While a lot of These Our Fandoms will talk about the sci-fi and fantasy, gaming and more that I’m interested it, I also have to acknowledge that I have a major interest in one other thing, which is (serial) killers. From Jack the Ripper to the Moors Murders, Ted Bundy, Steven Avery, Manson and more, I’ve enjoyed so many stories about so many twisted individuals, and I read a lot of fiction and non-fiction around it too. In part because I’m studying criminal and social psychology, but also because if I’m honest, I’m fascinated by the thought processes behind serial killers and their crimes. In part for my own work, but also because it helps me work through some of my anxiety and worst nightmares, because of the sheer rareness of these things happening around the average person.
Ever since my kids were small, I’ve watched crime shows. From CSI of all stripes, Law and Order and more, it’s easy to see they influenced me (if my book, Glass Block, is anything to go by anyway). As the years continued, I started watching more and more true crime, scaring the hell out of myself in the process. But as I watched, I also discovered my interest in criminal psychology, and forensic linguistics.
It’s a ‘pleasure’ (though I’d call it interest really) that no one else in my family shares, and I know that it’s a bit of a weird one for a geeky blog. But the things that I enjoy have real world and fictional world consequences for me, so I’d be lax in not talking about it, at least occasionally.
I wouldn’t call true crime a fandom exactly. But with the rise of the cult following around shows like Making a Murderer (Netflix) and the ever-present true crime dramas that recap the crimes are interesting, but I’ve got a very specific interest in serial killers specifically. But I also devoured the first season of Making a Murderer because it was an incredible documentary about what could be a huge miscarriage of justice… which is exactly how Making a Murderer is set up to make you feel. The community around it is vast though, with podcasts, documentaries, books and sites dedicated to finding justice. There have been incidences where these sites have done something incredible, and corrected mistakes.
And as time has passed, I’ve watched more crime dramas, like ‘The Good Wife’, ‘NCIS’ and ‘How to get away with Murder’. Usually, in the background and while I work.
Why it’s important, and part of what makes up my ‘fandom’
I guess the reason I’m talking about it on These our Fandoms, other than the theme of the AtoZChallenge is because part of the deeper conversations on These our Fandoms will be about how we view the content we’re enjoying within our experiences. Recapping Game of Thrones for me focusses a lot on the violence and relationships, and trying to use what I understand about psychology to decide what I think might happen. My true crime watching often informs my guesses while watching shows. Similarly, Westworld, which we’ll be talking about in the coming months, I watch it mostly for the psychological aspects of the show, and the twists and turns. I think my enjoyment of crime writing and crime shows makes that easier for me to look out for this stuff.
And to be honest, it’s always cool to follow along and see if I can understand why they came to the conclusions they did. And often, how luck and hard work play such a critical role in catching and proving the crimes in question. And wondering about the ones that were never really solved – the Black Dahlia, Jack the Ripper and more. It’s all stuff I like to consider carefully when watching other shows because I’m probably not the only one informed by the whole sub-genre of horror.
My current fascination is with cults – Jonestown, Manson, Waco and other cults of personality, and how it is can influence or harm society. Food for thought for stories, for books, and for discussing the things I’m watching. because if Cerscei isn’t a serial killer, and building a cult around her, then I’m Jack the Ripper ;).