I have to say, I really enjoyed this class, even though it was a ton of work. The video projects were awesome, to make and I really enjoyed editing them. I like how my progress went with each of the videos. I also like many of the readings, especially Torso and the early readings from the True Crime book. I like how the movies were incorporated as well. They were a nice break from the readings. So overall I think there I really enjoyed the class. I have a few critiques, however. Maybe the next time it is taught, you could cut down on a few readings in the True Crime book, or even just make a course on that book. Maybe you can break it up even more where you could do a modern crime course, where it is only crime from the 20 and 21st centuries. That actually would be really cool. And that’s all I have for critiques! Thank you so much Professor Groom and Professor Paul! I’m so glad I got to take this class!
I thought Goodfellas was a good movie. Despite the long running time at 2 hours and 20 minutes, it was a a good story. The movie is about Henry Hill, who started out as a small time gangster and he moved on to the big leagues after he committed a robbery with Jimmy Conway. Henry started off really early, at thirteen. This is just like Sylivan, when he started doing his crimes very early. By the time Henry was in his early 20s he was rich. Then he fell in love with Karen. Henry and Karen ended up getting married. Then it became a story of love, just like the Ballads we read, Alice and Fred. At first Karen didn’t like what Henry was doing, but eventually it became “normal.” I got a feeling of Manson with this part because although he was asking his group to murder people, he made it seem like it was normal. Henry did this as well, he was with his group constantly and he was always with his wife as well. After a while it all seemed normal. After Karen had their first child, Henry found a mistress, just like Swaringen did. Henry would pay for her, he even got her an apartment close to where he and Karen were living. Henry and Karen eventually had two kids. I got the feeling of The Murder of a Daughter as well, because towards the end of the movie, Henry got into a lot of drugs, it made me think of how bad the kids had it with the family too, like they had to witness that. And no one wants to witness a person who is addicted to crack, like Henry was. When they trio called themselves the Goodfellas, I kept thinking of the Ohio Gang. Henry talked about how much money they made and how much money they stole from people. My favorite scene from the movie was the funny guy scene. It was when Tommy DeVito was telling a story and Henry calls him funny. Then Tommy gives Henry a hard time for calling him funny but he was faking it the whole time.
I really can’t tell you how I felt with The Stranger Beside Me. I mean I really like Ann Rule’s style of writing but I didn’t like the book so much. It was way to long for my taste. However that being said, I liked specific parts of the book. One part on page 438, when the victims walk into the court room, I really like how Rule described it. “And the young women – victims, witnesses – were a steady parade through the courtroom doors, Melanie Nelson, Nancy Dowdy, Karen Chandler, Kathy Kleiner, Debbie Ciccarelli, Nancy Young, Cheryl Thomas. Dressed in bright cottons, they all had an innocence about them, a vulnerability.” Something about this just stood out to me.
I also get a sense that Rule may have had feelings for Ted? I mean she worked with him but she didn’t know Ted when he was killing all of these women, and she even joked with him that he really looked like the killer. Then, I feel like she became heart broken when he called her from the jail, like on page 502 when she says “I cannot forget his phone call in October 1975, the call where he calmly said, I’m in a little trouble- but it’s all going to work out. If anything goes wrong, you’ll read about it in the newspapers.” And I don’t necessarily mean like really heart broken but more as in shock that he was in trouble. But the fact that he said this really calmly really struck me. Like there must have been something in his head that made him be really calm about it. Overall I didn’t really enjoy the book as I thought I was going to but there were some parts that did stand out to me.
In doing research while reading Ann Rule’s The Stranger Beside Me, I noticed that she had been friends with Ted Bundy while he committed all of these crimes. As I was reading, I didn’t notice that she was friends with him. I personally thought she was just writing a biography on him. Nevertheless, she did a wonderful job writing the story and setting it up. She explained his childhood in great detail. I found it interesting that he was made to believe that his grandfather was really his father because Ted was an illegitimate child. However that didn’t stop Ted from being himself. He started his life of crime at a very early age. He would torture animals and he was caught watching pornography. He started killing women in 1971. He would torture them until he finally killed him. During this time, Bundy and Rule were working together. She even mentions that the police sketch looks a lot like Ted. I really like Ann’s style of writing. And through further research I found that she was inspired by Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. I really found that very interesting. I also found these two excerpts from Interviews with Ted Bundy and one of the victims Carol DaRonch. In Ted Bundy’s interview he talks about how pornography was the major part in his crime addiction. He mentions how most of the men he talked to in jail were also addicted to porn. In Carol’s interview she recounts her encounter with Ted Bundy.
The movie, Helter Skelter, was about the Charles Manson murders. Charles Manson was the leader of a group/family in the 1960s-1970s. He was convicted of conspiracy to commit murders of Sharon Tate and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. The movie, just goes through the case from the beginning to Charles’ conviction. I thought this movie was very boring. I mean it was 3 hours. The directors could’ve shortened the movie, maybe to half the time. That was way to long to describe the whole case. Yes Manson was a terrible man for convincing those women and men to kill Sharon Tate and the LaBianacas. I really didn’t like the movie at all. It was a cheesy police movie released in 1976. It was interesting to see the background of the case and how it turned out. I didn’t know a lot about the case before but I now know the entire case now.
