Editorial: Disgusted - The Miranda Murders: Lost Tapes of Leonard Lake and Charles Ng

Misogyny is alive and well in the year 2018. 

In the early '80s, a pair of sicko friends, Leonard Lake and Charles Ng raped and killed over 20 women at a secluded cabin in the woods. Hoping to make their perfect sexual slave, the two were involved in some of the most heinous crimes of the last century. Eventually, they were caught. Lake killed himself with a cyanide pill. Ng is still on death row awaiting his final day. 

Trying to recreate the sleazy world of the killer duo, Matthew Rosvally's film presents a degraded VHS style project that can only be qualified as escapist snuff fantasy. Finding enjoyment in this movie may qualify a visit to your therapist. I've never been a fan of censorship, but in this case, the entirety should be destroyed with fire. Hot hot fire. 

Premiering at Horror Hound Weekend, one of the stars of the movie joked he "gets to rape a girl". Writer G.R. Claveria commented that it's, "about sexual abduction and instructions on how to rape women." Wow. With the #metoo movement still maintaining some glorious positive momentum, we get several men actually thinking its humorous to talk snidely about something so insanely wrong. I cannot bear to not speak up. 

Let's get this out of the way. I'm a devout fan of the horror genre. These eyes have set themselves on some of the most disturbing and vile content ever produced by man. From the sheer nightmare fuel of A Serbian Film to the skin peeling grotesquery of Martyrs to the sexual assault of Last House on The Left to the brutal rape of I Spit On Your Grave, this follower has given thousands of hours to movies that would make many squirm or at the least turn off the terrifying things happening on screen. 

Yet, I've stuck by. Why? Because most are escapism in the form of amplified, gut wrenching fiction. These all qualify as art. They all have a message. And most of the time, there will be some redeeming quality or at minimum a female protagonist that outdoes her physical assailant. This might not be the case all the time. But in most, yes. 

The realms of horror are meant to push the envelope. The subject matter is meant to make us turn our heads in disbelief or surprise. The actions that take place are meant to transport us into places where blood and gore are a mainstay and the awful transactions are developed to strike fear into our hearts and minds. Over the years, we've seen the genre take us through numerous branded  slashers, sequel-ized hauntings, and creatures that rip flesh from bone. While lines have been crossed, somehow we still see the light at the end of the tunnel. Most of the time, we understand that what's taking place on screen is not real or is possibly fantasy manifested on horrific film. 

The fandom has been supportive even when visuals have suffered under the weight of low cash flow and middling production values. Series that should have died decades ago still get a support system from the die hards that just want to see their favorite characters or franchises succeed. Some have even used the social media platforms to support a director that's a convicted child molester. You know who I'm talking about. I won't even give him the time of day. We refused to review or publish any materials related to his trash sequel. 

Through it all, we fans stick by horror's side, always protecting indie films with little budgets and huge amounts of heart. We've relished in seeing women rise to the top, vanquishing their would be killers. The final girl trope exists for a reason. It's been a standard for years and will continue to be one of the most repeated themes throughout this kind of entertainment. However, 2017 saw something so absolutely disgusting and line crossing that many are starting to wonder where that fine line might eventually be crossed. When it comes to brutality towards women, it's always hard to watch. And it should never be taken lightly. Sadly, The Miranda Murders: Lost Tapes of Leonard Lake and Charles Ng is where that blood soaked imaginary line is crossed. 

In the years that The Movie Sleuth has existed, we've never spoken out so strongly about a film. It is the equivalent of celebrating the rape, torture, and killing of innocent women. It is also a pile of non-cinematic drivel that attempts to make light of the real life murder of small children and entire families. Everything that happens in this film could actually happen in real life. And much of it actually did. Hearing the actors joke about real life rape with such casual abandon as they did at the Horror Hound festival is an embarrassment to the entire community. Putting this tripe to video and releasing it on Amazon is even more of a disturbing revelation. Personally knowing numerous directors that have had their fictional content pulled from the service, citing violence or adult orientation, it's plain to see that something is askew in the enormous world of that specific streaming giant. Lost Tapes belongs nowhere near an outlet where a film so disturbing could be accessed by the eyes and ears of children. 

All those involved with this feature should take a cold hard look at what they've created. The Miranda Murders can barely qualify as movie making. It's a symptom of a world in which misogyny has taken center stage for too long. In an era that's finally seeing the sexual misconduct of men brought to the forefront of the entertainment industry, this takes us right back to the acceptance and virtual celebratory efforts at congratulating two real world murderers on their viciousness and perversely gratifying abduction of entire families. 

Right now, my mind is not at ease knowing that that this was given an award. I'm actually rather sick to my stomach realizing that much of what happened in this movie was something that actually can exist in our world. Perhaps it's time we take a look at how this movie even happened and why on earth anyone would feel like this even needed to be made. 

And before you get on the high horse about so many real life movies being made, I will simply state this. Movies like Zodiac didn't paint the killer as a hero or a protagonist. Fincher's work showed a veiled mysterious murderer that existed in the shadows as it also expanded on the struggles of the people involved in the case. We can get 'based on a true story' without exploiting victims in such a salacious way. 

I fully realize that all these editorials are probably helping promote the movie. I'm sure in some sick and twisted way, they're taking count of how many sites or blogs have commented on their supposed 'movie'. I needed to speak my peace on the sickening way it glorifies the actions of two serial killers and how  the people behind the film are in some dark corner cashing in on the death of women and children.