Head Cases: Serial Killers in the Delaware Valley (2013)

Independent filmmaker Anthony Spadaccini always had a keen visual eye, leaving no stone left unturned. You can tell by watching his films that he takes great pride in every shot and every camera angle. His films are an emotional experience, but even more than that, they are a visual experience to remember. You feel as though you are entering another dimension or another universe. You are a little uncomfortable, scared, and unsure, yet you can’t look away and you can’t wait to see what unfolds next. It grabs the viewer right from the get go and doesn’t let go.

Serial killers have long been fascinating and disturbing not only in real life but also in cinema. However, there is always more than meets the eye with them and there is always a little more beneath the surface than just putting them in a simple box and calling them crazy. With Spadaccini’s latest film, Head Cases: Serial Killers in the Delaware Valley, he treats them as human beings and really gets inside their heads. He doesn’t try to paint them as victims or glorify what they are doing. He presents them as is and simply lets the viewer take it all in and decide how they feel about it.

This time, we learn more about the women in serial killer Wayne Montgomery’s life such as his wife and his mother. Spadaccini’s previous films about Wayne Montgomery include Head Case, Ritual, and Post Mortem. One might wonder how much more he can explore with this character, but there is more here and a different perspective, which makes it a nice companion piece to the other films. When a detailed and unique character like this is created, there are always so many ways a director can take it. He finds a fresh and exciting angle here.

The brain is a funny thing and there are so many influences and factors that go into making someone who they are. It’s never as cut and dry as we would like to make it out to be. It’s easier sometimes for us to just put someone in a neat little category and write them off as crazy. This film is smarter than that and really creates a lot of questions and some thoughtful conversation pieces when the credits roll. You really have to follow this one and stick with it, as if you miss a minute, you might miss an important detail.

The film is not perfect, as there are some pacing issues and, at times, it can come off a little heavy handed and over the top. Also, the tone can sometimes be a tad confusing and all over the map. However, thanks to the great visuals, creepy performances, and unique filmmaking style, I give Head Cases: Serial Killers in the Delaware Valley a recommendation for horror fans who like to think outside the box and are on the lookout for fresh and inventive horror. You can clearly tell there is a lot of craftsmanship and style involved in the filmmaking process here.

In the end, what’s most exciting and unique about this film is that you really can’t put into it a particular category or genre. It’s a film all its own and it’s hard to describe it at times and hard to pinpoint it, but it’s always interesting, even when the pacing can drag a little. When you see so many films throughout the year, you look for something that really captures your attention and makes you stop and think. You can’t quite figure it out but you are intrigued and interested and want to see more and know more. I can’t wait to see what Anthony Spadaccini does next.