We feel safe watching horror movies because we know that Jason Voorhees can't just leap out of the screen and knife us. But, just in case you were considering sleeping easy this Halloween, or ever again, we're pleased to let you know that there are plenty of killers out there who would be right at home in anything John Carpenter could pull out of his ass.
When two men hunting in the Alaskan Knik River valley in 1982 came across a boot sticking out of the ground they may have been pleasantly surprised at their good fortune (free boot!), at least until they discovered there was a human foot still inside, belonging to a missing stripper.
Before long, more bodies started turning up in the area, all of them Anchorage women. The authorities didn't have much in the way of leads until one of the potential victims escaped and flagged down a passing truck, just like what happens at the end of 90 percent of all the slasher movies ever produced.
"9-1-1, what's your emergency? Uh huh. Ok, What you're describing is a cliche."
The terrified woman revealed that she was a prostitute who had been picked up by a red-haired man earlier in the evening, but her alarms started to go off when he drove her to an airport and told her he was going to fly her out to his cabin in the woods. She managed to escape while he was loading the plane, and later identified the plane to police, who found it was registered to one Robert Hansen, a local champion hunter. After they found a whole bunch of jewellery in his house that belonged to missing women, Hansen was forced to admit that he'd been hunting more than just elk.
"Can you believe none of those prostitutes were down for a horn-job?"
Hansen explained to investigators how he would abduct women at gunpoint, fly them out to his remote cabin in the woods, strip them and sometimes blindfold them before sending them off running into the woods. After giving them a head start, Hansen would then stalk and hunt them down like an animal in the kind of twisted human safari that you probably thought only existed in the dozen or so movies that have featured twisted human safaris.
And yes, in case you were wondering, he had in fact been doing it a while. Authorities had expected to charge Hansen with four murders, so it came as a surprise to them when he admitted to around 21 (but really, you can't be totally sure of the number when you're keeping track of something as mundane as how many people you've hunted down and shot). His hobby got him sentenced to 461 years plus life in the big house. And in case you thought we were joking about all the movies that get made about this type of thing, the movie about this case comes out next month, in which Hansen gets thwarted by Nicolas Cage.
Let's say there was a psychotic doctor practicing out there somewhere -- friendly and reliable on the outside, a lust for murdering strangers on the inside. He sits you up on the exam table, tells you to relax and that you might feel a little pinch of the needle, and you never wake up again. One unsuspecting victim after another, for no reason at all other than that he just likes doing it. Now ask yourself: How many people do you think he could get away with killing before somebody caught on? A dozen? Fifty? A hundred?
Dr. Harold Shipman was that friendly neighborhood doctor, who always had a lot of trouble with patients dying under his care.
"The ones I'd let go probably wished they were dead after they saw my rates."
Nobody knows whether Shipman started murdering people in Yorkshire, but after he started work at Donneybrook Medical Center in Hyde, he was well on his way to becoming the most prolific serial killer in British history. Colleagues probably thought he was taking it awfully well when a disturbingly high number of patients kept suddenly and unexpectedly dropping off on his watch, but a lack of evidence or any perceived motive kept the authorities from linking him to his crimes and probably just thought he was just a really shitty doctor.
"I'm telling you people die from athlete's foot all the time."
The only reason he got caught is because he got greedy; when a wealthy former mayor wound up on Shipman's slab, he stupidly forged her will to make it look like she left her fortune to him. Unfortunately for him, he wasn't as good at forgery as he was at injecting old people with poison. When Grundy's relatives became suspicious about why she had inexplicably left everything to the family doctor, an investigation began to unravel Shipman's crimes. Upon exhuming his patients, they found that a terrifyingly large number of them had died of morphine overdose. How many? They were able to pin 15 deaths on him officially, but further investigations revealed he may have killed up to 250 fucking people.
After being given 15 life sentences, Shipman apparently went into murder withdrawal and managed to find one more victim: He killed himself in his cell.
Charles Albright was a pretty swell guy. He knew several languages and was a former science teacher. He was well spoken, charming and lived happily in a committed relationship. He was a football coach, helped with Cub Scouts and was always willing to lend a helping hand to a friend in need. He was kind to children. Oh, and he also killed prostitutes and cut out their eyeballs.
"Please, like you people don't have any quirks."
As he's never admitted guilt, we may never know for sure exactly why Albright had this particular compulsion, but looking at his past we can make a few guesses. As a kid Charles was adopted into a stable (if not overly affectionate) home, where he took up an interest in hunting. He would skin and stuff the animal carcasses he brought home, but his parents were too stingy to allow him to spend their hard earned money on something as frivolous as realistic glass eyeballs, and so he had to make do with buttons. Well ... that's a little weird, but not serial killer-weird, right?
"This is more 'kidnapper-weird'; come back to me when he starts fucking around with zippers."
But then when he was in college, Charles had a friend who had recently broken up with his girlfriend and had thrown all the photographs he had of her in the trash. Charles retrieved the photos, cut out all the eyes, then pasted them all over his friend's room. At this point, shrewd detectives might come to suspect that he had a thing for eyeballs.
Fast forward to 1990, when a prostitute was found dead in Dallas. When the coroner lifted back the deceased woman's eyelids to check the eye color, they discovered that that there were no longer any eyeballs to check, which surely had to make a normally disconcerting workday even worse.
"Man, fuck Mondays."
Two more victims soon turned up eyeless, earning the killer the unimaginative press nickname "The Dallas Ripper." But, after rushing his third murder and leaving behind some damning forensic evidence, police soon arrested and charged Charles Albright. Since then, he's spent his days in prison, using his time productively. Just kidding, of course he's drawing eyeballs.