Essay: Movie-Making Has Become Such a Pervasive Art

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Movie-making has become such a pervasive art form that specific movie genres have developed to meet the emotional needs of the movie-going public. One subtype of movies that has a guaranteed dramatic impact is the serial-killer suspense movie. These movies include films such as Copycat, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, and Silence of the Lambs. Serial-killer suspense movies have a power emotional impact because they tap into basic human emotions. First, because these movies follow the exploits of serial killers, they give movie-goers the intellectual challenge of trying to figure out or understand the serial killer. Second, these movies tap into the visceral thrill of the selfish murder, by demonstrating killing for the sake of killing. Finally, these movies tap into the fear of strangers; the absolute vulnerability that human beings have when they interact with other people. Because these emotions are so strong, serial-killer suspense movies are dramatic and involving for the audience.

Unlike many traditional thrillers or regular-horror movies, there is an intellectual edge to the serial killer movie. For example, in the movie Copycat, the detective who is tracking down the killers must try to get into the killer's head by understanding his crime scenes and predicting what he will do next. In Silence of the Lambs, the lead character's entire interaction with Hannibal Lecter is based upon the premise that he will be able to provide her with clues to the identity of an active serial killer. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer differs from the other movies, in that there was no detective hunting the killer; instead, the audience is left to observe Henry in as his crimes unfold. However, that places the audience in the role of profiler, trying to determine what is motivating Henry's crimes and whether someone like him could be stopped.

While most human beings are reluctant to admit it, there is something about the selfish personality that is fascinating. What could be more selfish than a serial killer? Therefore, these films allow human beings to vicariously enjoy absolute selfishness. In Copycat, part of the allure of the movie is that the killer has taken the time to emulate past famous murders, and is killing people, not because of what they have done to him, but because of how they… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Movie-Making Has Become Such a Pervasive Art.  (2008, August 2).  Retrieved October 16, 2019, from

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"Movie-Making Has Become Such a Pervasive Art."  2 August 2008.  Web.  16 October 2019. <>.

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"Movie-Making Has Become Such a Pervasive Art."  August 2, 2008.  Accessed October 16, 2019.