Author: Samantha Sanders

BLOTTER | THURSDAY, MAY 18

Hi again, I’ve got a little (pre) summer fever right now, and I’m on the lookout for a classic true crime read or re-read to indulge in. Personal favorites? Tweet me recs, please. In actual true crime entertainment news, the first trailer for Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders has been released. The show is premiering this fall on NBC, and I’m inclined to already be a little skeptical of this one. I don’t know that many people, ’90s babies included, were exactly clamoring for this story to be revisited. On the other hand, Edie Falco. Last...

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BLOTTER | TUESDAY, MAY 16

Hello! Welcome back to a new week in true crime entertainment—and a busy one. Erin Lee Carr’s Mommy Dead and Dearest premiered last night on HBO. Look for a review here this week. In the meantime,  I suppose one from the New York Times will be…fine. Nest week you’ve got your Twin Peaks reboot coming back. If you’re a Lynch fan, visit the site often this week, we have a lot waiting for you. To complement your Lynchian pregaming, take a look at the case that may have inspired the whole Laura Palmer story. The Oxygen network is going...

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These are the Good Old Days: ‘One October’ Looks at a Moment in New York

One October tells the story of New York City in October of 2008 through the lens of filmmaker Rachel Shuman. New York City is notoriously hard to pin down. Eight and a half million people and a few hundred years of recorded history make it impossible to capture its full scope in one attempt. Instead, the upcoming documentary One October rises to the challenge with a novel approach: Rather than attempt to tell a sweeping story, Shuman trains her camera on what she calls “a moment”—October 2008—to showcase the city, as it was, those 31 days. Take yourself back...

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BLOTTER | MAY 11

Good morning! I’ve got your scary links here behind my back—true crime in one hand, fictional crime in the other. Go ahead and pick. Good choice. Netflix’s latest true crime doc, The Keepers starts streaming next Friday, May 19. If you’re the type who likes to do some research before the film, POPSUGAR has the backstory. Next comes one of the most challenging features to read I’ve come across in a while, but it’s an important one: “What Bullets Do to Bodies.” If you’re not scared enough, I’ve got two other links that should do it. The podcast True...

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BLOTTER | MAY 9

Hi there. I have a podcast-heavy Blotter for you today. Fair warning to the podcast-averse. But we’ll get to those. First, sound The Jinx siren. There’s Durst news. People.com is reporting that the $100 million lawsuit first brought against Durst in 2015 by his first wife’s sisters, has now been amended to include Debrah Charatan, the second (and current) Mrs. Robt. Durst. The suit describes Charatan as “a cold blooded opportunist, [who] conspired and agreed to help Durst conceal his murders of Kathie and Berman in exchange for a substantial financial return of tens of millions of dollars.” So...

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BLOTTER | MAY 4

Welcome back! It’s true that true crime stories are everywhere (guilty), but have you ever wondered why the podcast has become the premier delivery system of these crimes? Rolling Stone tried to figure out why. Speaking of, if you need a new podcast recommendation, check out Embedded. While not crime-focused, several episodes touch on the subject, including this fascinating one called “The House” about a group of recovering addicts living in  group home in one of the areas of Indiana hit hardest by an unlikely HIV epidemic. If you’re interested in the criminal justice aspect of true crime stories,...

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BLOTTER | MAY 2

Hello, hello. In This Seems Soon news, James Patterson is writing a true crime book about Aaron Hernandez, the former NFL player convicted of murder who was found in his cell after committing suicide last week. You’ve probably seen the Netflix documentary Casting JonBenét in your Netflix queue, but if the ick factor has kept you from watching, this article—which describes the film as “a hybrid between a piece of community theater and magical realist documentaries”—just might change your mind. My love for all-things-Zodiac has been chronicled here before, but even I’d never heard the story of a film...

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BLOTTER | A Murder Obsession From Every State in the US

This week’s Blotter is switching things up. Instead of the usual rundown of true-crime-related movie, podcast, and TV news, we’re going to take a closer look at a single story of a singular murder in every state. Well you’re going to take a closer look. Basically, the idea is: I give you a loving push down what could be an internet k-hole of crime. The story of each murder definitely won’t be the state’s most famous or likely its most terrifying, just a snippet of a story I’ve come across and found interesting that you might, too. One story....

