Born For Hell transposes the story of R S to 1970s Belfast during the troubles. S is the man who killed eight nursing students in Chicago in 1966. Released in a 6-minute shorter version as Naked Massacre, Born For Hell is a slasher movie but also more than that.
Graphically, Born For Hell is rather disturbing. It is sadly one of the reasons it works so well. Those unfamiliar with seventies slasher movies will find that the lack of special effects and CGI make the violence that much more disturbing and harder to dismiss.
The setting for Born For Hell is important. Cain Adamson (Mathieu Carriere), the R.S character, arrives in 1970s Belfast during the troubles. His first encounters with the city include being in a church when there is a bomb attack and watching children play execution platoon. The British army is constantly in the picture and gunshots are often heard in hte background. The first time you encounter the nurses the turn on the TV to see images of the war in Vietnam. All this and making Adamson a Vietnam vet serves two purposes. One, you can’t legally say it is a movie about R S. Two, this somewhat shifts the blame for the killings from the individual to the environment. Then again, the movie directly refers to the Chicago murders near to end so as to distance itself from the real story.
One scene I found hard to believe was the one with the girl and the birthday cake.
I also found it hard to swallow the film’s ending where various terrorists attacks are reported on the news. This serves to diminish the actions of Cain Adamson as a societal issue and not more than that.
Born for Hell was directed by Canadian director and producer Denis Heroux, best known for as the producer of The Decline of the American Empire, Atlantic City, and personal fave The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane. It stars Mathieu Carriere and Carole Laure.
Born for Hell was restored in 2K based on a complete print of the movie found in the National Archives of Canada. It looks and sounds great
Special features for Born For Hell include:
the edited version Naked Massacre (85 minutes)
The Other Side Of The Mirror – Interview with Actor Mathieu Carriere
Nightmare In Chicago – Remembering the Richard Speck Crime Spree with Local Filmmakers John McNaughton and Gary Sherman
A New Kind Of Crime – The Richard Speck Story with ‘Once Upon A Crime’ Podcaster Esther Ludlow Bombing Here, Shooting There – Video Essay by Filmmaker Chris O’Neill
Artist Joe Coleman On Speck
Inside The Odditorium With Joe Coleman
Born for Hell
Directed by Denis Heroux
Originally released 1976
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