The Poughkeepsie Tapes

Recommended to me by someone in a Horror movie fan Facebook group. The Poughkeepsie Tapes is a 2007 American horror film (torture & murder) directed by John Erick Dowdle and starring Bobbi Sue Luther, Samantha Robson and Ivar Brogger. It is made to resemble a documentary with a lot of hand held camera footage that the killer shoots. The film’s story is inspired by real life events and bear resemblance to real life killers.

A police raid on a suburban house reveals the gruesome murders of a serial killer. Investigators find 800 tapes that the killer made of him stalking, abducting, torturing and killing his victims. State police & the FBI have experts go through the tapes to find out as much as they can and try to identify the killer, his possible location and the identities of his victims. Some of the videos features him indulging in a balloon fetish – making prostitutes blow up and then try and break the balloons by jumping on them. They show his first crime, when he abducts, rapes and later murders an 8 year old girl who was playing alone in the front yard of her home. He then attacks a couple after pretending to have car trouble and asking to be dropped off at a nearby abandoned (although the couple don’t know that) gas station. Upon reaching the gas station he clubs the man on the head and uses a chemical substance on a cloth to subdue the woman. He then kills the man, cuts of his head and performs a c-section on the woman, and inserts the man’s head into her womb. He then films her reaction before killing her. The killer also alerts the cops via CCTV footage at a gas station to the location of his victim’s corpses.

Later he stalks a 19 year old girl, Cheryl, who is home alone for the weekend and kills her boyfriend who is visiting her at night. The killer then takes the girl with him to a secret lair abusing her sexually, physically and psychologically as his “slave”, a name he beats her into accepting as her new one. He even goes to the girl’s mother offering assistance and chuckles when she realizes that he is the man who abducted her daughter. The mother is paralyzed with shock and is unable to alert anyone until he goes away. He then throws the cops & the Feds off guard by changing his MO, stalking and killing only prostitutes while posing as a cop. At times he doesn’t kill them directly but tapes Cheryl being forced to kill them. investigators find the same DNA in the form of semen on the body, concluding that he has sex with them postmortem and at one of the victim’s houses they hit the jackpot – a cup has fingerprints and saliva that they match to that of a former cop James Foley, who has a history of visiting prostitutes. Foley is found to have been in the location of each murder & dump site and has no alibi though he pleads his nonsense. He is sentenced to die via lethal injection and a few days after his death – the police are led to the body of a new victim! Foley was innocent and the killer framed him using sperm that the former cop had donated to a sperm bank and stealing a glass that he had drunk from.

Th authorities are now aware to the meticulous planning of the killer and the lengths he has gone to for avoiding a clear profile and exonerate Foley – however it now being September 12, 2001 the focus is all on the 9/11 attacks and Foley’s story is reduced to a small article in the middle pages and as Foley’s son attests in an interview, most people still think that his father was guilty. The killings continue but the cops are able to trace a downloaded map that was sent to them via the email and tracked the user to the house that was raided at the beginning of the film. The cops raid the house but find the killer has left long back leaving behind numerous dead bodies buried in the backyard and a still alive but horribly tortured Cheryl in a wooden box. It has been 8 years since her abduction and her torture left her unable to handle reality so much that she started injuring herself as she started healing just so she could feel more pain. She had been mentally abused to such an extent that she refers herself to as “slave” and processes love for her “master” as she calls him and says that she knows he loves her and will come to take her away. 2 weeks after the interview Cheryl commits suicide and leaves a note behind professing her love for the “master”.

After that the murders in the area cease but experts feel that he is around somewhere still raping, torturing & killing. The cases are added to become an essential part of the training for anyone learning criminal psychology. There is one scene in which he offers a lift to a British woman who’s care has broken down and has her sit in the back of the cop car he is driving. As they talk he reveals that he is not a policeman but the killer that everyone has been warned about and it is brutal. The identity of the killer is still unknown. At the end of the credits we see one last example of his sadistic pleasure of torturing his victims; he tells a woman he has abducted that he won’t kill her if she does not blink! She tries her best to keep her eyes open but fails after a few moments and the screen goes blank. Although some parts of the film drags and fails to ignite the imagination and horrify you, the latter half makes up for it. It is well thought out and fascinated me by the end. 7 outta 10!

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