The second half of In Cold Blood was a building scene. It began with Perry and Dick on the run. They went all over the country. And they continued to commit many crimes. They stole a car. Dick specifically wrote checks and stole money from the owner of the car. As they were traveling through Texas, they picked up two hitchhikers, where they made more money by picking up bottles. They were on the run for 6 weeks. During that time, they spent Christmas in Miami. During their questioning, Dick tried to pin the whole crime on Perry. Perry himself was very calm. He told the truth for his confession. I felt bad for Perry at times, he was very compliant and he had good intentions but Dick was way more demanding and Perry was afraid to get hurt if he didn’t go with it.
Truman Capote kept with his cinema aspect to the story. He explained everything in great detail. However, he didn’t keep with the time period of the crime. During the questioning, the examiner read Dick his Miranda rights. If the book was set in the right time period, in 1959-1960, Miranda Rights didn’t come into existence until 1966, when Capote wrote this book.
However, even with this anachronism, the book was still wonderfully written. At first I didn’t like the book at alll but as I read further i really enjoyed it. I really like Capote’s style of writing
I thought Torso was a good read. It was like the Ohio Gang reading we had a while back, a graphic novel. This made it way better to read because there were tons of pictures. This really helped me get a grasp of the plot line because I could see what was happening. However, I kept getting confused on which way the flow of the page would go. The book was a true story about a serial killer/mass murder during 1934-38 in Cleveland Ohio. Because this was a time before DNA testing, it was almost impossible to find the identities of these victims, because the Torso killer mangled the bodies so bad.Throughout the plot, it twists and turns while the detectives try to find the killer. In the end the case wasn’t solved. As I was reading, I realized that this was during the great depression. The author showed how many people lived during that time, in shantytowns. So many people lost their jobs and their homes so they had to find a place to live. And thousands of people lived in these communities until they could get back on their feet. As I was doing some research, I found that the Torso murders were also called The Kingsbury Run Murders. I found an article from Trutv.com called The Kingsbury Run Murders or Cleveland Torso Murders. This murder gives an accurate account of the murder and the investigations.
There were plenty of poems to go around in the readings. I felt like I was in a graphic Dr. Seuss book. So first off, there was a poem called Poor Naomi. This was the only poem that actually had a melody to it, which made the poem more interesting. In this poem, a couple who wanted to get married. Unfortunately, the man, Lewis, decided to kill his fiance by drowning her in the river and leaving her there. He left, and was never caught for the murder. The next poem was about the bad man Stackalee. Stackalee and a man named Lyons got into a bar fight. Stackalee’s hat was ruined by Lyons. So Stackalee decided to shoot Lyons two times in the chest. Just for ruining his hat! That’s what I find funny about this poem because Stackalee shot someone for ruining his hat. This poem, is about Grace Brown. And Grace Brown was murdered by her husband, all because he just wanted a divorce. I feel like this has a connection to Allie and Fred’s story, like in the sense that “if I can’t have her no one else can” kind of thing. Which is kind of ridiculous. Now onto Belle Gunnes. I found some aspects of this poem to be absolutely hilarious. I mean a 300 pound woman, who likes to butcher men and hogs? That’s not something you hear everyday. I thought it was interesting, as well, “that she was stronger than a man her neighbors all did own”. Andrew Borden was murdered by a hatchet to the head. The case remained a mystery until they figured his youngest daughter, Lizzie, killed him. However, they found that she was too fragile and set her free. I believe though, that Lizzie did kill her father. The last poem we read was about Bonnie and Clyde. Bonnie and Clyde were bank robbers who had a successful streak until, they eventually got caught.
I found this ballad to be very interesting. Another different reading, compared to the types public executions we read about, it was also captivating. This is about a girl who fell in love with a town, then fell in love with a girl. They planned to get married but it was impossible. So Alice decided to disguise herself as a man. However, they got caught. At first their relationship, as friends, was just over looked by the eyes of the public. But after a while, people caught on to what was happening. Alice was cut off from Fred’s contact. Alice was so enraged that she killed Fred.
Its crazy to think about what people will do for love. They were going to make their relationship would work. But in the 1800s this type of relationship was looked down upon. Its interesting to see the changes of tolerance that society has since the late 1800s to now. We have come a long way but there is still a farther way to come.
I found this article from a Newspaper in San Francisco that talks about alice and when she was in the insane asylum. And quote “Alice is not capable of the strong and enduring love that is the glory of women.” So I think this proves that Alice is insane.
My group met yesterday to start the planning stages of our segment for the TV show. I won’t go into too much detail about what we are planning to, just in case people are still looking for ideas. We decided to pull in the three criminals we read about throughout the course of week 3, Powers, Mountain, and Fly. They are going to be the stars of a new game show! (Name has yet to be created). I specifically pulled in Fly, and I wrote his part for the background and helped write some of the questions (this will make more sense when we present our idea). We plan on filming our parts separately then I will edit them all together. It should be a good segment!