Mitch Davis makes no bones about it … when it comes to the Fantasia Film Festival 2010 he’s not pulling any punches, nor has he ever. Another flick making its Canadian premiere at the festival is Marc D. Levitz’s absolutely devastating BTK documentary Feast of the Assumption: BTK and the Otero Family Murders , and we’ve got the latest one-sheet for you!
“This is not a true-crime documentary. At least, not in the regular sense. It’s not about a vile serial killer, though it features one of the worst imaginable at its centre. It doesn’t exist to confront you with the stomach-turning details of unspeakable acts—though that too does happen over the course of its running time. This is a film about the “living victims” left in the wake of a serial killer’s actions. In particular, this is a film about Charlie Otero. At the age of 15 in the small town of Wichita, Charlie’s life was smashed apart when his entire family was slaughtered at their home in a sudden, random attack by a stranger. As fate would have it—and over the course of this film, fate begins to play a chillingly heavy role—Charlie and his family were the first victims of a serial killer who would continue murdering strangers for decades—a man who signed his taunting letters to the media as BTK (bind, torture, kill).
Shot over a period of many years, this astoundingly powerful documentary begins with Charlie in 2004, some 30 years after the loss of his family, at a time when BTK’s identity was still unknown (he would ultimately be captured during the course of this film’s shooting, spiraling the story onto a startling and illuminating new course). Charlie is just home from a stint in prison, related to a domestic abuse charge, and he’s trying to put his life back together. He is still unable to come to terms with the past and is trying very hard to make his connections to others matter as he fights against impulses towards self-destruction. We follow him through his daily routines, observing how irresolvable scars color everything about the way a person relates to the world. And then, the incredible happens. BTK is captured and unmasked, laid bare for the world to see. He is Dennis Rader, a terrifyingly unremarkable and vile man who had once been a Cub Scout leader and was an elected Congregation Council President of his church. In his private life, Rader stole the underwear from his victims and wore them himself.
Charlie, along with a stream of others whose lives were incinerated by Rader’s crimes, must now go to court and… listen. When we finally get to meet Rader, whose emotionless courtroom confessions rank among some of the most upsetting moments ever captured on camera, we do so alongside Charlie. Seeing this monster through Charlie’s eyes is an absolutely shattering experience. It is the closest most of us will ever come to confronting pure evil. Accompanying Charlie on this extraordinary journey has an impact that simply defies description. Several instances of coincidences are too eerie to be dismissed as random and may leave you contemplating the uncomfortable possibilities of predestination and fate.
By focusing on the survivor instead of the monster, director Marc Levitz inverts the conventions of true crime documentaries and emerges with a film more compelling, more raw, more gripping that even he could ever have anticipated. There are moments so emotionally charged they will have you in tears.
While this film will take you through hell, it’s ultimately a deeply moving experience as we grow to love Charlie and revel in the smallest of his victories, watching him struggle against his demons towards a new life in the shadow of horror. You will barely be able to speak by the time the credits roll.”
Look for the film to play the festival on July 14, 2010 at 9:45PM and then play again on July 18, 2010 at 5:00PM. Click on the Fantasia banner below for more info!
Got news? Click here to submit it!
Talk real life terror in the Dread Central forums!