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Angel Maker: Serial Killer Queen

UK 2014
produced by
Paul Hughes, Simon Oliver, Warren Croyle (executive) for Reality Entertainment
directed by O.H. Krill
written by O.H. Krill

documentary

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Victorian England: At first glance the country thrived, the British Empire was the largest of the world, industrialisation brought new wealth, scientific breakthroughs were pretty much a dime a dozen ... but success and wealth were not for all, there was a big chasm between the classes, with the working class and below being left completely out of the Empire's success story.

Amelia Dyer, born 1837, was comparatively well off, she had been properly schooled and was working as a nurse - a hard job in her time, well regarded and not without its perks. Through her job she got into contact with a midwife, who taught her about the methods of baby farming, accepting illegitimately conceived babies, promising to act as agents for their adoption ... against a nice sum of money of course, as single mothers back then were stigmatized, so they'd give anything to get rid of their offspring. Thing is, these babies weren't always really handed over to foster parents but more likely just starved to death ...

Eventually, after giving birth to a daughter and after the death of her husband, Amelia saw herself in dire need of money, and saw baby farming as the most practical way of getting a good income ... that is until the authorities got wise to her, and she was arrested, but convicted only for neglect of her latest dead baby and sent to six months of hard labour. Back in society, she picked up where she left off, but soon discovered involving doctors for the death certificates of the babies in her care was no longer the way to go, and she thus started strangling them and getting rid of the bodies, which was lower on risk and more cost effective. A couple of times, she almost got caught but feigned a mental breakdown each time - and as a former asylum nurse, she knew how to have a nice time at the asylum. However she had to travel all over the country to hide her tracks, change her name ever so often, and be on the alert ... but it was inevitable that she would slip eventually, and a dead body she dumped into the river was found with evidence leading to her - and she subsequently went into a trap set up by the police. Amelia Dyer was hanged in 1896 - but she was far from the only women finding wealth in baby farming, even if her estimated number of murders - somewhere between 200 and 400 (only 6 confirmed beyond a doubt) are impressive in a terrible way ...

 

Now if you're somehow familiar with the case of Amelia Dyer, you won't learn much new in this movie, as it doesn't add much to the story as such that you can't find on wikipedia - but what the movie is good at is firmly rooting it in its era, making a good effort of bringing Victorian England as such, and especially its dark sides, across to even viewers not well-saddled in British history. And on top of that, the whole film is brim full of photos from (very roughly) the era of the proceedings, ranging from the impressive to the creepy, and features many a clip from (well and lesser known) vintage movies (including Gaslight, Ticket of Leave Man, The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes) set in the era, plus numerous snippets from newsreels. Granted, not all of these clips hit the mark terribly well, but they do really put flesh on the bones of the story, and are a delight to watch nevertheless.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD