Attempting to uncover the truth behind four popular urban myths, KILLER LEGENDS is an insightful look into how reality can be, and usually is, more terrifying than fiction. Split into four sections, the documentary deals with the legends of The Candyman, The Hook Man, Killer Clowns and the fear of an intruder to babysitters. The first, Hook Man, expands on the legend of a killer with a hook for a hand that stalked lovers lane in the late 40’s and early 50’s. This is followed by The Candy Man, a panic that sees parents worry about the dangers of tainted candy at Halloween and the unbelievably harrowing true story that have birth to the legend. Next up is the fear of an intruder whilst babysitting, seen in countless movies such as WHEN A STRANGER CALLS, THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL and SCREAM, just to name a few. Finally, and arguably the most entertaining of the bunch, is the exploration of so-called ‘Killer Clowns’, and how the entertainers have gone from a symbol of fun to the definition of a loss of innocence almost overnight. Director Joshua Zeman, who is no stranger to legend researching after giving us the eerily brilliant Cropsey, outlines the oft told stories, and delves deeper into the truth, laying out the facts in an accessible but equally unflinching way. Each is given about 25 minutes of screen time, which for the most part is ample enough to explain the story that spawned the terror. However, the babysitter story in particular overstays it’s welcome, whereas the time could have been spent looking more into the juicier and admittedly more interesting tale of the ‘killer clowns’. The documentary is at it’s best when it simply tells us the cold hard facts about various crimes, rather than when Zeman and his researcher Rachel Mills try themselves to solve mysteries about the cases. These instances come across as amateurish in what is mostly a well-researched and informative film; obviously, when the crew go to a location in the middle of the night and flimsily guess as to where a body may have been found 60 years prior, the effect is jarring, and doesn’t do their extensive research into the subject any justice. Speaking of research, Zeman uses a vast number of sources to back up these otherwise unbelievable stories – news reports, talking heads, interviews with people linked to the crimes in question, old newspaper articles; it’s clear he and his team haven’t gone into this unprepared. The gruesome crime scene photos may be too much for some, but that is exactly what he aimed for the film to do: show that fact is scarier than fiction. With a tone that’s more thought provoking than nightmare inducing, KILLER LEGENDS is a must watch for all who have an interest in spooky stories and the true life crimes that create them https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhCYLuUygRY
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