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“Horror: Where Metaphysics is Innate” An Interview with A Dark Song Director, Liam Gavin

Quiet, moody and methodical in its deliberate march toward terror, A Dark Song is a remarkably self-assured first feature for director Liam Gavin. The film tells the story of an occultist hired by a grieving mother who wants to make contact with her dead son through the use of an ancient—and dangerous—rite. Audiences Everywhere recently had the chance to talk with Gavin about the freedom of working within a genre, and his experiences as a first-time director who set out to make a different kind of horror film. … Samantha Sanders (SS): Part of the film’s plot involves some pretty...

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BLOTTER | APRIL 27

Makeup, razors, underwear, why not murder mysteries? If podcasts, prestige TV, and Netflix weren’t scratching the itch, you can now subscribe to a murder mystery subscription box, and play to solve cases on your own. I feel strongly that Audiences Everywhere should give me a gift subscription. You guys need to know if this is any good, right? In film news, we’ve got a Slant review AND a The Young Folks review on a true crime doc from Tribeca you’ll likely be hearing about. The Family I Had delves into a shocking family tragedy with some fresh nature vs....

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TV Takes a Sweeping Look Back at the LA Riots This Week

This week marks the 25th Anniversary of the Los Angeles Riots and—fitting for an event where so much of it was captured on camera in real time—television is taking a closer look. Yesterday, NPR’s Eric Deggans of Code Switch (if you’re not listening to that podcast, by the way, you should be) offered up a solid overview of this week’s commemorative programs. Five documentaries about a subject that has been revisited so often, and often so well, might seem excessive. I haven’t yet seen any of these films and am anxiously waiting for them, as maybe you are, so...

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BLOTTER | April 25

BLOTTER | April 25 Hi again. A few weeks back, I shared a link to an older story about the search for the Golden State Killer, written by the late Michelle McNamara. This week’s 48 Hours interviewed comedian Patton Oswalt, McNamara’s husband, about her personal search for the rapist and murderer who stalked Californians at both ends of the state for more than a decade. At the time of her death, McNamara was working on a book about the still-unsolved crime and drawing closer to a suspect.  If you missed the episode, you can watch it online. It’s worth...

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New on Netflix Instant Streaming: Want to Understand 2017 America? Watch ‘Oklahoma City’ This Weekend

Originally published March 3, 2017. Oklahoma City is now available on Netflix Instant streaming. Overview: Two violent events mobilized the American far-right in the early 90s and inspired a former solider named Timothy McVeigh to carry out one of the deadliest acts of homegrown terrorism in the nation’s history. PBS; 2017; Not Rated ; 113 minutes. How We Got There: This documentary-length episode of PBS’s long-running series American Experience painstakingly recounts the events that led to the explosive growth of the white separatist movement in the early- to mid-1990s and connects them directly to the deadly bombing of the Murrah...

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Discovery Process: ‘Tales of the Grim Sleeper’

Discovery Process is an ongoing series taking a second look at true-crime-related films currently available on streaming services.  Overview: Filmmaker Nick Broomfield travels to South Central Los Angeles to talk to the family, friends, and survivors of the serial killer known as the Grim Sleeper. HBO; 2014; TV-MA; 110 minutes. Hidden in Plain Sight: In one of the many wrenching moments in Nick Broomfield’s 2014 documentary about the crimes of Lonnie Franklin Jr., Enietra Washington recounts the afternoon she accepted a ride from a friendly-seeming man in her neighborhood. Their car had barely turned the corner when, without provocation,...

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Jackin’ It: Once More with Feeling: Nicholson in ‘Five Easy Pieces’

Jack Nicholson celebrates his 80th birthday on April 22. To celebrate, we’ll be discussing our favorite Jack Nicholson performances all week in our Jackin’ It series, a collection of critical love letters penned to Nicholson’s best characters. … If you’ve never seen Five Easy Pieces, the 1970 Bob Rafelson drama starring Jack Nicholson, you might still be familiar with the well-known diner scene: Waitress: You want me to hold the chicken, huh? Nicholson, as Bobby Dupea: I want you to hold it between your knees. I hate that scene. Not just for the casual misogyny or the ugly classism...

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