CASE FILES OF THE EAST AREA RAPIST/GOLDEN STATE KILLER by Kat Winters with Keith Komos

PUBLISHER: CCW, 9/2017
GENRE: Nonfiction/True Crime
SETTING: California, USA, 1970's-1980's
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: A

FROM PUBLISHER: He’s the most prolific, enigmatic, and dangerous offender the State of California has ever known... yet he remains unidentified and unpunished to this day. With over one hundred burglaries, fifty rapes, and possibly a dozen murders, the “East Area Rapist” / “Golden State Killer” / "Original Night Stalker" was truly one of history’s most vile and heinous criminals. He seemed to appear out of nowhere in the mid-1970s near Sacramento, California, where he began a series of rapes and murders that left police baffled and communities on-edge. He couldn’t be tracked, he couldn’t be found, and he couldn’t be stopped. Over a ten-year period, towns like Modesto, Davis, Concord, San Ramon, San Jose, Danville, Fremont, Walnut Creek, Goleta, Ventura, Dana Point, Irvine, and the neighborhoods of Sacramento were all violated by this monster. He left behind thousands of clues spread throughout over a dozen jurisdictions but still somehow outmaneuvered efforts to capture him at every turn. This book culls together information from every source possible to present a comprehensive rundown of each and every attack. Evidence is explained, myths are debunked, and viable leads are presented.

Other cases which might be related like the Visalia Ransacker, the Ripon Court shooting, the Maggiore murders, and the Eva Davidson Taylor murder are explored. Never before has such a detailed and thorough chronological volume been published about this case. Going over the nuances and evidence with such granularity is a worthwhile exercise. This case is solvable, and the offender is probably still alive. The clues to his identity are in here. Because, as they say… The Devil is in the details.


MY THOUGHTS: I've read the previous books on this criminal, who's also know as the EAR/ONS, and because of how well the crimes are detailed, this one's my favorite of the lot.

Such incredible detail was given to each and every rape, including a lot of pre- and post-attack information that was previously unknown publicly. The author couldn't have done a better job.

At times the book had an amateurish quality to it because there was such a large amount of typos and terminology like saying something was 'totally weird', something's 'sketchy', a male victim being 'a big muscular dude', the criminal 'got off' on psychologically torturing this victims, and something being 'creepy', just to give a few examples. There was overuse of words and phrases like 'though' and 'keep your eyes peeled' and I feel things were in quotation marks and too many things were in parenthesis that shouldn't have been. This self-published book definitely needs to be cleaned up by a professional editor. I didn't like the author giving her own speculation or spending time pointlessly analyzing certain phrases the EARONS would use, like 'gimme a good drop'.

Near the end of the book is a helpful section called EAR/GSK Communications. All contact the EARONS made with either victims', police, and others is listed chronologically. There's also a section after that that's dedicated to the break-ins of the Vasalia Ransaker, a man who some believe may be the EARONS, and that too is in chronological order. Another helpful section is last in the book and it's frequently asked questions about the case, including information about paint chips found at a few crime scenes and why the FBI hasn't taken advantage of technology that can render a lifelike image of the EARONS.

A tidbit I learned was that in the early 1990's, years after his last known crime, there were some EAR-like burglaries in Irvine that are being looked into.

Being interested in this case since early 2001 and liking a lot of detail to be given for any crime, I appreciate the hard work and time that went into writing this. It couldn't have been fun.

Other books on the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker:

Sudden Terror
Hunting a Psychopath
Hot Prowl
Frozen in Fear (written by an EAR victim)
Murder on His Mind Serial Killer
I'll Be Gone in the Dark

FYI-  The author has proven herself to be immature and disrespectful and likes to play the victim. She's publicly called someone who gave her book a 1-star review on Amazon a 'troll'. She's also released a video to publically shame someone who doesn't like her and she's also posted screenshots of said person's Youtube channel on multiple forums to rally people on her side.

