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 I WAS A TEENAGE SERIAL KILLER

From the late Sarah Jacobson, a gleefully anarchic, feminist slanted short. It’s amassed a dedicated cult following over the years and…well, is what it is.

The Package
     Sarah Jacobson, who died in 2004, was and is a semi-legendary figure on the underground film scene. She made this 1992 short (her first) at age 20, and distributed it in what was to become her signature fashion: by touring with and screening it in any venue she could find. Jacobson’s subsequent films include the acclaimed 1997 feature MARY JANE’S NOT A VIRGIN ANY MORE and a documentary on the 1982 production of LADIES AND GENTLEMEN THE FABULOUS STAINS. Jacobson later taught at the New School in NYC and drafted a manifesto for feminist filmmakers.

The Story
     Mary is a teenager who was abused as a child and suffers severe anger issues as a result. After murdering her boyfriend she decides to kill all “sexist pigs.” She poisons one guy and strangles another while banging him (because he removes the condom before he‘s finished). Another guy meets his end after he shouts “Nice Ass!” at her--she replies by pushing him in front of a truck.
     Things appear to be looking up when Mary takes up with Henry, a fellow serial killer. He claims to only kill straight white males, which is something they have in common. These two lovebirds commence a joint murder spree until Henry turns up with a young woman victim…even though he claimed to only kill men! Mary is so upset by Henry’s deception she beats him to death with a dust buster.
     She winds up pouring her heart out to a twerpy young man she almost stabs to death. She relents, however, vowing to stop the killing and find a more constructive way of dealing with her problems.

The Direction
     This being an underground film, the grainy black and white film stock, awkward performances and clumsy filmmaking are to be expected. Where Sarah Jacobson makes her mark is in the raw, punk rock-fuelled energy and gleefully subversive violence, of which Jacobson packs quite a lot into her 27 minute running time. The film is very much a product of the early 1990s, when the Riot Grrrl movement was at its height and serial killer chic was all the rage (culminating in the 1994 release of NATURAL BORN KILLERS, which bears more than a few similarities to the present film). But the final scene, in which the protagonist delivers a lengthy monologue about her childhood abuse and the marginalization of women, reveals that Jacobson had far more than mere exploitation in mind. This film may be a little--okay, very--raw around the edges, but it leaves a mark.
 

Vital Statistics

I WAS A TEENAGE SERIAL KILLER
Stationwagon Productions

Director/Producer/Screenwriter/Cinematographer/Editor: Sarah Jacobson
Cast: Kristin Calabrese, Phil Calabrese, Corey, Scott Graver, Bob Hendershot, Zach Kadish, Alan Pierson, Sarah Rothstein, Kathie Smith, Jeff Stein, Chris Stoher

 

     

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