“You Can’t Hide from Your Shadow” - Should Natural Born Killers Be Banned?

1618 Words Apr 28th, 2013 7 Pages
“You Can’t Hide From Your Shadow”
Should Natural Born Killers be Banned?

In 1994 a film was released that sent religious groups, politicians and the sensationalist media into a fever; Natural Born Killers was “a bold new film that takes a look at a country seduced by fame, obsessed by crime and consumed by the media.” through the tale of two young murderers. In the years that followed the film was blamed for scores of tragedies in America, including but not limited to the case of a boy who decapitated a schoolmate, an 18 year old man who strangled his girlfriend whilst watching the movie and several high school shootings (including the now-infamous Columbine massacre). The Daily Mail was quick to import US-fear mongering and
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It seems that with this film, Stone is laying a portion of the blame for media-hungry murderers squarely at the door of the media themselves, suggesting that by creating a society in which everyone wants their ’15 minutes of fame’ they may inadvertently have created people who will do anything to get it.

Although it is easy to take an intelligentsia high ground on this issue, citing it as being an argument about the right to artistic expression and holding Natural Born Killers up as a great satirical work (which I think it must be conceded to be by even it’s most staunch critic) the issue of “copycat” killers and the film’s role in inspiring them must be considered. The most famous case was the shooting of William Savage and Patsy Byers by Benjamin Darras and Sarah Edmundson respectively. The killers were in their late teens when they embarked on the mini shooting spree and although the details are vast and unpleasant what is important to this discourse is that they spent the night before they left taking the hallucinogenic drug acid and repeatedly watching Natural Born Killers. The film was also one of the many things blamed for the famous ‘Columbine Massacre’ of 1999 due to the many references found to it in the journals of the gunmen; the massacre itself was always referred to before it happened as “going NBK[2] [Natural Born Killers]”.

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