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Bazaar Bizarre - documentary DVD review
BAZAAR BIZARRE Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating: 2 1/2 stars
Featuring: James Ellroy, Robert Berdella, Christopher Leo
Director: Benjamin Meade   Studio: Troma Entertainment
DVD release: 08 March 2011   Runtime: 89 min. (1 disc)
Format: Color, Dolby, DVD, HiFi Sound, NTSC, Widescreen
DVD Features: Aspect ratio 1.78:1, Audio tracks (English - Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Post Mortem, Deleted scenes, Music video, Trailers

*Bazaar Bizarre*Bazaar Bizarre is Benjamin Meade's take on a morbidly fascinating subject: Kansas City serial killer Bob Berdella, who was arrested in 1988 when a man he had been torturing for a week escaped from his home.

Berdella's usual thing was to grab men from a seedy part of town, take them home, tie them up and torture them for as long as he could before killing them. He did this to at least six men.

Bazaar Bizarre tells the story of many of these men and their captor through crime scene photos, still shots, interviews and reenactments. All these disparate pieces are glued together with musical interludes by the band Demon Dogs. This makes the film unique, to say the least. The Demon Dogs perform several songs about the film's subject (staying on topic is a plus), but it lightens the serious tenor of the otherwise somber and morose subject matter.

The show is hosted by L.A. Confidential scribe James Ellroy, who lays it down in a not-too-objective way, calling Berdella a sick monster among other things. Not that I disagree, but I tend to like my documentaries to leave the labels up to the viewer.

The reenactments left me wishing they weren't there and include scenes of an actor playing Berdella sawing up bodies and eating from the parts, though people close to the case themselves doubt that he did that sort of thing. It is suggested that Berdella may have cooked with human remains and shared the dishes with customers at his shop, so we watch the actor put together a batch of chili with all the usual ingredients, then roll in four human fingers (skin, bone and nails included).

The reenactments detract from the good information in the film and cheapen it beyond repair. That this film was made available on DVD by The Toxic Avenger's Lloyd Kaufman and Troma pushes it even further. It may make it more appealing to fans of gore and splatter flicks, but attaching these elements to a film about real events and real loss of human lives goes too far.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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