Proving once again serial killers are not just an American issue, Canadian authorities arrested Robert Pickton (AKA The Pig Farmer Killer), on Feb. 22, 2002. Between the years of 1983-2002 he claimed 49 victims (in his jail cell confession to cellmate/undercover officer, stating he had wanted to kill one more for an even 50, but had gotten sloppy, leading to his arrest). Pickton was convicted of 6 murders, charged with 20 others. The additional 20 charges were "stayed by the crown in 2010. He is currently serving life in prison. He will have the possibility for parole after a 25 year sentence, that was the longest sentence available, in Canada, at the time of sentencing.
Once again we found ourselves afraid to pick up hitchhikers with the premier of The Hitcher in 1986.The film stars Rutger Hauer, C. Thomas Howell and Jennifer Jason Leigh, in a cross country battle for survival. The film did spawn a sequel however fans had to wait 17 years for its release in 2003.
Tod Brownings' controversial film Freaks debuted Feb. 20, 1932. If unfamiliar with this film it is an absolute must see. The cast is made up primarily of real sideshow performers of the day, and while it can be difficult for some to watch due to the physical deformities of many of the cast it is a moralistic work that speaks to the evil inside the perceived "beautiful or normal" people. The film basically ended Brownings' career, audiences just couldn't find a way to embrace the film, it was even Banned in the UK for 30 years! However as with many things that are ahead of their time, the film has gone on to huge critical success, and was even given the honor of preservation in the National Film Registry in 1994.
"Hail to the King, Baby!" Evil Dead Franchise thrilled US fan with the release of Army of Darkness (AKA Evil Dead 3) this day in 1992. Much to our happiness, Bruce Campbell once again took on the Deadites, with the help of Director Sam Raimi. There is an almost never ending slew of rumors regarding the possibilities of a fourth film in the series, as fans we are ever hopeful, as there seems to be no such thing as too much ASH! Now "Gimme some sugar baby"!
Riddick (AKA Vin Diesel) stormed the screens in the release of Pitch Black, Feb.18,2000. The scifi film became such a fan favorite it spawned a whole franchise, The Chronicles of Riddick, with numerous platforms, including video games, books, and even an animated film. The last installment of the series, Riddick, was re-released in Jan 2014 in dvd/blue ray format, the sales have been so strong that they are now considering doing another installment to the series.
Scarborough Canada rests easier with the arrest of Paul Bernardo on this date in 1993. This is a particularly fascinating case as Paul committed his serial rapes and killings with the assistance of his wife, Karla Homolka. She however had grown tired of his abuse and after one particularly nasty bout of violence between the two of them she contacted police, and over time downplayed her role and was offered a plea deal to testify against her husband. Unfortunately for the prosecutors and victims in this case after the plea deal had been made the authorities found video evidence showing both Karla and Paul actively and happily taking part in the sexual assaults of the kidnapped and eventually killed female victims. The deal and new evidence sparked massive controversy in regards to Karlas' sentencing on the lesser charges she received and while today Paul sits in prison serving life with a minimum of 25 yrs Karla was released unconditionally in 2005, and remarried in 2007. The movie "Karla' starring Laura Prepon was based on this case.
Academy Award winning Director John Schlesinger, was born this day 1926, in London England. Schlesinger is best known for Midnight Cowboy, for which he won the Academy Award. He directed some of my personal favorite action/thriller movies with Marathon Man in 1976, and Eye for an Eye in 1996. Horror fans thank him for his work on The Believers, a controversial film from the late 80s, that stars Martin Sheen, and was influenced by dark world of Santeria practices of a serial killing cult leader in Miami, Adolfo Constanzo.