4 Bizarre Details Left Out In Famous Crime Biopics
Sure, movies based on real-life events can’t possibly include every little detail of every little thing that went down. If they did, those Steve Jobs movies would be a gazillion times more boring, we bet. So many turtlenecks. So many insufferable turtlenecks.
When it comes to movies based on actual crimes, however, we don’t think it’s too much to ask that filmmakers keep things as accurate as possible, not in the least because there are real-life victims involved. We’d think people wouldn’t want their movies to end up looking more sympathetic toward its killers than the killers’ unfortunate victims. Maybe it’s just us, but it seems pretty strange that …
Pain And Gain Left Out All The Sadism
Pain and Gain taught us two things about director Michael Bay. For one, he’s actually pretty decent when it comes to comedy timing, with the movie filmed and cut in such a way that it makes Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson look both good and funny. However, we also learned that Bay’s sense of humor basically boils down to pointing and laughing at dumb people. Sure, it wouldn’t be the first time a movie has done that, but doing so with a story that tells of real-life people getting kidnapped, tortured, murdered, and their corpses completely mutilated is … quite a choice.
The movie reads a lot like The Wolf of Wall Street (that came out the same year), only with beefed-up dudes on roids who — and we can’t stress this enough — also did some murders. Apparently it’s okay, though, because the movie keeps telling us that it’s all because of their ignorant ideologies and mindless moral justifications. The Rock’s character (who is a composite character of a bunch of real guys who were part of the Sun Gym Gang) embodies this theme boldly: He’s an ex-con born-again Christian who believes that you can totally kidnap and torture a man, as long as you wear your Team Jesus shirt.
If this was a made-up fictional story, it would’ve been fine, and we’d be able to excuse all the non-subtle points Bay was trying to bash us with. But it’s not fictional — the movie itself keeps reminding us of this — and the real story is way more cruel and awful than a bunch of guys pumping weights while talking about kidnapping and also which protein shakes are better. According to documented reports, Daniel Lugo (played by Wahlberg) wasn’t some meat from the streets who just had a cooky idea one day. He was smart, fooling a lot of people throughout his life with his charms and calculating brain.
Anthony Mackie’s character Adrian Doorbal was a total sadist in real life. He was Lugo’s cold-blooded right-hand man who enjoyed burning Marc Schiller (named Victor Kershaw in the movie) with a lighter while Schiller was held captive for a month. Schiller survived the attempted murder on his life, and wrote about it: "Doorbal just loved violence. He enjoyed what he was doing to me. He is the kind of guy you'd imagine had fun killing cats and dogs as a kid."
Doorbal was also brutal in the killing of Frank Griga and his girlfriend Krisztina Furton, crushing Griga's skull with a blunt object, strangling him, and off-ing both Griga and Furton with shots of horse tranquilizer — a far cry from the “accidental murder” shown in the movie. Of course, there was also the hatching of the bodies, with Doorbal using a chainsaw, and both Doorbal and Lugo skinning the victims' faces because this story falls less in the satire genre and leans more toward straight-up gore horror.
But, you know, let’s laugh at Wahlberg and Mackie looking like idiots, apparently.
Foxcatcher Left Out A Significant Diagnosis
Foxcatcher was a sports drama about Olympic wrestlers and Steve Carell’s ability to play the daylights out of absolutely any character in any genre. The other actors are good, too, but boy, Carell really raised the bar with his portrayal of real-life coach and deeply disturbed human, John Eluthère du Pont, while totally looking like a potato with a nose stuck to it.
In the movie, Du Pont is shown as an obsessive wrestling coach with some extremely questionable training methods and terrible interpersonal skills. Spoiler if you haven’t seen the movie yet (or read the actual story), but he totally shoots and kills Olympic gold medalist wrestler Dave Schultz in the end. What the movie leaves out, however, is that Du Pont was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. In Foxcatcher: The True Story of My Brother’s Murder, John du Pont’s Madness, and the Quest for Olympic Gold, Dave’s brother Mark Schultz (played by Channing Tatum) wrote of Du Pont’s paranoid behavior, and that Du Pont was convinced there were spirits and spies hiding in his mansion. “(He) ordered treadmills removed from the training center because he believed their clocks were transporting him back in time.”
