Books & Comics | Movies & TV

The Evolution of the Serial Killer

October 24

From Maniac, to Monster, to Mystery

America has always been crazy about serial killers.

They’re our homegrown werewolves. They click with the fast-food car culture that roars in the country’s busy, busy heart. They fit neatly with our cult-of-celebrity-style national mythology.

These beasts that seem like men, mowing through victims like McDonald’s cheeseburgers, speeding for the televised takedown by John Q. Law – how can the USA not be wild for them?

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Movies & TV

Cult Film Cult Crimes – Rob Zombie and THE LORDS OF SALEM

October 10

Heidi Gets Weird

Somewhere on the fringe of mainstream film, there’s a frenzied community of artists who illustrate an elemental aspect of crime. They don’t bother with the ticky-tack trivia of the procedural. They don’t focus on the grand fables of revenge and wrongs righted.

They have one obsession that strikes closer to the heart of what crime is than those other, petty examples: They show that crime is weird.

Among this outlying cadre, Rob Zombie is a dark prince. If a director like David Lynch is the philosopher king of this set, Zombie is its Dracula – an isolated loon on a bloody frontier, composing a grand guignol from his subject.

He taps into the surrealistic nature of his subject and smears it all over the walls in technicolor. His most recent offering, The Lords of Salem, dedicates itself entirely to this spectacular effort.

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Books & Comics

R.J. Ellory, Award-Winning Sock-Puppeteer, and the History of Black Hat Reviewing

September 5

Saints of New York

Take an inside line from a pro marketer: All marketing is a scam.

That isn’t to say there’s no truth in advertising. Objective facts have their place. But to some extent, you’ve got to lay on the hype to sell a product.

In social networking, hype could be in the form of swagger like Ricky Roma from Glengarry Glen Ross. In retail, underlining the “new,” the “hot,” the “hip” in your product. In fiction, it’s lifting those starred reviews up to every media outlet you can, so that all may see them.

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Movies & TV

7 Toughest Comebacks in Crime Film

April 11

 Mickey Rourke

Crime heroes and villains got it rough. They’re usually up to the gills in trouble and their genre, unlike horror, doesn’t smile on its bad-asses soaking up too many bullets.

A fortunate – or unfortunate, if you’re a “the grave’s half empty” kind of person – few manage some superhuman comebacks. Whether by the power of a psychotic episode, sheer grit or timely medical attention, these crime film characters practically pull off an Easter miracle.

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Movies & TV

6 Most Twisted Pranks in Crime Film

April 5

Bobcat Goldthwait

A perfect crime always has a bit of a prank to it. When you’re breaking the law, you’re duping society, after all. You play a joke on old Lady Justice. The punchline just happens to be a few steamer trunks of bearer bonds or a well-buried corpse.

But some crimes take the yukks to the next level. These law-shattering shenanigans score big on style points, surprise or sheer humor. And when it’s done for the sake of cinema, twisted pranks can leave their kink marks in our memory for years to come.

Here are 6 Twisted Pranks in Crime Film that never fail to split our sides or sicken our stomachs.

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Movies & TV

Top 10 Restaurants In Crime Film

April 2

Crime films often make me hungry. Often the restaurant scenes are among the best remembered in crime flicks. The coffee shops and Italian kitchens and juke joints where criminal characters go to grab a bite or do dirt serve to define them.

In some cases, it’s because crime films are a sit-down with a distinct culture, and there’s little better distinction for culture than food. It says more than a monologue. These places are home to some criminals, an escape for others, doom for a few. They’re some of the best moments of bad stories.

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Movies & TV

5 Raunchiest Crimes on AMERICAN HORROR STORY

April 1

american horror story

They call it American Horror Story. FX Network named it wrong. It’s not particularly American—California is only technically in America. Above all, it’s not really a “horror story” either. Horror generally requires characters you care about. But one thing’s sure about American Horror Story: It is loaded to the gills with nastiness, most of it criminal.

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Movies & TV

12 Time-Twisted Crime Films

March 12



It’s time to spring forward, as the saying goes. What daylight savings actually saves is beyond me. Just another way of making me wake up earlier than sunrise. Twisting time has worked a whole lot better in crime cinema.

I’m not talking about the usual flashbacks mysteries throw in to pad their plot and shoehorn in some exposition. Plenty of crime film breaks the laws of quantum physics as blatantly as they do federal and state statutes. A handful manage to pull it off with style.

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Movies & TV

Why AWAKE Is About To Become The Best Show On Television*

February 17


*For those who are still jonesing for something to fill the void in their life left by Lost.

