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Popular Culture without... Ed Gein

RyanF

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One thing that I didn't mention as it would have been too much of a tangent was that in the 1970s Erroll Morris wanted to make a film about Ed Gein and even went so far as to plan re-exhuming his mother's grave to test a theory.

Read more about it here. Just search for Gein to take you to the relevant section.
 

SenatorChickpea

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Excellent article.

I think that @RyanF made the wise decision to focus on the cultural consequences of the crimes, rather than the actual deeds themselves. I think that infamous murders and mutilations are a perfectly valid source for alternate history, but too often it's an excuse for frankly tasteless delving into the blood and viscera.

On the other site, for example, it seems that Ted Bundy will become a famous politician or talk show host at the drop of a hat. Sometimes this can be done well- but too often there's a disturbing pattern where writers and commenters alike will speculate about just how many women could have been murdered if things had gone 'better.'

Whereas taking a step back and saying- the perpetrators of these crimes do not deserve our attention, and the victims should not be subjected to it, let's look at what these terrible incidents have to say about the wider society then and now- that's interesting. You could do a study of how the 1960s would be remembered differently as a cultural moment if Charlie Manson and the Zodiac Killer had never committed their crimes for example, or how detective fiction might have evolved if Cora Turner had never married Hawley Crippen.

Our books and our films and our songs would be entirely different. Halloween Costumes would change as pop culture did. Legal reforms might have passed in different ways.

And at no point does it require us to swap prurient details of the horrors inflicted upon the most vulnerable people in society.
 

musicgate

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Apparently Robert Bloch was asked why he referenced Ed Gein in Psycho. He said it was because, at the time, no-one had heard of Albert Fish, killer of Grace Budd amongst others.
 
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