Du Pont apparently talked to rocks, and randomly drove his cars into his estate’s pond. Yes, the guy did a lot of drugs, too, but his behavior was way more unhinged than the film portrays. On top of that, the murder as depicted in the movie seemed to have happened a couple of months after Mark left the farm and his brother Dave behind. In real life, seven years passed between Mark leaving and his brother getting shot. That’s an incredibly long time period totally unaccounted for in the film. In fact, it would appear that Dave had corroborated a police report filed against Du Pont around the time he was killed.
That, and Du Pont’s ever-growing paranoia suggests an even more disturbing story than the one we got.
Bonnie And Clyde Completely Oversimplified The Real Story
Before Mickey and Mallory, before Chucky got his killer bride, there was Bonnie and Clyde — the cinematic duo who robbed and murdered their way through the United States while smooching each other’s faces off. The 1967 film was influenced by the French New Wave, sparked a fashion revolution (with people sporting berets everywhere), and kicked off the capturing of America’s fascination with celebrities on screen. It was also seen by counterculture groups as a call to arms, seemingly promoting violence against the establishment.
In real life, however, Bonnie and Clyde weren’t the Robin Hood-types who stole from banks on the brink of foreclosing on poor farmers during the Great Depression. The pair was way more nefarious and self-serving, according to Nate Hendley who wrote Bonnie and Clyde: A Biography. “In reality, they never robbed banks. They hit up low-hanging fruit. They robbed small-town grocery stores and gas stations, where working people or poor people would (shop).”
The movie was clearly a product of its time, with the ‘60s being a decade of rebellion and a new gear for civil rights movements. Having a young, loved-up couple “freedom” their way through counties while stealing rich people’s cars and richer people’s money was a sure way to get audiences all riled up. Only, the romanitizing of the story of Bonnie and Clyde reminds one of that other star-crossed lovers story … that romanticized suicide. Clearly there’s a pattern here.
There’s also the fact that Bonnie and Clyde were part of a much larger gang, and no one’s even sure if they were really romantically involved or simply traveling together. Both of them had also been captured and imprisoned during their careers of crime — quite different from pretending like they got away with their crimes for the most part.
Of course, there’s also the horrible aftermath following their death, where people literally tried to cut off pieces of Bonnie and Clyde’s bodies as souvenirs because that’s what this story should really be about.
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil And Vile Left Out How Terrible Ted Bundy Was Toward His Girlfriend
Even though the movie in which Zac Efron plays Bundy was based on Bundy’s longtime girlfriend Elizabeth “Liz” Kloepfer’s memoir, the film only portrays the two of them as a normal, happy couple, with Bundy doting on Liz and their child like your average American Dad. According to Liz, however, there were many red flags that she didn’t understand at the time, but were far from a doting nature, nonetheless. “We would be getting along fine and then a door would slam and I would be out in the cold until Ted was ready to let me back in. I'd spend hours trying to figure out what I had done or said that was wrong. And then, suddenly, he would be warm and loving again and I would feel needed and cared for.”
His controlling nature was evident, and it remains a mystery why the movie didn’t choose to show it since they were (sort of) focusing on Bundy’s home life to begin with. Liz wrote about how Bundy would get angry whenever she wanted to do simple things like changing her hairstyle, and the Netflix movie also left out how Bundy, in fact, totally tried to murder her once by closing the chimney flue and putting a towel under her door to keep the smoke from escaping.
When questioned about why he left out all these cruel details about Bundy, director Joe Berlinger said: “I made the conscious decision to not really show any murder or any criminality on Bundy's part because the whole movie is experienced through the POV of the people who loved him, especially his longtime girlfriend.” Which, after hearing Liz herself talk about the vile treatment she endured at the hands of Bundy, doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Berlinger also said that he wanted people to almost be rooting for the love relationship until the very end, which again, is totally not what anyone should do when said relationship was as toxic and abusive as the one between Ted Bundy and Elizabeth Kloepfer.
But hey, maybe that’s just us.
Thumbnail: Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures