(Part 25 Of An Ongoing Series)
There are other ‘Sons’ out there… God help the world.
David “Son Of Sam” Berkowitz
Maybe Summer Of Sam was made to reflect the timeless aspects of Son Of Sam’s mid-70s murder spree– how the ripples of senseless evil beget waves of soul-searching, paranoia, and bloodlust in the survivors. But watching it now, the movie almost feels like an obituary for The Old-Fashioned Serial Killer, who was about to enter a twilight phase in ’99, soon to be overshadowed by the more explosive and spectacular Mass Murderer.
Sure, there’ll probably always be Old-Fashioned Serial Killers, like there’ll always be vinyl albums and hardcover books. But it’s hard to imagine another story like this making headlines anytime soon. Evidence is everywhere, and everything’s happening so much faster. Maniacs these days, they don’t unfold their atrocities like novels, stringing us along and gradually fermenting our fear. Now it’s all blockbuster massacres, and before we know it the maniacs go down in blazes of infamy.
I often wish I was around for New York ’77, despite how shitty it was according to people who actually lived there. And Summer Of Sam stokes my phantom nostalgia for CBGB and Studio 54 even hotter while still capturing that sense of ever-present dread. There but for the grace of God go Vinny (John Leguizamo) and Dionna (Mira Sorvino): Even as they disco-dance on air, Spike Lee keeps the threat of sudden, brutal death lurking in the back of our mind.
But perhaps the most powerful moment in Summer Of Sam is the perfectly absurd scene where the John Turturro-voiced dog commands David Berkowitz (Michael Badalucco) to kill, kill, KILL! It might serve us well to remember this scene in the aftermaths of any future mass murders. We can read their manifestos and analyze their facebook pages, but ultimately, it seems pointless to ask why these lunatics do what they do; bottom line is, they’re all just screaming at demon dogs.