The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007)
What’s It About: A serial killer with aspirations on being an auteur filmmaker terrorizes a town with his camcorder.
Here are some of my observations as I watched the film:
- I wonder if the Dowdle brothers (who made this film) have any resentment towards the Duffer brothers (who made Stranger Things). That would be a good episode of Family Feud.
- Why would you film yourself disposing a body? Isn’t the experience reward enough?
- The main title music is a Kip Winger bass solo on top of the children’s chorus from The Amityville Horror.
- Alice Endrisart is an impatient interviewee, easily annoyed by poor camera blocking, and has the name of a main character from Fargo.
- This Is Not A True Story Clue #1: FBI Agent Leo Schway, is portrayed by the guy who did those Bridgestone commercials a few years back.
- The FBI audio analyst says that he brought home one of the tapes and his wife accidentally saw some of it – after which she would not let him touch her for a year. Holy shit do I wanna see that tape.
- This killer’s backyard rivals Gacy’s attic.
- A very cool effect of having a map of the US done with a white sponge, and having the locations of active serial killers shown with blood spots that soak through appears here.
- Balloon fetish porn. This guy must be an all-out hoot at parties.
- The fact that he screams “Pop it!’ only adds to my amusement.
- OK, so this killer made all of the tapes in the early 90’s, so that means he is running around with one of those huge-ass old school camcorders – and no one ever took notice.
- Whoa. That child abduction scene was just fucking brutal.
- With today’s technology, I think law enforcement would have been able to nail this guy with voice recognition within days. Amazon’s Alexa constantly talks to me even when I don’t want her to.
- Say what you will about Ed (our villain here) but his camera work is quite avant-garde for a serial killer.
- I for one don’t think it’s a bad thing if you’re in a classroom and the teacher says that he’s been briefly institutionalized. You know the pop quizzes are going to be really special.
- The killer (Ed) cut off Mr. Anderson’s head and put it inside Mrs. Anderson’s abdomen. The Oscar for “Most Incredibly Fucked Up Kill” goes to…
- A gas station surveillance tape reveals Ed (the killer) giving the location of where he’s going to put the Andersons’ bodies in sign language. Brass balls.
- Who goes to school to become a dismemberment expert, and is it available online?
- Said expert is laughing way too much while describing saws. If you still think that this is a true story – you deserve dismemberment.
- This title card should have read, “Cheryl Dempsey Is Truly Fucked.”
- After watching some of Ed’s tapes of Cheryl, she seems to have the same Force-sensitive thing Laurie Strode had.
- Cheryl’s kidnapping set piece was filmed entirely by the actor who portrayed the killer and is brilliantly scary. This movie deserved a lot more than a Scream Factory Blu-Ray release ten years late. I think.
- How did Cheryl and her boyfriend not see a camcorder in their bedroom?
- According to the police report Cheryl’s boyfriend was cut open from anus to throat, had his intestines thrown around like Christmas lights, animal feces stuffed in his mouth, and had his genitals cut off and placed in a sock drawer in the master bedroom. I can’t summon the energy to do 20 sit-ups.
- This killer’s sense of theatricality buries those douche-nozzle clowns from Terror On Tour. I only wish he could have Quantum-leaped over and killed them as well.
- Cheryl’s mother’s televised plea to the killer was nowhere near as good as Senator Ruth Martin’s.
- The killer walks up to Cheryl’s mom after the press conference, filming her reaction to his offer of helping in any way he can. Make that chrome-plated brass balls.
- Now he’s switched his MO to killing hookers. Good thing Jack The Ripper never trademarked that, Gene Simmons would have.
- Holy shit, the killer made Cheryl cut a hookers throat! Stockholm has officially found its syndrome.
- This Is Not A True Story Clue #2: The guy that the FBI agent is interviewing is clearly not the real Ted Bundy.
- Oh did these two Girl Scouts knock on the wrong fucking door.
- Huh, he let them go. The writers must have not wanted to deal with an NC-17 rating.
- Some of these “re-creation” shots looked like they were lifted from Unsolved Mysteries.
- This Is Not A True Story Clue #3: One of the victim’s fathers has been in every one of those ad-libbed Christopher Guest movies.
- OK, so the killer (Ed, The Water Street Butcher, whatever the fuck at this point) frames a cop for the crimes enough to have him executed, then taunts the cop’s partner with the location of another body; which leads to his posthumous exoneration being buried in the news by the events of 9/11. Make that Adamantium coated-chrome-plated brass balls.
- How did the killer manage to find a British woman in Poughkeepsie? I’ve been there numerous times, and there aren’t any.
- After all of this incredibly planned shit, the killer uses the ass-out-of-you-and-me assume joke? I’m starting to lose respect.
- Talk about pride in your work: the killer does a Mummenschanz impersonation that leads directly into a Freddy Krueger hypos-for-fingers kill right out of Dream Warriors.
- Those crazy early 90’s: when the cops didn’t know the difference between an IP address and an ISP.
- Not one single fingerprint in your entire house? I have so much to learn from this guy.
- Notice how this elderly medical examiner with the German accent, says that he hasn’t seen this kind of torture inside of the United States? I think someone should contact the Simon Wiesenthal Center, or at the very least Indiana Jones.
- The interview with Cheryl after she is rescued. Jesus, Mary and Joseph Stalin (thanks Archer) – when she went to scratch her head and she did it without her left hand? This is a scene that has really great acting, leading to an intensely subtle scare. Her constant repetition of the line, “I don’t know what you want me to say” makes you creeped out and sad at the same time. I really wish I could have written this like I was one of the valets from Key and Peele.
- Cheryl’s mother looks like General Gogol from the Bond movies.
- We go back to the FBI’s audio analyst and it seems that he really wants to see what was on the 27 tapes that weren’t recovered. My guess is that his wife still won’t let him touch her far past a year’s time.
- There is an after-credits scene where the killer threatens to murder a woman if she blinks. I was hoping for a connection to the next Avengers movie.
Scare Level: I think that this would have truly scared the shit out of audiences without relying on jump scares like the entire Paranormal Activity series did. The child abduction scene where you don’t see but hear the punching is really fucked up, so yeah I’d vote for somewhat scary.
Gore Level: Dismemberment, decapitation, throat cutting, dead bodies. A fair share.
Nudity Level: Only on the dead women, if that’s your sort of thing.
Best Line: “To be perfectly honest, I don’t think either of us are gonna want you alive for the things I’m going to do to you.” Tell me truly gents, how bad do you want to put that in your wedding vows? Don’t lie because I’ll know.
Best Scene: When the killer hides in the closet watching Cheryl and her boyfriend.
Worst Scene: The actors that they chose for FBI agents/experts could have gone through another round of casting. Some have said that their shit acting helped the illusion of this being a true story – bottom line, I think pros would have come across far better with the direction these actors were given.
Overall: I grew up in the Hudson Valley, and spent a good amount of time in Poughkeepsie in the late 80’s/early 90’s. Before you make any snidely obvious remarks, let me say fuck you – it was for concerts at The Chance and record conventions at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center. When I first heard of this movie way back when, I thought it would be cool for a town that I knew to get a Blair Witch kind of vibe. I won’t get into the history of this movie since it is easy to find online, but the fact that it kept being denied to audiences made it that more appealing. To me, it is the Faces Of Death of the 90’s – something that only a few have heard of, less have seen, and everyone made things up about. I’m tired of pontificating. I liked it – you don’t have to.
Score: 9 Trips Up Route 9 (out of 10)