Films, books inspired murderers | Inquirer Entertainment

Films, books inspired murderers

/ 02:35 AM April 21, 2012

NO PAROLE FOR MANSON. Debra Tate, sister of murdered actress Sharon Tate, cries at a news conference as she recalls her feelings of relief upon learning that Charles Manson would be denied parole, after she testified at a parole hearing for Manson at Corcoran State Prison in Corcoran, Calif., Wednesday, April 11, 2012. The panel denied parole for mass murderer Manson, 77, in his 12th and possibly final bid for freedom. Tate testified that Mason has shown no remorse for his crimes and should not be granted parole. AP/Tracie Cone

LOS ANGELES—Life imitates art—no matter how ugly.

The world was reminded of this on Thursday when Anders Behring Breivik told an Oslo court that the popular military game “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” and the online role-playing game “World of Warcraft” helped condition him for his shooting rampage that killed 77 people last summer in Oslo and at a youth camp on Utoya island.


History is littered with murderers inspired by art: Charles Manson believed the lyrics to the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” were a prophecy that ignited a killing spree. John Lennon assassin Mark David Chapman was obsessed with the book “Catcher in the Rye.” Columbine High School shooter Eric Harris avidly tinkered with the first-person shooter “Doom.”


Others have taken their obsessions to a different level by mimicking what they’ve learned from film, TV shows, books and video games, using works of fiction to create real-life nightmares.

Here are other examples of media over the past 40 years that have sparked terrifying atrocities:

“The Sopranos.” After being arrested for the murder of their mother, Jason Bautista and his half-brother told police in 2003 that the idea to chop off her head and hands to hide the crime was lifted from an episode of the HBO mobster drama in which Tony Soprano kills an associate and has his head and hands removed before the body is dumped.

“The Secret Agent.” Authorities said in 1996 that “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski was inspired by the 1907 novel by Joseph Conrad that features a mad professor who abandons academia in disgust to live in isolation and build a bomb. They believed he used variations on Conrad’s name as an alias when checking into hotels in Sacramento.

“Natural Born Killers.” The 1994 movie, starring Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis as star-crossed killers, has been linked to more than a dozen slayings, including the 1995 robbery-murder spree of Benjamin Darras and Sarah Edmondson that led to one of the victims filing a lawsuit blaming the filmmakers for the crime spree. It was dismissed in 2001.

“Magnum Force.” Dale Selby Pierre and William Andrews testified they came up with the idea to efficiently kill hostages by making them ingest drain cleaner during their 1974 robbery-rape-murder dubbed the “hi-fi murders” from this 1973 thriller starring Clint Eastwood. In the film, a prostitute is forced to drink drain cleaner.

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TAGS: “Doom”, Beatles, Charles Manson, Mark David Chapman, Oslo

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