A big thank you to Jason for sending this to me.




CHAIN SAW CONFIDENTIAL: How We Made the World's Most Notorious Horror Movie by Gunnar Hansen

PUBLISHER: Chronicle Books, 9/2013
GENRE: Nonfiction/Memoir
AUTHOR SITE: link
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: A-

FROM PUBLISHER: When The Texas Chain Saw Massacre first hit movie screens in 1974 it was both reviled and championed. To critics, it was either "a degrading, senseless misuse of film and time" or "an intelligent, absorbing and deeply disturbing horror film." However it was an immediate hit with audiences. Banned and celebrated, showcased at the Cannes film festival and included in the New York MoMA's collection, it has now come to be recognized widely as one of the greatest horror movies of all time.

A six-foot-four poet fresh out of grad school with limited acting experience, Gunnar Hansen played the masked, chain-saw-wielding Leatherface. His terrifying portrayal and the inventive work of the cast and crew would give the film the authentic power of nightmare, even while the gritty, grueling, and often dangerous independent production would test everyone involved, and lay the foundations for myths surrounding the film that endure even today.

Critically-acclaimed author Hansen here tells the real story of the making of the film, its release, and reception, offering unknown behind-the-scenes details, a harrowingly entertaining account of the adventures of low-budget filmmaking, illuminating insights on the film's enduring and influential place in the horror genre and our culture, and a thoughtful meditation on why we love to be scared in the first place.


MY THOUGHTS: The title says it all. The author, Gunnar, who played 'Leatherface' discusses what it was like filming this over the course of eight weeks in the awful Texas heat in 1973 and getting screwed out of their money. He originally only got $800 for the role.

Most interesting to me was that the story was 'rooted' in Hansel and Gretel (who doesn't love that story?) and that Leatherface's mask and home 'furnishings' were inspired by American murderer Ed Gein, which I already knew, having seen shows on Ed and having read a book about him years ago. FYI- Ed also made leggings and a 'mammary vest' from real humans. He killed two women and robbed graves to get other female body parts. It would have been real cool for Leatherface to have worn a vest like that. Gunnar said that during filming of the final scene when Sally (Marilyn Burns) gets away, he was stepping up into the back of the truck, his foot got caught and the truck driver pulled off, dragging Gunnar. That was a true accident so they refilmed it but I think they should have left that in. Maybe have Sally try to untangle his foot or something. But this was low budget and there wasn't time or money for that.

Gunnar mistakenly said that Ed robbed his own mother's grave (page 92) and put the bones back in her bed. Wrong. He did no such thing. He loved his mother and closed her room off. It was the only clean place in the house.

Some interesting tidbits are: that the opening scene was to be of a dead dog's eye, which they filmed, but they decided against using a domesticated animal. They decided against using a dead horse too. Most of the bones in the film were found in pastures. Some of the dialogue was improvised. Paul, the awful actor who played wheelchair-bound Franklin (I can't stand his character!), wasn't as horrible in real life as he'd lead everyone to believe. During the course of filming none of the actors were allowed to wash their clothes, ever, for fear of colors fading or something else happening to them at the cleaners, since no one had a duplicate set.

Though the book is fairly short I got a bit bored with the day to day goings on at the shoot. There are 16 pages of black and white photos from the set in the book, which is nice.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


THE BAD SEED by William March


PUBLISHER: Rinehart & Company, 4/1954
GENRE: Fiction/Psychological thriller
SETTING: New York, USA
WIKI: link
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: A-

FROM PUBLISHER: This is the incredible story of Rhoda Penmark, a charming and delightful eight-year-old. There is only one thing disturbing about Rhoda. She has developed an extraordinary moral code - and would think nothing of killing you if you had something she wanted...


