The Butcher is one of the many, many horror movies that seem to have been inspired directly by the murderous antics of one Mr Edward Gein. For those inexplicably unfamiliar with his work, Mr Gein was a serial murderer who haunted Plainfield, Wisconsin in the late 1940s and early 50s. Though he was from a small town and his “career” lasted barely half a decade, Gein made himself a name in the serial killer community for the – how shall we put it? – joie de travailler with which he went about his work. Almost all of the tropes beloved of the serial killer movie – the suit made of human skin, the mock-crucifixions, the skull crockery – have come from the details of Ed Gein’s trial.
Joe Ahearne is a British writer and director whose TV miniseries The Replacement was shown on the BBC in 2017 to a warm reception. I caught up with him to chat about this and his other project, the horror/thriller film called B&B.
“This was the first time I’d written something where I was determined that the gay guys were absolutely going to be the stars, and it was sort of a genre piece as well. I was definitely interesting in doing something that had some kind of fantasy or horror.”
Killer Friends features a spectacularly god-awful human being and his best friends’ attempts to put him out of their misery. These attempts, being amateurish and unplanned, backfire in various slapstick ways and the viewer is invited both to sympathise with the frustrated would-be homicides and wonder when they’re going to get their cackhanded act together and put the little shit down. It becomes apparent, however, that their potential victim knows more than he is letting on… Even now, thinking about him, I can feel my blood pressure rising.
“I’m here to love and support my girlfriend… and kill Scott!”
B&B takes as its inspiration a court case that received quite widespread publicity about six years ago for being the sort of thing that makes you go, “seriously, in this day and age?” The set-up is that a homosexual couple have fought and won a court case against a bed and breakfast that discriminated against them by refusing them a double room – a legal battle which really did take place and which was eventually decided in the Supreme Court, because there seems to be a disappointing abundance of legal funding for bigoted wankers.