writers had made him more multidimensional and younger, more attractive, instead of just pathetic, they could have developed a much more intriguing plot. His mother was actually an attractive person (physically) and his murder of his grandparents is much more complex and interesting than his just having killed them while they were sleeping.

In other words, this plot has been so oversimplified as to just be about some sicko who sheds blood. Gone is the intellectual stimulation that the personality of a genius like Kemper's could have given the audience. His mother as well is pathetic and unidimensional. These people are so unlikable that the audience has no way to empathize with them and connect with the characters. Too bad it had to be all in black and white--the real life story has shades of gray and is much more provocative.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

The Filmmakers Know Very Little About Kemper

Author: screechinfo from United States
9 December 2009

First of all, Ed Kemper was 6'9" tall - the actor playing him was short and way too old for the role. Kemper trolled college campuses for his victims and would not have been able to get to as many young women if he were in his 40's as he was portrayed.

Kemper was extremely intelligent and likable, but this merely portrays him as a one-note freak. Which he was not.

Dialogue terrible, and cell phones and computers in the 1970's! Who was the production designer? Glad I didn't pay to see this one. I wish a really fine movie would be made about this brilliant killer - too bad he wasn't able to use his smarts for the good of the world.

Even Kemper (he is still alive in prison) would roll with laughter at the way he's portrayed here.

Boring boring boring and pathetic piece of tripe.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Based on hardly anything

Author: deadskinmask87 from United States
12 September 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you watch this film and think it'll give you a good idea of the real events that this film is based on than you're going to be sadly misinformed. Crap crap crap of a film. Watch a documentary on the dude if you want a crazy story that is actually true. Really interesting serial killer. Once again terrible movie all around. The real guy hung out at a pub that was frequented with cops. He wasn't close friends with any of them and NONE of them NOT ONE had any idea that he was doing these crimes. He called and turned himself in from another state. He wasn't even a suspect. So even just watching the trailer to this movie I was like WTH?! I was extremely disappointed. Look up the real case and you'll have a good time with it. Dude was wicked and you think that someone would make a film worthy of that madness. Insane he was... Well save yourself the time and DO NOT watch this movie!

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Unbelievable and Unbelievably Bland

Author: csr1000 from Right Here
16 December 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Many above complained that the anachronisms like cell phones,laptops, modern cars, etc did not fit with the supposed time period. I can actually ignore or overlook this, since many films that are "inspired" by true events move them into a different decade.

What bothered me was that from the very first scene, the situations and dialogue were just too hard to believe. Even the awful acting could possibly pass if the movie was a little more well thought-out.

Almost every line that came out of each character's mouth was a cliché borrowed from years of TV police procedurals; to the point that it was almost like a parody. I wondered at points if it was from the makers of Scary Movie or Meet The Spartans! Unfortunately, there is not even any suspense throughout, because the "plot-twist" is transparent--you know who the killer is from very early on. I don't know if that is really a *spoiler* but I'll check the box just in case! Highly recommend not to watch, unless for comedic effect.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A rare treat for bad movie fans

Author: ( from Los Angeles
24 November 2015

I grew up in Santa Cruz when Kemper was doing his terrible work, and so I have some familiarity with the gory details of this story. I mean, I never researched it but one picks things up from local news and talk around town. And without giving anything away, you can be sure that NOTHING in this movie is based on anything that happened in real life. In fact, I'm almost certain that they took an existing serial killer screen play and did a search and replace, swapping out "Mike Killington" with "Ed Kemper."

The locations don't look like Santa Cruz. The characters don't talk like humans. The cars are incorrect cars. The cel phones are... wait THERE WERE NO CEL PHONES IN THE EARLY SEVENTIES. Seriously, if there was any detail that could have been authentic, they found a way to make the exact opposite choice. It's kind of a marvel to see a movie with literally no correct decisions behind it. How does a thing like that happen?

Even if you never heard of Kemper you can appreciate this as a bad movie on its own terms. The acting is wooden and one-dimensional, the music is mostly synths, everyone is too pretty, the plot twists are like straight road through the midwest on a high-visibility day.

I guess what I'm saying is, if you have the attention span for stuff like this, it's the best time you'll ever have.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Has it's moments but ultimately a bit forgettable.

Author: Paul Andrews ( from UK
24 October 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Kemper is set in Santa Cruz in California where two female murder victims are found within the space of a few hours, detective Tom Harris (Christopher Stapleton) is on the case & because of the different kill pattern he feels that two separate killers are on the loose. Harris seeks the help of his gifted friend Ed Kemper (Robert Sisko) who has helped catch serial killers in the past by creating a profile, sure enough Kemper's clues lead Harris to one of the killers but in a ironic twist it turns out that Kemper the man helping to catch serial killers is actually one himself & after he murders his abusive mother (Patricia Place) detective Harris has to hunt down & bring his one time friend to justice. Kemper regularly phones Harris & plays a cat & mouse game with him as he tries to make Harris understand why he became a serial killer...

Also known as Kemper: The Co-Ed Killer this was directed by Rick Bitzelberger & according to the opening credits is supposedly 'Based on True Events' although while there was indeed a serial killer called Ed Kemper (Edmund Kemper in reality & not Edward Kemper as he is called here) who killed several hitchhiking teenage girls in the late 60's & early 70's almost everything about this film & it's script is fabricated & a work of pure fiction. To be frank Kemper isn't even a reworking of the facts, there is nothing here in Kemper that relates to reality other than a guy whose last name is Kemper & kills a few people. The script invents this relationship between Kemper & a detective named Harris, while the twist that the man helping Harris to catch serial killers is in fact a serial killer himself we know that from the outset, we know Kemper is a killer so when the twist is revealed about a third of the way in it comes as absolutely no surprise whatsoever. While the cat & mouse relationship between Harris the hunter & Kemper the hunted as he teases & taunts Harris is a slightly different take on the usual serial killer thriller it only carries the film so far, eventually it just becomes a little boring as nothing else really happens. The pace is alright, at just under 90 minutes Kemper is watchable & alright for what it is but it's nothing to write home about & ultimately forgettable.

While the real Kemper was active in the late 60's & early 70's the makers probably couldn't afford a period piece & as such features mobile phones, new cars & is contemporary. The retro diner was probably a little reference to the actual period Kemper killed during but otherwise even the backdrop isn't right. There's a bit of gore, there are a couple of gory slit throats with a cop having his throat sliced open with some wire, a couple of decapitated heads including one in an oven (at least Kemper had the decency not to turn the oven on...) & a few dead bloody bodies. Reasonably well made Kemper looks decent enough, it looks like a polished television film rather than a full blown theatrical release though.

The production values are alright, it's quite well made without being anything special. The acting is alright, but again without being anything special.

Kemper is a decent enough time waster, a serial killer thriller based on true events that don't resemble those events in the slightest. Not the worse serial killer thriller out there but far from the best either.

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