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Bestselling true-crime master Harold Schechter explores the real-life headline-making psychos, serial murderers, thrill-hungry couples, and lady-killers who inspired a century of classic films.
The necktie murders in Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy; Chicago’s Jazz Age crime of passion; the fatal hookup in Looking for Mr. Goodbar; the high school horrors committed by the costumed slasher in Scream. These and other cinematic crimes have become part of pop-culture history. And each found inspiration in true events that provided the raw material for our greatest blockbusters, indie art films, black comedies, Hollywood classics, and grindhouse horrors.
So what’s the reality behind Psycho, Badlands, The Hills Have Eyes, A Place in the Sun, Arsenic and Old Lace, and Dirty Harry? How did such tabloid-ready killers as Bonnie and Clyde, body snatchers Burke and Hare, Texas sniper Charles Whitman Jr., nurse-slayer Richard Speck, and Leopold and Loeb exert their power on the public imagination and become the stuff of movie lore?
In this collection of revelatory essays, true-crime historian Harold Schechter takes a fascinating trip down the crossroads of fact and fiction to reveal the sensational real-life stories that are more shocking, taboo, and fantastic than even the most imaginative screenwriter can dream up.
A Note From the Publisher
“The exploits of Depression-era homicidal sweethearts Bonnie and Clyde and the 1960s strangler who inspired the necktie murders in Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy are among the true stories behind many of cinema’s most famous crimes and criminals. Schechter, author of numerous books on serial killers, tracks the path from felony to film.” —Publishers Weekly
“With this riveting compendium, true crime guru Schechter provides the ghoulish details behind 40 films…Schechter’s expertise is such that three of his previous titles appear as works cited in this well-researched and gripping read. This fascinating look at the intersection of true crime and pop culture is a must.” —Library Journal (starred review)
“Educational and engrossing, true-crime author Schechter’s latest (after Hell’s Princess, 2018) is a collection of essays that pull back the curtain on Hollywood to explain the real stories that inspired movies…fascinating, intriguing, and difficult to put down, Ripped from the Headlines! is a must for movie buffs and true crime fans alike.” —Booklist
“In this fascinating survey, Schechter (Hell’s Princess: The Mystery of Belle Gunness, Butcher of Men) details the links between more than 40 movies and the real-life crimes that inspired them…True crime fans and movie trivia buffs will devour this one like popcorn.” —Publishers Weekly