Just to get past the nagging qualifiers, I’ve been hyping this show since the moment I heard the premise and saw the trailer for it (I won’t post it again here as I have been spamming the Complex for the past three months).  I have a nasty habit of doing this.  As a result, the sight of Chinese Democracy sitting on the shelves at Best Buy with a $1.99 price tag gives me stabbing pains in the abdominal area every time I go to pick up batteries.

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Movies & TV

The 10 Perviest Crime Films

February 12

Crime films give every genre a run for its money when it comes to getting hardcore. Murder, torture, kidnapping—they have it all and in many cases, they show it all. Even the lion’s share of the horror genre doesn’t hold a candle to scenes like Mr. Blonde getting down with a duct-taped cop and a straight razor.

Sex is no exception to the gritty lens of crime film. Sure, soft-focus has its part to play, but for every sultry love-making like in the Big Easy, you have a eye-ripping atrocity like I Spit On Your Grave. We’ve combed the archives to bring you the worst offenders, so send the kids to your ex-mother-in-law’s and let’s us revel in our sense of self-loathing with—The 10 Perviest Crime Films.

These films bring a demented original twist on original sin.

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Movies & TV

‘Silent House’ – Elizabeth Olsen Screams With Talent

silent house elizabeth Olsen

Silent House holds a lot of dark splendor for such a lean feature.

This trim 88-minute thriller is rendered in a single shot. That artistic effort alone makes it worth the price of admission.

It braids in a lot of other captivating elements: Subtle unfolding of the plot. An eerie, understated atmosphere. Mounting tension that wrenches into the surreal for the final act.

Best of all, Silent House has the golden thread of Elizabeth Olsen’s talent to hold it together.

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Movies & TV

RAMPART Shows Brilliance, But Tells Too Much

February 3

rampart movie

Date Rape Dave Brown is a sweetheart.

Don’t just take it from me. Rampart makes a strong case. Halfway through this Oren Moverman art-house film and you’ll be primed to buy Officer Dave Brown, Woody Harrelson, a World’s Best Dad mug. It’ll be something to admire while serving his life sentence in solitary.

This perspective on a crooked cop goes beyond just moral ambiguity in Rampart. Director Oren Moverman and his co-writer, James Ellroy of L.A. Confidential fame, stumble into contradicting themselves. You can count on mega-tonnage talent propelling you along a chain of spectacular set piece scenes steeped in character and tension. Just watch out for the plot holes and flawed handling of the protagonist along the way.

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Movies & TV

The 20 Most Anticipated Crime Films of 2012

January 3


Ever wanted a soup-to-nuts list of all the crime films coming out next year? Lord knows I’ve lost sleep over the lack of one. Well, you’re in luck. Criminal Complex has stepped up to the plate and produced this shamelessly long list of The 20 Most Anticipated Crime Films of 2012.

Here you go: Your beginning-of-the-year excuse to watch your favorite trailers all over again while pretending to get started on whatever piled up at your day-job over the holidays.

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Movies & TV

5 TV Crime Show Crossovers That Must Happen

October 29

There are top-rated crime shows every season these days, with something illegal to appeal to anybody somewhere on the airwaves. Whether it’s the tone, the characters or the narrative, the diverse range of crime storytelling hits chords with all kinds of viewing markets.

It’s our contention that some of these chords must intertwine, and make sweet, sweet TV love with each other. Or, more likely, make an absolute disaster of a show that would be too ridiculous not to watch.

These are those 5 TV Crime Show Crossovers That Must Happen.

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Movies & TV

The 5 Worst TV Crime Show Finales

October 27

You’d think it would be easy to wrap up a crime TV series. Punish the bad guys, save the day and solve the mystery. The audience can turn off the set with their belief in an ordered universe confirmed. Easy as it may seem, plenty of crime shows flip out and faceplant when it’s time for their finale.

Some try to get too clever or artistic. Some fling the story outside the genre in a geeky attempt to surprise their viewers. Most just don’t know what the Hell they’re doing.

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Movies & TV

5 Ways the US PRIME SUSPECT Is Better Than the UK

October 24

prime suspect

In crime TV, there’s another major push underway from NBC, Prime Suspect, that is bringing A-list talent to bear in an effort to seize some of those sweet, sweet CBS crime junky ratings. In Prime Suspect, Maria Bello, seen in such edgy theater releases as A History of Violence, plays a tough NYPD cop that just happens to be one of the ladies. But don’t be under the impression put forth by the ads growling that it’s “like nothing you’ve seen before.” It’s a full-fledged rip-off of a British TV show.

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