MY THOUGHTS:
I really enjoyed this. Rhoda has brown hair, light brown eyes, and a gap between her front teeth. She's got no conscience to speak of and will do what she feels she has to to get what she wants. I wish she had been more discrete at at times with her evil deeds but then I have to remember she's only eight years old. She's got everyone fooled into thinking she's your average well-behaved good school student who does no wrong.

There were a few long scenes where Rhoda's mother Christine explored her own background. I felt it dragged the story down a bit and thought it was unnecessary to the plot line. The story was interesting enough without adding that over the top nonsense. The could have left that stuff out and they would have had time to investigate a child's death, since he had oddly shaped bruises on himself.

What I like about Christine is that she knows what her daughter's done, she's knows it's wrong, and is very conflicted about what to do. Does she tell the police and her husband all she knows or does she keep Rhoda's secrets? At times she's in a bit of denial but she's always able to see the truth. She'd write her husband letters telling him all that's going on and tells him about her suspicions about Rhoda but she never mails the letters.

Leroy, the maintenance man, was one annoying character. What adult taunts a child repeatedly like that? He got what he had coming. I feel like his character is supposed to be black though it's never said that he is. An Amazon reviewer has said the same thing.

Another slightly annoying character was their neighbor, Monica Breedlove, who never seemed to stop talking. There were also three Fern sisters who ran the school Rhoda went to. It just wasn't necessary to have all three characters when one would have sufficed.

The ending was good and bad at the same time. I never would have expected what happened to have happened. Christine took drastic measures to keep Rhoda's secret. I'm not surprised that it was left open for a sequel, one I'd have loved to have read but the author died from a second heart attack shortly after the book was published so a sequel wasn't to be.

Excellent article on the novel here.

1956 FILM-  In the book, Christine's father died in WWII but he's alive and comes to visit her in the film.

In the book, Rhoda and family used to live in Baltimore, Maryland but in the film they changed it to Wichita, Kansas.

Rhoda has brown hair and brown eyes in the novel. In the film she's got blonde hair and blue eyes. One of the later book covers has her with blonde hair too.

Almost everyone played their part well, especially Nancy Kelly, who played Rhoda's mother, Christine. Patty McCormack, the girl who played Rhoda, was eleven years old at the time and was way too mature to play the part of an eight year old and didn't even look like an eight year old, despite the braids. I don't think she played the part well because she seemed to be overacting  most of the time. There was a scene where her mother was questioning her about someone's death and Rhoda got really angry and that was the first time she seemed genuine.

There's a scene in the book where Christine sees Rhoda take some matches from inside the house. In the film not only does Christine see her take them, she asks her what she's going to do with them.

Christine never wrote letters to her husband in the film like she did in the novel.

It was left out of the film completely the part where Rhoda killed a dog when she was seven years old when they lived in Baltimore over a year before.

The film used a lot of the exact dialogue from the book.

In the book Rhoda was given a fluid-filled pendant with opals in it when an old neighbor died and left it to her. In the film they changed it to a crystal ball with a fish in it that resembled a snow globe.

We didn't get to hear Christine's thought process when deciding on what to do with the situation with Rhoda at the very end of film, though it had a similar ending as the novel. Instead, after Rhoda went to bed her mother stood over her telling her what was about to happen.

I absolutely love the part near the end where Kenneth is reading Rhoda a story in bed and Rhoda tells him that Monica Breedlove is going to leave her lovebird to Rhoda when she dies and her father says that Monica's not going to die anytime soon. That's not in the book.

The very end of the film is completely different and better than that of the novel and blows it out of the water, it's so good.

This is what the end of the film says, "You have just seen a motion picture which dares to be startlingly different. May we ask that you do not divulge the unusual climax of the story. Thank you."

1985 FILM- The book was made into an NBC made-for-television film. It's 100 minutes long. I haven't seen it but have heard it's no good. They say Patty McCormick was offered the role of Monica Breedlove but after reading the script, she turned it down.

There's an unofficial low budget 1995 sequel to this called Mommy.