Friday, May 11, 2012

James Ellroy’s Feast of Death. 2001

Homophobic, racist, anti-Semitic, right winger and hater of the Kennedys and the Clintons, he’s also one of the best writers working today in the crime detective genre. This rabid pit bull bully can be intimidating  and I honestly don’t know that I would like him if I ever met him, but as a writer I generally do. That being said and out of the way I can spend some time writing about this compelling documentary about James Ellroy and his dark fascination with the horrible murder of his mother when he was 10 and the Black Dahlia murder case that has held his interest for many years. Both murders are capital letters  L.A. crimes. Palm trees and cheap road houses, booze, cars and Hollywood starlets fast and loose and both remain unsolved to this day.  Ellroy has been sparked and goosed by these two murders and they have fueled several books by him and made him a wealthy man. Good for him. Murder does pay. The movie shows him giving book store readings, (he sure has his shtick down pat), having dinner with L.A. detectives, revisiting his mother’s murder, and cruising by his past checking and pointing out childhood landmarks of his youth in L.A. He was a bad boy. He would sneak into homes when empty and smell the panties of the young girls who lived there.  Junkie and alcoholic at a young age and a champion voyeur in his teens. This guy was brilliantly fucked up, and he survived all this shit to tell us the story of his mother who he loved and hated and to spell and spill out her tawdry life for us. The film is sometimes grisly as when we are shown crime photos of his mom lying dead on the side of a road, and especially those horrible photos of Elizabeth Short all chopped up in pieces with the blood drained out of her and a sardonic smile carved into her once pretty face. This stuff hurts, it’s a rolling bolder coming at us at high speed, and believe me this documentary is not for everyone, hell it might not be for anyone, but hey if you’re up for it and can handle your nightmares that poke at you even during the day, then I say see this bitch of a movie but don’t come crying to me afterwards.


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