Sunday, 14 April 2013

The Killing of America

I have quite literally finished watching the documentary "The Killing of America", a film documenting America's history of violence from the 50's until the 80's.

Made in 1982 by director Sheldon Renan, and written by Chieko and Leonard Schrader (sister-in-law and brother of Hollywood writer and director Paul Schrader respectively), this film has a few similarities to the film "Orozco The Embalmer" that I have written about. It was produced for release in the Japanese market (where it was called "Violence U.S.A), and has never been released or ever been made available in the USA (though can be found easily enough in other markets or online).

The documentary covers many different subjects from race riots in the 50's, assassinations, snipers, serial killers, to everyday difficulties that are faced by various police departments. It is unflinching in showing you the dark side of America at that time.

Like "Orozco", this film has been labelled "mondo" and attracted the wrong kind of attention by certain genre fans (I blame this on the distributors). You find with all mondo films, they were made for exploitation purposes, and as such contain many staged scenes of cruelty, be it animal cruelty or in the case of  films like "Africa Addio", accusations of actual staged executions. All for the shock value. These "shockumentaries" hold no merit. Films like "Faces Of Death", or "Banned From Television" parade around pretending to be documentaries, but are only made to exploit and are pretty worthless money making schemes.

I never found "The Killing of America" to be made for shock. The same as I disagreed that "Orozco The Embalmer" was purposely made for the same reasons. Both documentaries show things as they are in a very matter of fact way. "The Killing of America" never seems preachy. It simply states facts and presents examples of these facts by showing them on screen in front of your eyes.

I'm not American so I've been able to watch the film in an impartial way. I know there was and is more to America than this documentary shows, but as this documentary shows there has always been an ugly side to life, and that is true of any country to this day, not just America.

You can watch the full film below. A warning that the film contains many scenes of explicit violence. If you are sensitive to this do not watch!

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